Get the file or directory owner in Bash for use in scripts on Linux

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Mattias Geniar, January 12, 2016

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If you ever need to retrieve the user that owns the file, or the group, you can use the very simple stat command. But instead of the usual grep/sed/awk dance, you can just set some additional parameters that retrieve only the user or group.

Here’s how that works:

USER=$(stat -c '%U' /path/to/your/file)

From now on, the $USER variable holds the username of the owner of that file. Want the group? Just as easy:

GROUP=$(stat -c '%G' /path/to/your/file)

The stat commands allows for several output formats, for handling users/groups these are the most important:

%u     user ID of owner
%U     user name of owner
%g     group ID of owner
%G     group name of owner

Handy little tool!

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