46

How can you quickly get the complete path to a file for use in terminal?

42
readlink -f foo.bar

or (install it first)

realpath foo.bar
  • This answer is more accurate than one accepted. – Kunok Oct 4 '16 at 9:23
  • For the complete folder: ls | xargs realpath. – Pablo Bianchi May 17 '17 at 13:57
  • 1
    The downside of readlink is that it will work even if the file doesn't exist. This can perpetuate bugs in very odd ways. – GregRos Jun 28 '18 at 17:30
31

Just drag and drop the file in the terminal.

  • 1
    I'm putting this here so that I don't forget, let's hope it helps some of you :D – Olivier Lalonde Jan 26 '11 at 19:33
  • Returns an "smb://" prefixed path for SMB mounted shares instead of the actual mounted path. – Kupiakos Sep 26 '13 at 23:21
  • @Kupiakos: for me, gnome-terminal happily translates the dropped file path to '/home/alexcohn/.gvfs/…' – Alex Cohn Mar 17 '14 at 15:11
11

All good answers; Here is a tip for another situation.

If you are browsing your files using nautilus and you want the complete path of your current directory, then press CTRL+L. This changes the breadcrumb buttons temporarily back to the old-style address bar, allowing you to copy the path.

  • … but this is still smb://-style, so it cannot be reused in terminal. – Alex Cohn Mar 17 '14 at 12:36
  • Interesting; on my system (Ubuntu 13.10) I do not get a smb://-style path. – Sicco Mar 17 '14 at 13:03
  • Exactly what I was looking for, I mean the terminal is a great place to ls but there is those times you work in a file folder views : ' ) – edencorbin Feb 1 '17 at 6:25
3

If it's an executable, then execute (in a terminal):

$ which your_executable

For example: $ which ls

  • This is the answer i was looking for – Sharjeel Ahmed Jun 15 '15 at 19:18
1

In addition to dragging the icon, there are a few ways to get the full path without nautilus (or thunar, konqueror, et al.). You would then triple-click or click-drag and copy, potentially saving this in your clipboard manager*, and paste it where you need.
(pastie, klipper, glippy, glipper, anamnesis)

  • You can use find in a directory above your file. (If you don't know where it is, start where your shell drops you, [generally] in the top of your home directory.)
    find . | egrep filename

  • You can use locate to get the filename. (Run sudo updatedb if that hasn't been done recently.)

A more realistic example of using find would be something like :

$ find | egrep askubuntu | grep txt
./askubuntu-temp.txt
./drDocuments/web/meta.askubuntu.txt
./other/stuff/askubuntu.txt.iteration.1
./other/stuff/askubuntu.txt.iteration.2
[...]

To cut out the ones you don't like, e.g.:

find | egrep askubuntu | grep txt | egrep -v iteration
find | egrep askubuntu | grep txt | egrep -v 'iteration|meta|other'

locate is used much the same way, though grep is frequently more necessary:

locate myfile | egrep home | egrep -v 'mozilla|cache|local|bin|\.pyc|test' | grep \.py

This isn't the most efficient way to type this, but usually if I've lost a file, I do this iteratively, adding grep clauses as I go.

1

Easily done in python using os.realpath() function:

$ python -c 'import os,sys;print(os.path.realpath(sys.argv[1]))' ./VirtualBox\ VMs/                                      
/mnt/HDD/VirtualBox VMs

From a related answer,you can also use readlink

$ readlink -e ./out.txt                                                                                                  
/home/username/out.txt
0

If you simply copy a file in Nautilus, then the full path is copied.
Then paste it in the terminal. By simply pasting you get:

file:///home/juan/2017/agenda20170101.html

If you right-click and choose "Paste filenames" then you get:

'/home/juan/2017/agenda20170101.html'

with the quotes as shown.
This differs from Windows, that copies the file content instead of its name.

protected by Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Nov 27 '18 at 9:32

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.