Unix: Find Directory Name From Path

last updated in Categories , , ,

I am a new Unix shell programer. How can I extract the directory name from a full path (say /nas01/data/backups/file.tar.gz)? How do I get directory name from its path on a Linux or Unix-like system?

You need to use the ”dirname” command[/donotprint]In other words, you can extract the directory name using dirname command.

Method #1: Use dirname command to get directory name

The syntax is:

dirname /path/to/file

OR

VAR=”$(dirname /path/to/my/myname.txt)”

OR

FOO="/path/to/my/folder/filename.avi"
OUT="$(dirname ${FOO})"

Examples

The following example displays output /nas01/data/backups:

dirname /nas01/data/backups/file.tar.gz

Sample outputs:

/nas01/data/backups

The following line sets the shell variable SRC to /nas01/data/backups:

SRC="$(dirname /nas01/data/backups/file.tar.gz)"
echo "Dirpath - $SRC"

Sample outputs:

Dirpath - /nas01/data/backups

Method #2: Extract the directory name from a full path using bash/ksh shell

The $ character is used for parameter expansion, and command substitution. You can use it for manipulating and/or expanding variables on demands without using external commands such as sed or awk. To remove from shortest rear (end) pattern:

${VAR%/*}
VAL="${PATHNAME%/*}"

In this example, set FILE to /nas01/data/backups/demo.avi:

FILE="/nas01/data/backups/demo.avi"
echo "\$FILE = $FILE"

To extract the directory name, type:

echo "${FILE%/*}"
# OR store to DIR #
DIR="${FILE%/*}"
echo "Dirpath - $DIR"

Sample outputs:

Dirpath - /nas01/data/backups

See man pages ksh(1) for more info.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

Share this on (or read 1 comments/add one below):

1 comment

    Have a question? Post it on our forum!