Lars Graubner

Using tree to picture folder structures

A couple days ago I was documenting the architecture of a website and wanted to write down the folder structure on a wiki page. After struggling with writing it down by hand which was not quite readable I searched for other solutions and found the handy tool tree.

tree is a simple cli tool for unix systems to print folder structures recursively to the console. It can be installed on macOS via homebrew and is also available for all common Linux distributions.

$ brew install tree

For my case I had to print out all folders, ignoring certain folders such as node_modules as those are generic. To achieve this I used the following command:

$ tree -d -I node_modules

Which outputs the following folder structure:

|-- assets
|   |-- images
|   |-- scripts
|   |   |-- helpers
|   |   `-- modules
|   `-- styles
|       |-- base
|       |-- components
|       |-- layout
|       |-- pages
|       |-- themes
|       |-- utils
|       `-- vendor
|-- dist
|   |-- scripts
|   `-- styles
|-- lib
`-- templates

18 directories

For a lot more options you can checkout the ubuntuusers Wiki or type man tree after installation to find out more.


tree is a simple to use tool to quickly document folder structures. I clearly recommend this for readable directory listings in documentations. I'm regularly using it.