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.



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:


If you want to use this approach with the current working directory’s parent directory you need to cd before calling find:

cd .. && find ~+ -type f -name "filename"

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) Apr 7 '14 at 15:53
  • 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. Apr 7 '14 at 16:03
  • 2
    @Scrutinizer - I think you misunderstand how find works. If you use the full path in your search, you get the full path in your output. find /home/your_user -name foo. As OP is using "../" , hard to guess the full path to give in an answer.
    – Panther
    Apr 8 '14 at 13:02
  • 2
    @JorgeeFG $(builtin cd ..; pwd) will canel functions, aliases.
    – bac0n
    Oct 16 '19 at 17:37

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.

  • 1
    this will call readlink on every file so it will be very ineffective.
    – bac0n
    Oct 16 '19 at 18:20
  • I like the simplicity of this solution but I found xargs to be much faster.............................................. find .. -name "filename" | xargs readlink -f Nov 13 '20 at 16:39

The simplest way is

find "$(pwd -P)" -name "filename"
  • 1
    Yes! Or find `pwd -P` -name "filename" Jul 24 '19 at 0:35
  • 1
    this will find files in the current directory not from parent.
    – bac0n
    Oct 16 '19 at 18:21

This worked for me, but will only return the first occurrence.

realpath $(find . -type f -name filename -print -quit)

To get full paths for all occurrences (as suggested by Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy)

find . -type f -name filename | xargs realpath
  • Previous comment removed, +1, good job @Wyrmwood Oct 16 '19 at 20:51
  • Exactly what I needed (just the first occurrence and to print the full path including the filename in the output. Thank you Sir Apr 3 '20 at 18:09
  • 1
    this doesn't work for files with whitespaces
    – peixotorms
    May 21 '20 at 11:19

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.


Removing last directory component with parameter Expansion.

find "${PWD%/*}" -name 'filename'

An example of how you can use mapfile to save output from find to an indexed array for later use.

mapfile -t -d '' < <(find ${PWD%/*} -name 'filename' -print0)

(if no array name is specified, MAPFILE will be the default array name).

for i in "${MAPFILE[@]}"; do
    echo "$((n++)) $i"

Try this way:

find $PWD -name "filename"

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