15 Practical Examples of ‘cd’ Command in Linux


The ‘cd’ (Change Directory) command is a fundamental tool in the Linux command-line environment. It enables users to navigate through the directory structure of their Linux system efficiently. Whether you’re new to Linux or an experienced user, understanding the ‘cd’ command and its various options is essential for effective file system navigation. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 15 practical examples of how to use the ‘cd’ command in Linux. We’ll cover a wide range of scenarios to help you become proficient in changing directories.

1. What is the ‘cd’ (Change Directory) Command?

The ‘cd’ command in Linux is used to change the current working directory. It allows users to navigate the file system and access different directories.

2. Basic Syntax of the ‘cd’ Command

Before we dive into practical examples, let’s understand the basic syntax of the ‘cd’ command:

cd [directory]
  • [directory]: This is the directory you want to change to. It can be an absolute path or a relative path.

Now, let’s explore practical examples to illustrate the usage of the ‘cd’ command in various scenarios.

3. Changing to the Home Directory

The simplest use of the ‘cd’ command is to change to the user’s home directory. You can do this by simply entering ‘cd’ with no arguments:


This command will take you to your home directory.

4. Navigating to a Specific Directory

To change to a specific directory, provide the absolute or relative path to that directory as an argument to ‘cd.’ For example, to navigate to a directory called ‘documents,’ you can use:

cd /path/to/documents

Replace ‘/path/to/documents’ with the actual path to the ‘documents’ directory.

5. Moving Up One Directory Level

To move up one directory level from your current location, use the ‘..’ notation with ‘cd.’ For instance, if you are in ‘/path/to/documents’ and want to go up to ‘/path/to,’ you can use:

cd ..

This command will take you to the parent directory.

6. Using Relative Paths

You can use relative paths with ‘cd’ to navigate directories without specifying the full path. For example, if you are in ‘/path/to’ and want to go to the ‘documents’ directory, you can use:

cd documents

This command will take you to ‘/path/to/documents’ using a relative path.

7. Combining ‘cd’ with Other Commands

The ‘cd’ command can be combined with other Linux commands to perform complex operations. For instance, you can use ‘cd’ with ‘ls’ to change to a directory and list its contents in one command:

cd /path/to/directory && ls

This command will change to the specified directory and then list its contents.

8. Going Back to the Previous Directory

To quickly return to the previous directory you were in, you can use the ‘-‘ (hyphen) symbol with ‘cd’:

cd -

This command will switch you to the directory you were in before the last ‘cd’ command.

9. Going to the Root Directory

If you want to navigate to the root directory of the file system, you can use:

cd /

This command will take you to the root directory, which is the highest level in the file system hierarchy.

10. Changing to the Parent Directory

You can use ‘cd’ with the ‘..’ notation to move to the parent directory from any location:

cd ..

This command is especially useful for moving up the directory tree.

11. Changing to the User’s Home Directory

If you need to change to another user’s home directory, you can specify their username with ‘cd’ like this:

cd ~username

Replace ‘username’ with the actual username of the user whose home directory you want to access.

12. Using Tab Completion with ‘cd’

Tab completion is a handy feature in Linux that can save you time when using the ‘cd’ command. Start typing the directory name, and then press the ‘Tab’ key to let Linux complete it for you. If there are multiple matches, pressing ‘Tab’ twice will display the available options.

13. Creating and Changing to a New Directory

You can use ‘mkdir’ to create a new directory and ‘cd’ to change to it in a single command. For example, to create a directory called ‘new_directory’ and navigate to it, use:

mkdir new_directory && cd new_directory

This command will create and enter the ‘new_directory.’

14. Using ‘cd’ with Environment Variables

You can use environment variables with ‘cd’ to change to directories specified by those variables. For example, to change to the directory stored in the ‘MY_DIRECTORY’ variable, use:



allows for dynamic directory navigation based on the value of the environment variable.

15. Conclusion

In conclusion, the ‘cd’ (Change Directory) command in Linux is a versatile tool for navigating the file system efficiently. Whether you need to change to a specific directory, move up the directory tree, or combine ‘cd’ with other commands, mastering its usage is essential for effective Linux system navigation.

By exploring the 15 practical examples provided in this guide, you’ve gained valuable insights into how to use the ‘cd’ command in various scenarios. Whether you’re a Linux beginner or an experienced user, the ‘cd’ command is a fundamental skill that will enhance your command-line proficiency and streamline your file system navigation tasks.

As you continue your Linux journey, practice using the ‘cd’ command in different situations to become more comfortable and proficient with its capabilities. Understanding how to efficiently change directories is a fundamental skill that will serve you well in your Linux endeavors. Happy navigating!

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