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How to Get the current directory in Linux

This article is part of the following series.


In this blog post, we will be discussing how to check the current directory in Linux. There are a few different ways to do this, but we will be focusing on terminal commands. Knowing how to navigate your file system is an essential skill for any Linux user, so please follow along as we walk you through it!

Get current directory with pwd command in Linux

To get the current directory in Linux,  we can use pwd command. This command stands for “print working directory”. It will print out the full path of the current directory you are in. For example, if we are currently in the /home/user/directory, it will print out that exact path.

$ pwd

The pwd command is fairly straightforward – it simply prints out the current working directory. However, there is one thing you should know about it.

The pwd command always prints out the full path of the current directory. This means that it will print out the complete path, starting from the root of the file system.

Directory Structure in Linux

There are a few important directories that every Linux user should be familiar with. 

The / directory is the root of the Linux file system. This is the top directory, and everything else is contained within it. The / directory can be thought of as the “backbone” of your file system, and all other directories are its children.

The /etc directory is one of the most important directories on a Linux system. This is where all of the system’s configuration files are stored. If you ever need to change a setting or configure your system, you will likely find the file you need in /etc.

The /var directory is another important directory in Linux. This holds variable data such as logfiles and spools. If your system ever runs out of space, you can often free up some extra room by deleting files from /var.

The /home directory, for example, is where your personal files and folders are stored.

Some other important directories that are nested within the / directory include:

  • /bin – This contains essential command-line programs that are needed for your system to run.
  • /boot – This stores files necessary for booting your system.
  • /dev – This contains device files that represent physical devices on your system.
  • /etc – This contains configuration files for your system.
  • /home – This contains user home directories.
  • /lib – This stores libraries needed by programs on your system.
  • /mnt – This is used to mount (attach) filesystems to the file hierarchy.
  • /opt – This contains optional software packages that may be installed on your system.
  • /proc – This contains information about the running processes on your system.


Understanding these essential Linux directories is a key part of becoming a successful Linux user. With a little practice, you’ll be navigating your file system like a pro!

Understanding directories . (dot) and .. (dot dot)

The filename . (dot) represents the current working directory; and the filename .. (dot dot) represents the directory one level above the current working directory, often referred to as the parent directory.

List files under the directory using ls command in Linux

To list the files under the current directory in Linux, we can use ls command. This stands for “list” and will list all of the files and folders in the current directory.

If we run the ls command with no arguments, it will simply print out a list of all of the files in the current directory.

However, we can also use the -l argument to get a more detailed listing. This will print out additional information such as the file size, owner, and file permissions.

change directory with cd command in Linux

In order to change directories in Linux, you can use the cd command. For example, if you want to change to the /home/user/directory, you would simply run the cd /home/user/directory command.

If you want to go one level up in the directory tree, you can use the .. (dot dot) directory. For example, if you are in the /home/user/directory and you want to go to the parent directory, you would run the cd .. command.

If you want to go to user’s home directory in Linux, you can use cd ~username.


In this blog post, we have discussed how to check the current directory in Linux and how to change directories using terminal commands. We have also introduced some of the most important directories in Linux, and provided examples of how to navigate to them.

By following these steps, you should be able to easily navigate your way around the file system. That’s all there is to it! With these skills, you should be able to get around your system with ease. As always, if you have any questions or need help, feel free to reach out to us.