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!

  • 4
    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, 2013 at 9:56
  • 1
    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
    – Azsgy
    Jul 5, 2013 at 10:27
  • Related: adding shopt -s autocd (default on zsh) to your ~/.bashrc, Allows you to cd into directory merely by typing the directory name. More: man bash | grep "autocd" Jul 1, 2023 at 3:46

4 Answers 4


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` 

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; }
  • 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 :(
    – Azsgy
    Jul 5, 2013 at 10:30
  • 2
    @Atsch, need a semicolon before pwd, and if you're defining a function in one line, need a semicolon after pwd. Jul 5, 2013 at 10:36
  • @glennjackman the function just exits without any output or change of dir :(
    – Azsgy
    Jul 5, 2013 at 10:43
  • run the function, then enter echo $? -- what is the exit status? Jul 5, 2013 at 11:07
  • darn I should have not doubted myself. The alternative looked better to me when I found it _O-
    – Rinzwind
    Jul 5, 2013 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.

  • 6
    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, 2013 at 14:41
  • Does work in windows cmd
    – lucidbrot
    Mar 3, 2021 at 7:55


cd $(dirname $(realpath <path>/myfile.txt))

It unfolds the path of file.

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