How to List All Files ONLY in the Current Directory?

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Problem Formulation

How to list all files in the current directory given these constraints:

  • Non-Recursive: You do not want to list files in subdirectories.
  • ONLY Files: You do not want to list folder names.
  • Current Directory: You run the Python script from the current directory.

Here’s an example structure:

--- file.txt
--- my_folder
    --- my_file.txt

The current folder has two files and file.txt and one folder my_folder that contains another file my_file.txt.

The file contains your code to list all files in the current directory.

Your desired output for this problem is:

# Output:
['', 'file.txt']

💡 Note: This is non-recursive, so you don’t want to obtain the file my_file.txt that is in the subdirectory my_folder.

One-Liner Solution

The most Pythonic way to list ONLY files in the current directory non-recursively and without listing folders is to use the os module‘s functions os.listdir() and os.path.isfile() within a list comprehension statement like so:

  • [f for f in os.listdir('.') if os.path.isfile(f)]

You can see this in action here:

import os
files = [f for f in os.listdir('.') if os.path.isfile(f)]
# ['', 'file.txt']

Let’s decompose this list comprehension statement:

  • You iterate over all files using os.listdir('.'). The result of this function is a list of strings containing file and folder names. In our example, this would evaluate to the list ['', 'file.txt', 'my_folder'].
  • You restrict the iterable using the if os.path.isfile(f) clause to all strings that are filenames. For a string value f that is not a filename (e.g., a folder name), this function would return False and it would be excluded from the iteration.
  • You place any filename f that satisfies these two conditions in a list without modifying it.

The result is a list of string filenames—no folder names and no filenames of files in subdirectories (non-recursive).

If you have trouble understanding list comprehension in Python, feel free to check out my in-depth blog tutorial and watch the following video:

Of course, you can also use a multi-liner without list comprehension like so:

import os

files = []
for f in os.listdir('.'):
    if os.path.isfile(f):
# ['', 'file.txt']

This is semantically identical—only a little less concise.

To find out various alternative ways to list files in a current directory recursively and non-recursively and with and without folders, check out our full tutorial here:

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