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Linux / Unix: Shell Script Find Out In Which Directory Script File Resides

I need to find out in which directory my bash script resides so that I can read config file called .backup .ignore .target. For example, if my script resides in >/home/foo/script.sh, I need to read /home/foo/.{backup,ignore,target} files. How do I find out the current directory location and shell script directory location in Bash running on Linux or Unix like operating systems?

You can use any one of the following method to find out the portion of pathname:

  1. basename command – Display filename portion of pathname.
  2. dirname command – Display directory portion of pathname.
  3. Bash parameter substitution.
  4. $0 expands to the name of the shell or shell script.

Examples: Shell script find out which directory the script file resides

The following example display directory path or portion of /home/nixcraft/scripts/foo.sh:

dirname /home/nixcraft/scripts/foo.sh

Sample outputs:


The following line sets the shell variable i to /home/nixcraft/scripts:

i=`dirname /home/nixcraft/scripts/foo.sh`
echo "$i"


i=$(dirname /home/nixcraft/scripts/foo.sh)
echo "$i"

In bash script use $0 instead of /home/nixcraft/scripts/foo.sh:

basename="$(dirname $script)"
echo "Script name $script resides in $basename directory."

Sample outputs:

Script name /tmp/test.sh resides in /tmp directory.

Using bash shell ${var%pattern} syntax

To Remove from shortest rear (end) pattern use the following syntax:


For example:

echo "${x%/*}"
echo "$y"

An updated version of the above script:

# Purpose : Linux / Unix shell script find out which directory this script file resides
# Author : nixCraft <http://www.cyberciti.biz> under GPL v2.x+
# -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
echo "Script name $script resides in $basename directory."
echo "Reading config file $config1 $config2 $config3, please wait..."

Sample outputs:

Fig.01 Sample run from test.sh

Fig.01 Sample run from test.sh

A note about finding physical or real path

You may not get a real physical path and real path may be a symbolic link. To get basename(1), dirname(1), bash(1) Share this tutorial on:

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Russ Thompson August 5, 2013, 12:40 am

    i found aund used the function below. This should be included in the script itself.

    getScriptPath() {
        if [ -d ${0%/*} ]
            abspath=$(cd ${0%/*} && echo $PWD/${0##*/})
            # to get the path only - not the script name - add
            pathOnly=`dirname "$abspath"`
            progdir=`dirname $0`
            cd $progdir
        echo $pathOnly;

    Further down in the script I can use $(getScriptPath) as variable, such as

    mysql database <$(getScriptPath)/query.sql

    Hope this helps:

    • nixCraft August 12, 2013, 11:40 am

      Russ, I appreciate that you are sharing your code with us.

  • Mahdi August 5, 2013, 6:35 am

    Thank you for this!

  • Michel Nicolas August 6, 2013, 10:46 am


    The problem is that method won’t give your the absolute path if it is started with the relative one.
    For example, if my script is launched with ./test.sh I won’t know from the script where am I really residing in the FS.

    So the response is :
    abspath=$(readlink -f $0)

    Then you can do any basename, dirname an other path manipulation on it.

    • nixCraft August 12, 2013, 11:41 am

      Thanks for the heads up. The faq has been updated. I appreciate your post.

  • Chris F.A. Johnson August 18, 2013, 11:17 pm

    If a script needs to know where it is located, it is badly designed.

    • Michel Nicolas August 19, 2013, 5:04 am


      Can you tell me why would it be badly designed? Jugement without deep knowledge about the facts are useless.


      • Russ Thompson October 16, 2013, 3:48 pm

        I feel if a script has to be edited when moved from directory to directory to operate correctly it is badly designed.

        • Chris F.A. Johnson October 16, 2013, 6:15 pm

          If a script has to be moved from directory to directory, it is badly designed. Scripts should always be placed in a directory in your PATH variable, so they can be called from anywhere.

  • Latchezar Tzvetkoff October 16, 2013, 12:55 pm

    readlink -f $0 won’t work on Mac OS X.
    A nice one-liner would be

    SCRIPT_PATH=$(cd $(dirname ${0}) && pwd)

    It doesn’t resolve the real path, though. For this you’ll need an OS check or something…

    SCRIPT_PATH=$(cd $(dirname ${0}) && pwd)
    echo $SCRIPT_PATH
    if [[ ${OSTYPE} = darwin* ]]; then
    	TEMP=`readlink ${SCRIPT_PATH}`
    	echo $TEMP
    	SCRIPT_PATH=`readlink -f ${SCRIPT_PATH}`

    Note that OS X’s readlink is not reliable.

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