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There are a few core Unix commands that are used routinely - after a while you find that these come as second nature and you no longer have to think "What's the command for that?". These common commands involve moving around your account, creating, copying and deleting files and directories. It is a good idea for the novice Unix user to keep a list of common commands at hand until you have learnt them:


There are many tricks to saving time on the command line and cutting down the number of keystrokes. Here are just a few.

Moving around:


move to home directory

cd ..

move up one directory

cd ../..

move up two directories

cd -

move back to the directory I was just in

cd ../another_dir

move up one directory and then down to another_dir

cd ~/another_dir

move to home directory and the down to another_dir

Use the Tab button to fill in filenames

When typing on the command line you can use the keyboard tab button to fill in the rest of a filename for you. Examples:

  1. If I had a file called humamph1.tfa and I had no other file beginning with "hum" in the directory I am in presently, I can type:
    less hum
    and then press the tab button. As there are no other files beginning with "hum" the machine knows the name of the rest of the filename and fills it in... giving me:
    less humamph1.tfa
  2. If I have two files called humamph1.tfa and humamph2.tfa. If I type:
    less hum
    and press the tab button, the machine will fill in up to the point that it knows e.g.
    less humamph
    It then stops because it does not know whether I want 1 or 2.
    If I then type 2 and press tab again it will finish off the file name for me....
    less humamph2.tfa