How to open and close directories in the Linux terminal

Learn how to use the cd command to change directories with this Linux tutorial.
25 readers like this
25 readers like this
Open a directory

CC BY-SA Seth Kenlon

To open a directory on a computer with a graphical interface, you double-click on a folder. It opens, and you are now "in" that folder.

To open a directory in a terminal, you use the cd command to change your current directory. This essentially opens that folder and places you in it.

$ pwd
/home/tux

$ ls
example.txt
Documents
Downloads
Music
Pictures
Templates
Videos

$ cd Documents
$ pwd
/home/tux/Documents

Close a folder

To close a directory on a computer with a graphical interface, you close the window representing that directory.

You don't have to close directories in a terminal, but you can always navigate away from a location you've made your current directory. The cd command, issued alone with no arguments, takes you back home.

bash$ cd
bash$ pwd
/home/tux

 

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Seth Kenlon
Seth Kenlon is a UNIX geek, free culture advocate, independent multimedia artist, and D&D nerd. He has worked in the film and computing industry, often at the same time.

1 Comment

It's also helpful to know the shorthand for moving up in the directory structure.

cd ../
takes you up one level,
cd ../../
takes you up two levels, and so on.

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