How to open and close directories in the Linux terminal

Learn how to use the cd command to change directories with this Linux tutorial.
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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 

$ ls

$ cd Documents
$ pwd

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


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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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