Once I wrote a post about ack-grep, and Franklin Yu left a comment about the silver searcher. He said this tool is much faster than the ack-grep. So this post is about The Silver Searcher. As always, I will introduce what is the Silver Searcher, how to install and use it.

Follow the link, we can see that author claim that this tool started off as a clone of ack, but then diverged slightly. And in most case, this tool is 5-10x faster then ack.


Find the download link at official site.

apt-get install silversearcher-ag


ag [file-type] [options] PATTERN [PATH]

As the man describe, recursively search for PATTERN in PATH.


Most options are similar to grep, like -i, -v, -B, -A etc

Find text under a path

most use case will be find a keyword from a bunch of files. 最常用的一个方式便是在目录中搜索关键词,ag 能够非常快速的搜索文件内容,所以非常适合查询日志,或者代码等文本文件。

ag keyword /path/to/

Count the matches of keywords

ag -c keyword /path/


Default depth is 25, if you want unlimited, you should use -1

ag --depth NUM keyword .


If you forget the filename, but only remeber only few letters, you can use -g to print only filenames.

-g 选项表示查询文件名,而不会去查询文件内容。比如说想要查询目录下文件名中包含 Pattern 的文件名,那么可以使用:

ag -g PATTERN .

results will be only filenames. 这样结果就只会打印出符合的文件名。


上面 -g 选项只会去查询文件名,那么如果想要查找内容中包含某个关键字的文件名,可以使用 -l 选项:

ag -l 'pattern' /path/to

使用 -L 会显示没有匹配的文件名


ag 提供了 -G 选项,可以用来缩小查询的范围,-G PATTERN 可以指定 Pattern,那么 ag 只会在 -G 指定的文件中查询,比如只查询 .+\.java.java 结尾的文件。

ag -G ".+\.java" "string to search" /path/to

For more details, you can check man ag