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Computer System

In: Computers and Technology

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How to Use the Command Line

A Second Lesson

The article How to Use the Command Line, A First Lesson briefly describes the command line, explains why it is important, and tells how to access it. It also introduces what are probably the three most basic commands on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems: pwd (which shows the directory in which the user is presently working), ls (which lists the files and directories) and cd(which changes directories). This lesson introduces six commonly used commands for creating, removing, copying and moving files and directories.

The touch Command

The touch command is the easiest way to create new, empty files. Its syntax is

touch [option] file_name(s)

No options are required for basic file creation. Thus, for example, to create a new file named file1 within the current directory(i.e., the directory in which the user is currently working), all that is necessary is to type the following command and then press the ENTER key:

touch file1

Any number of files can be created simultaneously with touch. Each name must be separated by at least one space. Thus, example, the following would create three files named file2, file3, file4:

touch file2 file3 file4

The existence of these new files can easily be confirmed by using the ls command and seeing if they are included in its output. For example, the following would provide the names of all of the files and directories in the current directory:


A useful feature of touch is that, in contrast to some commands, it does not automatically overwrite (i.e., erase the contents of) existing files that have the same names as new files being created.

The mkdir Command

The mkdir command is is used to create new directories (which are also referred to as folders in some operating systems). Its syntax is

mkdir [option] directory_name(s)

As is the case...

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