Linux Tactic

Effective Code Searching with ripgrep: A Guide

Introduction to ripgrep

When you’re dealing with a lot of files and code, finding what you need can be a daunting task. That’s where ripgrep comes in.

As a recursive search tool, ripgrep is designed to hunt through directories quickly and efficiently, providing a versatile search function that can assist you in locating any matching text. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different features of ripgrep, how to install it, and how to use it effectively.

Let’s get started!

Features of ripgrep

If you’re looking for a powerful and flexible search tool, ripgrep has you covered. Here are a few things you can do with ripgrep:

Encoding: ripgrep can handle different encoding types, including UTF-8, Latin1, and ASCII.

Zip Files: You can search through compressed archives like zip files and tar archives. gitignore: Ripgrep will respect any .gitignore files in your code repository.

Hidden files: Ripgrep can also search through hidden files that you usually can’t see. It’s worth noting that ripgrep is designed to work on Unix-like systems (e.g., Linux, macOS), but there’s a Windows version that you can install as well.

You can download ripgrep on your system via your package manager.

Installing ripgrep

When installing ripgrep on your system, the most obvious place to start is with your package manager. If you’re running on a Linux distribution, you can use your distribution’s package manager to install ripgrep.

For example, on Ubuntu, the following command will install it for you:


sudo apt install ripgrep


Once you have ripgrep installed, you can start using it for your searches.

Using ripgrep

Now that you have ripgrep installed let’s take a look at how to use it.

Basic searches

During a basic ripgrep search, you’ll pass a search string as an argument, followed by a filename (or wildcard) to search in:


rg search_string filename.ext


Once you’ve run the command, ripgrep will list out all the lines that contain the search string, along with the associated line numbers. Furthermore, you can receive the color compared results, which can help to identify when the search string appears as part of a larger word or number sequence.

Contextual search

If you want to get more context for the search, you can use the ‘-C’ or ‘-B’ options to specify the number of lines before and after the matching line to display. This is especially helpful if you’re searching a large code repository with lots of matching lines.


rg -C 5 ‘matching_text’ filename.txt



Sometimes it’s helpful to find matches in a specific column, or to show more context by displaying the column number. You can do that with ripgrep by using the “–column” and “–max-columns” options.

If you want to omit certain columns, you can use the “–omit” option. “`

rg –column –max-columns=100 ‘search string’ filename.ext



The ‘-i’ option can be used for case-insensitive searches; the ‘-t’ option specifies the number of threads to use for searching, which can be useful for speeding up search; ‘-v’ can be used to exclude a pattern from being searched; ‘-z’ option is to ignore compressed files.


Ripgrep is a powerful and versatile search tool, designed to make your search for files and code a breeze. Whether you’re looking for a specific string or need to search through thousands of lines of code, ripgrep can save you time and hassle.

To use ripgrep effectively, be sure to explore its various options and see which ones work best for your requirements. In summary, ripgrep is a powerful search tool that can help you save time when looking for specific files and code.

Its features include encoding, compressed archive searches, gitignore, and searches through hidden files. It’s easy to install with the help of a package manager, and it offers multiple options for searches, including basic, contextual, column, and more.

With ripgrep, you can quickly find the matching text you need, making it an essential tool for developers and code contributors alike.

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