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if I'm in a very deep directory a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h/i/j and want to come back a/b/c, I have to use ../../../../../../../.

Is there command I can pass through a number, e.g. cd up 7, to speed this operation up?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Creating an alias would work as a temporary solution, however if you want something more permanent that doesn't confine you to your presets I suggest writing a function to do this and including it in your .bashrc file.


# Go up directory tree X number of directories
function up() {
    # default $COUNTER to 1 if it isn't already set
if [[ -z $COUNTER ]]; then
# make sure $COUNTER is a number
if [ $COUNTER -eq $COUNTER 2> /dev/null ]; then
    nwd=`pwd` # Set new working directory (nwd) to current directory
    # Loop $nwd up directory tree one at a time
    until [[ $COUNTER -lt 1 ]]; do
        nwd=`dirname $nwd`
        let COUNTER-=1
    cd $nwd # change directories to the new working directory
    # print usage and return error
    echo "usage: up [NUMBER]"
    return 1
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You should avoid using all uppercase variable names to avoid accidentally overriding special shell variables or environment variables. Also a good idea to make variables local to the function. – geirha Mar 7 '12 at 19:43

If you are toggling between 2 directories, you can use cd - to switch between both.

If you want to bookmark a few directories, that you would probably cd to often, use pushd and popd -> google for more information.

Or, if you know you have to cd to 7th grand parent very often, you could create an alias, like

alias cd7up='cd ../../../../../../../'

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i don't like alias solution but you taught me pushd and popd which are really useful – Lai Yu-Hsuan Mar 7 '12 at 19:40
isn't the solution useful? why was it downvoted?? – Mallik Mar 10 '12 at 9:23

You can create aliases to do the work.

alias cd..2="cd ../.."
alias cd..3="cd ../../.."
alias cd..4="cd ../../../.."
alias cd..5="cd ../../../../.."

And then you can just type cd..5 to go up 5 levels.
To make those aliases available in future logins, you can add the above to the .bash_profile file in your home dir.

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.bashrc, not .bash_profile – geirha Mar 7 '12 at 19:37

You could write a function like this:

up() {
    local path i
    for (( i=0; i < $1; i++ )); do
    cd "$path"

Put that in your ~/.bashrc, then you can run e.g. up 7 to go up 7 directories. You could override cd to allow cd up 7 too, but just making a new command is shorter and less hassle.

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Be concise.

alias c1='cd ../'
alias c2='c1; c1'
alias c3='c2; c1'
alias c4='c3; c1'
alias c5='c4; c1'
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function cdl() {

        local arguments;
        local level_string;
        local counter=1;
        # first argument is how many levels you wish to traverse
        local level=$1; 

        # grab any argument after the initial levels you wish to traverse
        for var in "$@"; do
                if [ $counter -gt 1 ]; then


        # build string based on how many levels you want to go up
        if [ $level -gt 1 ]; then

                while [ $counter -le $level ]; do
                        let counter+=1;

        # execute command
        cd $level_string$arguments

# Example:
# /usr/local/src/test/directory/blah> cdl 3 i want to be here


# /usr/local/src/test/directory/blah> cdl 3 i/want/to/be/here 


# /usr/local/src/i/want/to/be/here> 

Of course I also add aliases in my .bashrc file using the above function

alias cd2='cdl 2'
alias cd3='cdl 3'
alias cd4='cdl 4'
alias cd5='cdl 5'
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