[python] Getting a list of all subdirectories in the current directory

Is there a way to return a list of all the subdirectories in the current directory in Python?

I know you can do this with files, but I need to get the list of directories instead.

This question is related to python directory subdirectory

The answer is

Function to return a List of all subdirectories within a given file path. Will search through the entire file tree.

import os

def get_sub_directory_paths(start_directory, sub_directories):
    This method iterates through all subdirectory paths of a given 
    directory to collect all directory paths.

    :param start_directory: The starting directory path.
    :param sub_directories: A List that all subdirectory paths will be 
        stored to.
    :return: A List of all sub-directory paths.

    for item in os.listdir(start_directory):
        full_path = os.path.join(start_directory, item)

        if os.path.isdir(full_path):

            # Recursive call to search through all subdirectories.
            get_sub_directory_paths(full_path, sub_directories)

return sub_directories

Thanks for the tips, guys. I ran into an issue with softlinks (infinite recursion) being returned as dirs. Softlinks? We don't want no stinkin' soft links! So...

This rendered just the dirs, not softlinks:

>>> import os
>>> inf = os.walk('.')
>>> [x[0] for x in inf]
['.', './iamadir']

The easiest way:

from pathlib import Path
from glob import glob

current_dir = Path.cwd()
all_sub_dir_paths = glob(str(current_dir) + '/*/') # returns list of sub directory paths

all_sub_dir_names = [Path(sub_dir).name for sub_dir in all_sub_dir_paths] 

we can get list of all the folders by using os.walk()

import os

path = os.getcwd()

pathObject = os.walk(path)

this pathObject is a object and we can get an array by

arr = [x for x in pathObject]

arr is of type [('current directory', [array of folder in current directory], [files in current directory]),('subdirectory', [array of folder in subdirectory], [files in subdirectory]) ....]

We can get list of all the subdirectory by iterating through the arr and printing the middle array

for i in arr:
   for j in i[1]:

This will print all the subdirectory.

To get all the files:

for i in arr:
   for j in i[2]:
      print(i[0] + "/" + j)

This should work, as it also creates a directory tree;

import os
import pathlib

def tree(directory):
    print(f'+ {directory}')
    print("There are " + str(len(os.listdir(os.getcwd()))) + \
    " folders in this directory;")
    for path in sorted(directory.glob('*')):
        depth = len(path.relative_to(directory).parts)
        spacer = '    ' * depth
        print(f'{spacer}+ {path.name}')

This should list all the directories in a folder using the pathlib library. path.relative_to(directory).parts gets the elements relative to the current working dir.

I've had a similar question recently, and I found out that the best answer for python 3.6 (as user havlock added) is to use os.scandir. Since it seems there is no solution using it, I'll add my own. First, a non-recursive solution that lists only the subdirectories directly under the root directory.

def get_dirlist(rootdir):

    dirlist = []

    with os.scandir(rootdir) as rit:
        for entry in rit:
            if not entry.name.startswith('.') and entry.is_dir():

    dirlist.sort() # Optional, in case you want sorted directory names
    return dirlist

The recursive version would look like this:

def get_dirlist(rootdir):

    dirlist = []

    with os.scandir(rootdir) as rit:
        for entry in rit:
            if not entry.name.startswith('.') and entry.is_dir():
                dirlist += get_dirlist(entry.path)

    dirlist.sort() # Optional, in case you want sorted directory names
    return dirlist

keep in mind that entry.path wields the absolute path to the subdirectory. In case you only need the folder name, you can use entry.name instead. Refer to os.DirEntry for additional details about the entry object.

import os

d = '.'
[os.path.join(d, o) for o in os.listdir(d) 
                    if os.path.isdir(os.path.join(d,o))]

Lot of nice answers out there but if you came here looking for a simple way to get list of all files or folders at once. You can take advantage of the os offered find on linux and mac which and is much faster than os.walk

import os
all_files_list = os.popen("find path/to/my_base_folder -type f").read().splitlines()
all_sub_directories_list = os.popen("find path/to/my_base_folder -type d").read().splitlines()


import os

def get_files(path):
    all_files_list = os.popen(f"find {path} -type f").read().splitlines()
    return all_files_list

def get_sub_folders(path):
    all_sub_directories_list = os.popen(f"find {path} -type d").read().splitlines()
    return all_sub_directories_list

With full path and accounting for path being ., .., \\, ..\\..\\subfolder, etc:

import os, pprint
pprint.pprint([os.path.join(os.path.abspath(path), x[0]) \
    for x in os.walk(os.path.abspath(path))])

If you need a recursive solution that will find all the subdirectories in the subdirectories, use walk as proposed before.

If you only need the current directory's child directories, combine os.listdir with os.path.isdir

Here are a couple of simple functions based on @Blair Conrad's example -

import os

def get_subdirs(dir):
    "Get a list of immediate subdirectories"
    return next(os.walk(dir))[1]

def get_subfiles(dir):
    "Get a list of immediate subfiles"
    return next(os.walk(dir))[2]

I prefer using filter (https://docs.python.org/2/library/functions.html#filter), but this is just a matter of taste.

filter(lambda x: os.path.isdir(os.path.join(d, x)), os.listdir(d))

Although this question is answered a long time ago. I want to recommend to use the pathlib module since this is a robust way to work on Windows and Unix OS.

So to get all paths in a specific directory including subdirectories:

from pathlib import Path
paths = list(Path('myhomefolder', 'folder').glob('**/*.txt'))

# all sorts of operations
file = paths[0]


use a filter function os.path.isdir over os.listdir() something like this filter(os.path.isdir,[os.path.join(os.path.abspath('PATH'),p) for p in os.listdir('PATH/')])

Since I stumbled upon this problem using Python 3.4 and Windows UNC paths, here's a variant for this environment:

from pathlib import WindowsPath

def SubDirPath (d):
    return [f for f in d.iterdir() if f.is_dir()]

subdirs = SubDirPath(WindowsPath(r'\\file01.acme.local\home$'))

Pathlib is new in Python 3.4 and makes working with paths under different OSes much easier: https://docs.python.org/3.4/library/pathlib.html

This is how I do it.

    import os
    for x in os.listdir(os.getcwd()):
        if os.path.isdir(x):

This function, with a given parent directory iterates over all its directories recursively and prints all the filenames which it founds inside. Too useful.

import os

def printDirectoryFiles(directory):
   for filename in os.listdir(directory):  
        full_path=os.path.join(directory, filename)
        if not os.path.isdir(full_path): 
            print( full_path + "\n")

def checkFolders(directory):

    dir_list = next(os.walk(directory))[1]


    for dir in dir_list:           
        checkFolders(directory +"/"+ dir) 




input("Press enter to exit ;")

Much nicer than the above, because you don't need several os.path.join() and you will get the full path directly (if you wish), you can do this in Python 3.5 and above.

subfolders = [ f.path for f in os.scandir(folder) if f.is_dir() ]

This will give the complete path to the subdirectory. If you only want the name of the subdirectory use f.name instead of f.path


Slightly OT: In case you need all subfolder recursively and/or all files recursively, have a look at this function, that is faster than os.walk & glob and will return a list of all subfolders as well as all files inside those (sub-)subfolders: https://stackoverflow.com/a/59803793/2441026

In case you want only all subfolders recursively:

def fast_scandir(dirname):
    subfolders= [f.path for f in os.scandir(dirname) if f.is_dir()]
    for dirname in list(subfolders):
    return subfolders

Returns a list of all subfolders with their full paths. This again is faster than os.walk and a lot faster than glob.

An analysis of all functions

- If you want to get all immediate subdirectories for a folder use os.scandir.
- If you want to get all subdirectories, even nested ones, use os.walk or - slightly faster - the fast_scandir function above.
- Never use os.walk for only top-level subdirectories, as it can be hundreds(!) of times slower than os.scandir.

  • If you run the code below, make sure to run it once so that your OS will have accessed the folder, discard the results and run the test, otherwise results will be screwed.
  • You might want to mix up the function calls, but I tested it, and it did not really matter.
  • All examples will give the full path to the folder. The pathlib example as a (Windows)Path object.
  • The first element of os.walk will be the base folder. So you will not get only subdirectories. You can use fu.pop(0) to remove it.
  • None of the results will use natural sorting. This means results will be sorted like this: 1, 10, 2. To get natural sorting (1, 2, 10), please have a look at https://stackoverflow.com/a/48030307/2441026


os.scandir      took   1 ms. Found dirs: 439
os.walk         took 463 ms. Found dirs: 441 -> it found the nested one + base folder.
glob.glob       took  20 ms. Found dirs: 439
pathlib.iterdir took  18 ms. Found dirs: 439
os.listdir      took  18 ms. Found dirs: 439

Tested with W7x64, Python 3.8.1.

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
# Python 3

import time
import os
from glob import glob
from pathlib import Path

directory = r"<insert_folder>"
RUNS = 1

def run_os_walk():
    a = time.time_ns()
    for i in range(RUNS):
        fu = [x[0] for x in os.walk(directory)]
    print(f"os.walk\t\t\ttook {(time.time_ns() - a) / 1000 / 1000 / RUNS:.0f} ms. Found dirs: {len(fu)}")

def run_glob():
    a = time.time_ns()
    for i in range(RUNS):
        fu = glob(directory + "/*/")
    print(f"glob.glob\t\ttook {(time.time_ns() - a) / 1000 / 1000 / RUNS:.0f} ms. Found dirs: {len(fu)}")

def run_pathlib_iterdir():
    a = time.time_ns()
    for i in range(RUNS):
        dirname = Path(directory)
        fu = [f for f in dirname.iterdir() if f.is_dir()]
    print(f"pathlib.iterdir\ttook {(time.time_ns() - a) / 1000 / 1000 / RUNS:.0f} ms. Found dirs: {len(fu)}")

def run_os_listdir():
    a = time.time_ns()
    for i in range(RUNS):
        dirname = Path(directory)
        fu = [os.path.join(directory, o) for o in os.listdir(directory) if os.path.isdir(os.path.join(directory, o))]
    print(f"os.listdir\t\ttook {(time.time_ns() - a) / 1000 / 1000 / RUNS:.0f} ms. Found dirs: {len(fu)}")

def run_os_scandir():
    a = time.time_ns()
    for i in range(RUNS):
        fu = [f.path for f in os.scandir(directory) if f.is_dir()]
    print(f"os.scandir\t\ttook {(time.time_ns() - a) / 1000 / 1000 / RUNS:.0f} ms.\tFound dirs: {len(fu)}")

if __name__ == '__main__':

Implemented this using python-os-walk. (http://www.pythonforbeginners.com/code-snippets-source-code/python-os-walk/)

import os

print("root prints out directories only from what you specified")
print("dirs prints out sub-directories from root")
print("files prints out all files from root and directories")
print("*" * 20)

for root, dirs, files in os.walk("/var/log"):

This below class would be able to get list of files, folder and all sub folder inside a given directory

import os
import json

class GetDirectoryList():
    def __init__(self, path):
        self.main_path = path
        self.absolute_path = []
        self.relative_path = []

    def get_files_and_folders(self, resp, path):
        all = os.listdir(path)
        resp["files"] = []
        for file_folder in all:
            if file_folder != "." and file_folder != "..":
                if os.path.isdir(path + "/" + file_folder):
                    resp[file_folder] = {}
                    self.get_files_and_folders(resp=resp[file_folder], path= path + "/" + file_folder)
                    self.absolute_path.append(path.replace(self.main_path + "/", "") + "/" + file_folder)
                    self.relative_path.append(path + "/" + file_folder)
        return resp, self.relative_path, self.absolute_path

    def get_all_files_folder(self):
        self.resp = {self.main_path: {}}
        all = self.get_files_and_folders(self.resp[self.main_path], self.main_path)
        return all

if __name__ == '__main__':
    mylib = GetDirectoryList(path="sample_folder")
    file_list = mylib.get_all_files_folder
    print (json.dumps(file_list))

Whereas Sample Directory looks like


Result Obtained

    "files": [
    "lib_b": {
      "files": [
    "lib_a": {
      "files": [
      "lib_c": {
        "files": [
        "lib_e": {
          "files": [
      "lib_d": {
        "files": [

Copy paste friendly in ipython:

import os
folders = list(filter(lambda x: os.path.isdir(os.path.join(d, x)), os.listdir(d)))

Output from print(folders):

['folderA', 'folderB']

This will list all subdirectories right down the file tree.

import pathlib

def list_dir(dir):
    path = pathlib.Path(dir)
    dir = []
        for item in path.iterdir():
            if item.is_dir():
                dir = dir + list_dir(item)
        return dir
    except FileNotFoundError:
        print('Invalid directory')

pathlib is new in version 3.4

Listing Out only directories

print("\nWe are listing out only the directories in current directory -")
directories_in_curdir = filter(os.path.isdir, os.listdir(os.curdir))

Listing Out only files in current directory

files = filter(os.path.isfile, os.listdir(os.curdir))
print("\nThe following are the list of all files in the current directory -")

You can get the list of subdirectories (and files) in Python 2.7 using os.listdir(path)

import os
os.listdir(path)  # list of subdirectories and files

You could just use glob.glob

from glob import glob

Don't forget the trailing / after the *.

By joining multiple solutions from here, this is what I ended up using:

import os
import glob

def list_dirs(path):
    return [os.path.basename(x) for x in filter(
        os.path.isdir, glob.glob(os.path.join(path, '*')))]

Building upon Eli Bendersky's solution, use the following example:

import os
test_directory = <your_directory>
for child in os.listdir(test_directory):
    test_path = os.path.join(test_directory, child)
    if os.path.isdir(test_path):
        print test_path
        # Do stuff to the directory "test_path"

where <your_directory> is the path to the directory you want to traverse.

This answer didn't seem to exist already.

directories = [ x for x in os.listdir('.') if os.path.isdir(x) ]

Python 3.4 introduced the pathlib module into the standard library, which provides an object oriented approach to handle filesystem paths:

from pathlib import Path

p = Path('./')

# All subdirectories in the current directory, not recursive.
[f for f in p.iterdir() if f.is_dir()]

To recursively list all subdirectories, path globbing can be used with the ** pattern.

# This will also include the current directory '.'

Note that a single * as the glob pattern would include both files and directories non-recursively. To get only directories, a trailing / can be appended but this only works when using the glob library directly, not when using glob via pathlib:

import glob

# These three lines return both files and directories

# Whereas this returns only directories

So Path('./').glob('**') matches the same paths as glob.glob('**/', recursive=True).

Pathlib is also available on Python 2.7 via the pathlib2 module on PyPi.

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