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5 cd Command Tricks All Command Line Users Should Know

5 cd Command Tricks All Command Line Users Should Know

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One of the most commonly used command line tools is ‘cd’, which stands for change directory, and as you probably know it is used to navigate directories and switch between one directory or the other within the file system. For those new to learning and familiarizing themselves with the Terminal and the command line, here are five tricks for the otherwise simple ‘cd’ command that’s guaranteed to make your life easier at the command prompt.

1: go back

The “Go back to a directory” trick can be thought of as a back button for the command line, since it doesn’t matter what your pwd (current working directory) is, it will always return you to where you were immediately before the current directory.

cd –

Try it out for yourself, navigate to a deep directory tree and type cd – to get back to where you were. You can repeat the command to keep going back and forth as well, essentially switching two folder locations.

2: Go Home

You can return directly to your home directory with the following:

CD

That command assumes your CDPATH is set to your default path home directory (more on that later), but if not, you can always rely on the tilde to jump back to the home directory:

cd ~

3: Go to the parent directory

Should you change to the directory that contains the current directory? That’s known as the parent folder and you can jump right there by using the following command:

cd ..

Like the CD – trick, you can continuously use cd .. to go to the current parent directories, if you keep typing it you will end up eventually up in the root directory.

4: Go to Root

Should you go to the base of the file system? That’s what the slash is for:

cd /

Easy enough.

5: Temporarily change the CD path from Home elsewhere

Do you do a lot of work on a deeply buried path and want that deep path to be temporarily the new default location for when you type ‘cd’? Use this:

CDPATH = / Path / To / New / Directory / Somewhere / Deep /

This only changes ‘cd’ and does not affect ‘cd ~’ to quickly navigate back to it home directory. Don’t forget to put it back to it home directory when done:

CDPATH = ~

Rebooting usually also returns it to its default setting home directory location too, but who wants to do that if not necessary?

Don’t miss the rest of our command line tricks, we’ve got plenty for users of all skill levels, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced.

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