The environmental variable in $PWD has the current working directory. Is there a variable that contains the previous directory? If there is not, how might one be created?

I think this could be useful.

1 Answer 1


Yes, there is. man bash will lead you to

   OLDPWD The previous working directory as set by the cd command.
  • 1
    Nice, I didn't know about this.
    – kos
    Sep 13, 2015 at 2:50
  • 1
    This is going to be so useful. (uncd command, anyone?)
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Sep 13, 2015 at 6:26
  • 12
    You can use cd - to go back to the previous directory.
    – NZD
    Sep 13, 2015 at 6:43
  • 3
    Bash maintains a stack of all directories you have visited. You can use pushd and popd to manipulate this stack. See man bash for details.
    – NZD
    Sep 13, 2015 at 6:46
  • 2
    @NZD unless I've somehow been very confused for a long time, the stack does not contain all directories you've visited - only those you've specifically stored using pushd.
    – David Z
    Sep 13, 2015 at 16:38

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