If you know the proper commands, File Management becomes easier.

Following are the basic Linux commands with examples.


1) How to list files?


Run 'ls' command to get the list of files in your UNIX or Linux system.

It gives the list of files /directories in your current directory.

Run the command 'ls -R' to get all the files in directories and subdirectories.

Note: If you enter, "ls - r" you will get an error.

You can use 'ls -al' command for getting complete information on the files.

The command provides information in a columnar format. The columns provide the following information:

1st Column     File type and access permissions
2nd Column    # of HardLinks to the File
3rd Column     Owner and the creator of the file
4th Column     Group of the owner
5th Column     File size in Bytes
6th Column     Date and Time
7th Column     Directory or Filename


2) How to List the Hidden Files?


To view the hidden files, use the following command.

ls -a 

In UNIX/Linux, hidden items will begin with a "." of the file or directory.

3) How to create and view those files?


a) To create a new file, you can use the command.


   1) cat > filename
   2) Add content
   3) Press 'Ctrl + d' to return to the command prompt.

The "cat" command is also be used for copying, combining and creating new text files.

b) To view a file, use the command -

cat filename 

c) The syntax to combine two files is -

cat file1 file2 > newfilename 

As soon as you entered this command and ran, the files concatenated, but you can't see a result because Bash Shell is the silent type. Shell Commands will never give you a confirmation message like "OK" or "Command Successfully Executed". It will only show a notification when something goes wrong or when an error has occurred.

To get the new combo file, use the command:

cat sample

Note: By using the above command, only text files can be displayed and combined.


4) How to delete a file?


Use 'rm' command to delete the files from the system without confirmation.

To remove a file, use the below syntax -

rm filename 

5) How to move and rename the file?


Use the following command to move a file.

mv filename new_file_location

Please note that: "mv" command requires superuser permission. A standard user can't remove the file by running "mv" command, and you will get an error. To overcome the error, run the below command:

sudo command_you_want_to_execute 

Sudo program allows regular users to run programs with the security privileges of the superuser or root. Sudo command will ask for password authentication. Though, you do not need to know the root password. You can supply your password. After authentication, the system will invoke the requested command.

For renaming file use the following command:

mv filename newfilename 

6) Directory Manipulations

Let's learn some directory manipulation Linux basic commands.

Directories can be created on a Linux operating system using the following command:

mkdir directoryname 

It will form a subdirectory in your current working directory, which is usually your "Home Directory".

Use the below command, if you want to create a directory in a different location other than 'Home directory':


You can also create more than one directory at a time.


7) How to remove directories?


You can remove a directory by running the below command:

rmdir directoryname 

Note: Make sure that there is no file/subdirectory under the directory you want to delete. Delete the files/sub-directory first before deleting the parent directory.


8) How to rename a directory?


The 'mv' (move) command can be used to rename the directories. The format shows below.

mv directoryname newdirectoryname  

Other Important Commands


a) The 'Man' command

To receive guidance on any command that you do not know, you can type


It is similar to 'HELP' file found in popular software.

b) The History Command

History command displays all the basic commands in Linux that you have practised in the past for the current terminal session.

c) The clear command

This command will remove all the clutter on the Terminal and give you a clean window to work on, just like when you start the Terminal.

d) Pasting commands into the Terminal

Many times you would have to enter in large commands on the Terminal. It can be not very pleasant at times, and if you require to ignore such a situation, copy, paste the command can come to save.

For copying, you would use "Ctrl + c", but for pasting it on the Terminal, you have to use "Ctrl + Shift + p". You can also use "Shift + Insert or select Edit>Paste" on the menu.


'pr' command

There are many options possible with this command which help in getting required format settings on File. The most accepted 'pr' options are listed below.

Option                              Function 
-x                                    Divides the data into 'x' columns
-h "header"                   Assigns "header" value as the report header
-t                                    Does not print the header and top/bottom margins
-d                                   Double spaces the output file
-n                                   Denotes all line with numbers
-l page length                Defines the lines (page length) in a page. Default is 56
-o margin                      Formats the page by the margin number

1) Arranging data into columns

For dividing the File, the syntax is

pr -x Filename 

The '-x' option with the 'pr' command divides the data into x columns.

2) Assigning a header

The syntax is:

pr -h "Header" Filename

The '-h' options assign "header" value as the report header.

3) Indicating all lines with numbers

The syntax is:

pr -n Filename

Above are some of the 'pr' command choices you can use to adjust the file format.

Printing a file

If you want to get a hard copy of the File once you have done the formatting, run the following command:

lp Filename
lpr Filename


Installing Software


Using Linux/Unix basic commands, installation files in Linux are distributing as packages. But the package contains only the program itself. Any dependent segments will have to be installed separately, which are usually available as packages themselves.

Run the appropriate commands to install or delete a package. You can update all the installed packages in our system applying following command -

sudo apt-get update


Linux Mail Command


To send mails via a terminal, you need to install packages 'mailutils'.

The command syntax is -

sudo apt-get install packagename

Once done, you can then use the following syntax for giving an email.

mail -s 'subject' -c 'cc-address' -b 'bcc-address' 'to-address' 

Press Ctrl+D you are completed composing the mail. The mail will send to the specified address.


Was this answer helpful? 0 Users Found This Useful (0 Votes)