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I am writing a .sh to do some work for me, but I am now at the point where I have to cd to the directory the file /path/to/file.end is in. terminal doesn't allow

cd /path/to/file.end
bash: cd: /path/to/file.end: Not a directory

there is sadly no workaround I know of, so it would be nice if you could help!

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Um, do you mean cd /path/to? That will change the directory to the directory that the file file.end is in. – Alaa Ali Jul 5 '13 at 9:56
No, the file is variable, and I would like to enter the path of the file (drop it into the terminal) and then go to the folder it is in – Atsch Jul 5 '13 at 10:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Type cd $( dirname /path/to/file.end). That will take you into /path/to.


  • dirname returns the complete path for a file (without the filename, which you would get with basename) - i.e. dirname /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99update-notifier returns /etc/apt/apt.conf.d
  • the expression $(anything) is replaced by the result of the command in the parentheses. So cd $( dirname /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99update-notifier) is executed as cd /etc/apt/apt.conf.d

Another (but old and discouraged) notation for the same was

cd `dirname /path/to/file.end` 
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You can not cd into a file. Here is a (command line) function that will automatically cd into a path for a given fully qualified file path:

function fcd () { [ -f "$1" ] && { cd "$(dirname "$1")"; } || { cd "$1"; } ; pwd; }
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Did I get this right?: function fcd () { [ -f $1 ] && { cd $(/file.end $1); } || { cd $1 ; } pwd } the response is: bash: syntax error near unexpected token `pwd' it gives me an error this way :( – Atsch Jul 5 '13 at 10:30
@Atsch, need a semicolon before pwd, and if you're defining a function in one line, need a semicolon after pwd. – glenn jackman Jul 5 '13 at 10:36
@glennjackman the function just exits without any output or change of dir :( – Atsch Jul 5 '13 at 10:43
run the function, then enter echo $? -- what is the exit status? – glenn jackman Jul 5 '13 at 11:07
darn I should have not doubted myself. The alternative looked better to me when I found it _O- – Rinzwind Jul 5 '13 at 11:11

If you append "/.." to the filename that will take you to the correct directory e.g. cd /path/to/file.end/... It works on Cygwin anyway.

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Does not work in bash ;) touch test && cd /home/test/test/.. says bash: cd: /home/test/test/..: No such file or directory – Rinzwind Jul 5 '13 at 14:41

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