Is there a way to get absolute path of a file that is being searched?

For example:

find .. -name "filename"

It gives me results like ../filename but I want the full path.

What I need is to find in the parent directory and its children, for a specific file, that I will use in another script later.



Try something like:

find "$(cd ..; pwd)" -name "filename"
  • Thanks, I was just testing $(cd ..; pwd). Here it works OK, but if I do it alone in a Terminal, I can't get the parent dir... I get "Bash: <dir>: Is a directory. And if I do $(cd ..; echo "something") I get "something: not a command" – JorgeeFG Apr 7 '14 at 15:52
  • Do you mean like a separate command? Then you would need to leave out the dollar sign: (cd ..; pwd) – Scrutinizer Apr 7 '14 at 15:53
  • Thanks, that was it. Any reference of why should I remove the $, how does it affect the subshell? – JorgeeFG Apr 7 '14 at 15:56
  • 1
    Yes ( ... ) means execute in a subshell, the output gets written to stdout. $( ... ) stands for "command substitution". The latter can be used as if it were a variable expansion. – Scrutinizer Apr 7 '14 at 16:03
  • find / -name "filename" – Panther Apr 7 '14 at 18:48

Try using the -exec option of find:

find .. -name "filename" -exec readlink -f {} \;

Note: readlink prints the value of a symbolic link or canonical file name.


The simplest way is

find "$(pwd -P)" -name "filename"

You can use bash's Tilde Expansion to get the absolute path of the current working directory, this way find prints the absolute path for the results as well:

find ~+ -type f -name "filename"

If executed in ~/Desktop, this is expanded to

find /home/yourusername/Desktop -type f -name "filename"

and prints results like:


Also using PWD can show you the full directory. Pwd will show you all your directorys you are in like the expanding of filename. Hope this helped.

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