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Basic linux commands

working with directories

Brief overview of the most common commands to work with directories: pwd, cd, ls, mkdir, rmdir, cp and mv. These commands are available on any Linux (or Unix) system.

1) pwd

Open a command line interface (also called a terminal, console or xterm) and type pwd. The tool displays name of current/working directory

2) Mkdir

mkdir - make directories. Create the DIRECTORY(ies), if they do not already exist.

a) mkdir students ( create a directory students if it is not already exists)

b) mkdir one two three ( create multiple directory under current working directory)

c) mkdir -p x/y/z ( Create parent directories as needed. It create x inside working directoy and y inside directory x and z inside directory y)

3) tree

tree - list contents of directories in a tree-like format.

4) ls

ls - list directory contents

Usage : ls options filename/directoryname

Main options:

l – long list

a – including hidden files / directories

r -- reverse order while sorting

d -- list directories themselves, not their contents

h – list files / directories with human readable size

5) cd

Used to change current working directory. Only for directory not for files.

Usage: cd options directoryname

cd directoryname / directoyname with path (To change current working directory.)

cd .. (To change into parent directoy or to change one directory up )

cd .. /.. (To change two directory up)

cd ~ (To change into users home directory)

cd / ( To move to “/” )

cd /root/students (To change into students directory)

6)rmdir (or) rm -rf

rmdir -- To remove empty directory

rm -rf – (option r – recursive , -f force) To remove directory and everything inside the directory

7) cp

Used to copy files and directories


cp filename dest. diretory / with path

cp -r directory dest. Directory / with path


Used to move and rename a file and directory


To move file or directory

mv file/directory destination directory

To rename file or directory

mv file/directory newfilename/newdirectoryname

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