whereis Command in Linux with Examples


This tutorial explains Linux “whereis” command, options and its usage with examples.

whereis – locate the binary, source, and manual page files for a command.


whereis locates source/binary and manuals sections for specified files. The supplied names are first stripped of leading pathname components and any (single) trailing extension of the form .ext, for example, .c. Prefixes of s. resulting from use of source code control are also dealt with. whereis then attempts to locate the desired program in a list of standard Linux places.


whereis [ -bmsu ] [ -BMS directory… -f ] filename …



Search only for binaries.
Search only for manual sections.
Search only for sources.
Search for unusual entries. A file is said to be unusual if it does not have one entry of each requested type. Thus `whereis -m -u *’ asks for those files in the current directory which have no documentation.
Change or otherwise limit the places where whereis searches for binaries.
Change or otherwise limit the places where whereis searches for manual sections.
Change or otherwise limit the places where whereis searches for sources.
Terminate the last directory list and signals the start of file names, and must be used when any of the -B, -M, or -S options are used.


1. When you want to find out where a specific Unix command exists (for example, where does ls command exists?), you can execute the following command

$ whereis ls
ls: /bin/ls /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1.gz /usr/share/man/man1p/ls.1p.gz

2. Find where a command executable is located

When you want to know only where the executable for a specific command is available, use -b option.

$ whereis -b ls
ls: /bin/ls

3. Change the search location of whereis command

When you want to search an executable from a path other than the whereis default path, you can use -B option and give path as argument to it.

$ whereis -u -B /tmp -f lsmk
lsmk: /tmp/lsmk

4. Locate man pages for a command using -m option

If we want to locate man page of Linux command, use “-m” option.

$ whereis -m whereis
whereis: /usr/share/man/man1/whereis.1.gz

5. Find all files in /usr/bin which are not documented in /usr/man/man1 with source in /usr/src:

$ whereis -u -M /usr/man/man1 -S /usr/src -f *

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Manish Bhojasia - Founder & CTO at Sanfoundry
Manish Bhojasia, a technology veteran with 20+ years @ Cisco & Wipro, is Founder and CTO at Sanfoundry. He lives in Bangalore, and focuses on development of Linux Kernel, SAN Technologies, Advanced C, Data Structures & Alogrithms. Stay connected with him at LinkedIn.

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