Deleting swap files

As a Vim user, I sometimes have a buildup of unremoved swap files (.swp) floating around in my directories. Here’s how I find and delete these pesky files.


First, I use find to list out all the swap filepaths:

$ find . -name '*.swp'

You can see that it’s traversing the current directory . and trying to match the pattern *.swp.


Before deleting the swap files, make sure to quit Vim so swap files currently in use aren’t accidentally deleted.

To delete the files, all you need to do is pass the -delete option (warning: this operation cannot be undone):

$ find . -name '*.swp' -delete

To be safe and target only file types, you can pass -type f:

$ find . -type f -name '*.swp' -delete

To ignore files in the ./dist directory, pass -path ./dist -prune -o and -print:

$ find . -path ./dist -prune -o -name '*.swp' -print -delete

The -print option ensures that the ./dist directory is excluded from the find output.

Your directory should now be pruned of swap files!