What's this?

commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again.

Delete that bloated snippets file you've been using and share your personal repository with the world. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Get involved!

You can sign-in using OpenID credentials, or register a traditional username and password.

First-time OpenID users will be automatically assigned a username which can be changed after signing in.

UpGuard checks and validates configurations for every major OS, network device, and cloud provider.

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for:



May 19, 2015 - A Look At The New Commandlinefu
I've put together a short writeup on what kind of newness you can expect from the next iteration of clfu. Check it out here.
March 2, 2015 - New Management
I'm Jon, I'll be maintaining and improving clfu. Thanks to David for building such a great resource!

Top Tags



Commands using mv from sorted by
Terminal - Commands using mv - 186 results
find /dir | awk '{print length, $0}' | sort -nr | sed 's/^[[:digit:]]* //' | while read dirfile; do outfile="$(echo "$(basename "$dirfile")" | unaccent UTF-8)"; mv "$dirfile" "$(dirname "$dirfile")/$outfile"; done
2009-08-24 21:24:18
User: Patola
Functions: awk basename find mv read sed sort

This command changes all filename and directories within a directory tree to unaccented ones. I had to do this to 'sanitize' some samba-exported trees. The reason it works might seem a little difficult to see at first - it first reverses-sort by pathname length, then it renames only the basename of the path. This way it'll always go in the right order to rename everything.

Some notes:

1. You'll have to have the 'unaccent' command. On Ubuntu, just aptitude install unaccent.

2. In this case, the encoding of the tree was UTF-8 - but you might be using another one, just adjust the command to your encoding.

3. The program might spit a few harmless errors saying the files are the same - not to fear.

(cd SRC; find . -type d -exec mkdir TARGET/{} ";"; find . -type f -exec mv {} TARGET/{} ";")
2009-08-17 12:35:48
User: karel1980
Functions: cd find mkdir mv

Using a GUI file managers you can merge directories (cut and paste). This command roughly does the same (it doesn't ask for confirmation (no problem for me) and it doesn't clean up the empty SRC directories (no problem, trivial).

probably does the same:

cp -l SRC TARGET; rm -rf SRC
mv -vi file{,~}
2009-08-14 19:29:59
User: fsilveira
Functions: mv

Very helpful when you've got complex filenames and needs to change just some small parts of it.

Renaming a file called "i-made-a-small-typo-right-here" to "i-made-a-big-typo-right-here":

mv -vi i-made-a-{small,big}-typo-right-here

You could also copy multiple files, edit, remove, process, etc.

for a in *; do mv $a prefix${a}; done
for x in *.ex1; do mv "${x}" "${x%ex1}ex2"; done
ls -1 *.jpg | while read fn; do export pa=`exiv2 "$fn" | grep timestamp | awk '{ print $4 " " $5 ".jpg"}' | tr ":" "-"`; mv "$fn" "$pa"; done
2009-08-10 00:52:22
User: axanc
Functions: awk export grep ls mv read tr

Renames all the jpg files as their timestamps with ".jpg" extension.

find . -name "-help" -exec mv {} help.txt \;
find . -maxdepth 2 -name "*somepattern" -print0 | xargs -0 -I "{}" echo mv "{}" /destination/path
2009-08-01 01:55:47
User: jonasrullo
Functions: echo find mv xargs

Only tested on Linux Ubunty Hardy. Works when file names have spaces. The "-maxdepth 2" limits the find search to the current directory and the next one deeper in this example. This was faster on my system because find was searching every directory before the current directory without the -maxdepth option. Almost as fast as locate when used as above. Must use double quotes around pattern to handle spaces in file names. -print0 is used in combination with xargs -0. Those are zeros not "O"s. For xargs, -I is used to replace the following "{}" with the incoming file-list items from find. Echo just prints to the command line what is happening with mv. mv needs "{}" again so it knows what you are moving from. Then end with the move destination. Some other versions may only require one "{}" in the move command and not after the -I, however this is what worked for me on Ubuntu 8.04. Some like to use -type f in the find command to limit the type.

md5sum * | sed 's/^\(\w*\)\s*\(.*\)/\2 \1/' | while read LINE; do mv $LINE; done
buffer () { tty -s && return; tmp=$(mktemp); cat > "${tmp}"; if [ -n "$1" ] && ( ( [ -f "$1" ] && [ -w "$1" ] ) || ( ! [ -a "$1" ] && [ -w "$(dirname "$1")" ] ) ); then mv -f "${tmp}" "$1"; else echo "Can't write in \"$1\""; rm -f "${tmp}"; fi }
2009-07-27 20:21:15
User: Josay
Functions: cat echo mv rm tty
Tags: redirection

A common mistake in Bash is to write command-line where there's command a reading a file and whose result is redirected to that file.

It can be easily avoided because of :

1) warnings "-bash: file.txt: cannot overwrite existing file"

2) options (often "-i") that let the command directly modify the file

but I like to have that small function that does the trick by waiting for the first command to end before trying to write into the file.

Lots of things could probably done in a better way, if you know one...

Keys=$HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys;Back=$Keys.tmp.bak;Time=${1:-15};cp $Keys $Back;cat /dev/stdin >>$Keys;echo mv $Back $Keys|at now+${Time}minutes;
2009-07-15 23:45:02
User: 5z474n
Functions: at mv

If you frequently need to connect to your ubersecure mainframe from various uberunsafe machines, you have to face difficult decision: (a) type the password everytime during the session (lame), (b) add local public key to mainframes authorized_keys file (unsafe), (c) as above, but remove this key at the end of the session (pain in the a55). So let's say you save The Command to tempauth file in bin directory of your mainframe's account and make it executable. Then, while you're on one of these unsafe ones, do:

cat $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub|ssh [email protected] bin/tempauth 30

and password prompts stop the harassment for 30 minutes and you don't have to care to remove the unsafe key after that.

for f in *; do mv $f <target_path>; done;
2009-07-09 12:07:49
User: fritz_monroe
Functions: mv

In my job I often have to deal with moving 100,000 files or more. A mv won't do it because there are too many. This will move everything in the current directory to the target path.

for f in $(find * -maxdepth 0 -type f); do file=$(find ~/target -name $f); if [ -n "$file" ]; then cp $file ${file}.bak; mv $f $file; fi; done
2009-07-08 10:18:06
User: sanmiguel
Functions: cp find mv

You could start this one with

for f in *; do

BUT using the find with "-type f" ensures you only get files not any dirs you might have

It'll also create backups of the files it's overwriting

Of course, this assumes that you don't have any files with duplicated filenames in your target structure

for i in *;do mv "$i" "$(echo $i | sed s/PROBLEM/FIX/g)";done
2009-06-28 01:50:25
User: AlecSchueler
Functions: mv

Useful if non-ascii characters in filenames have been improperly encoded. Replace "PROBLEM" with the incorrect characters (e.g. 'é'), and "FIX" with the correct ones (e.g. '?').

season=1; for file in $(ls) ; do dir=$(echo $file | sed 's/.*S0$season\(E[0-9]\{2\}\).*/\1/'); mkdir $dir ; mv $file $dir; done
2009-05-27 03:30:58
User: lonecat
Functions: echo file mkdir mv sed

It happened to me that I got a season of a tv-show which had all files under the same folder like /home/blah/tv_show/season1/file{1,2,3,4,5,...}.avi

But I like to have them like this:


So I can have both the srt and the avi on one folder without cluttering much. This command organizes everything assuming that the filename contains Exx where xx is the number of the episode.

You may need to set:


if your filenames have spaces.

mv $1 $2 && ln -s $2/$(basename $1) $(dirname $1)
for files in $(ls -A directory_name); do sed 's/search/replaced/g' $files > $files.new && mv $files.new $files; done;
2009-05-07 20:13:07
User: bassu
Functions: ls mv sed

Yeah, there are many ways to do that.

Doing with sed by using a for loop is my favourite, because these are two basic things in all *nix environments. Sed by default does not allow to save the output in the same files so we'll use mv to do that in batch along with the sed.

for i in `ls *xml`; do sed -e 's,oldpassword,newpassword,g' $i > $i.2 && mv -f $i.2 $i ; done
i=10;for o in *.mp3; do i=$(printf "%02d" $i); mv $o $i$o; ((i = $i + 2)); done
2009-04-13 12:33:52
User: bazzawill
Functions: mv printf

This command adds the numbers 10, 12, 14 to a bunch of mp3's in the current working directory. You can then run the command replacing the inital i=10 with i=11 to add 11,13,15 in another directory then mv the files together and the first files interweave with the second group of files. I used this to weave a backlog of a podcast with other podcast so I didn't get sick of one while I was catching up. I started at 10 because printf blows up with 0 padded numbers 08 and 09 which kind of makes the printf command redundant as it was used to pad numbers 1 - 9 so they would come first and not get sorted incorrectly

find ~ -mtime +365 -exec mv {} /tmp/mybackup \;
2009-04-11 12:16:48
User: kayowas
Functions: find mv

This example uses the -exec option to move all matching files into a backup directory

for f in * ; do mv -- "$f" "${f/[0-9][0-9] \- /}" ; done
2009-04-10 11:06:13
Functions: mv

I have often file like this

01 - file.file

02 - file.file

03 - file.file

I rename all with this command

for f in * ; do mv -- "$f" "${f/[0-9][0-9] \- /}" ; done

then it looks like this





for file in $(find -type f -iname "*wav"); do mv $file "$file"_orig.WAV; mplayer -ao pcm "$file"_orig.WAV -ao pcm:file=$file; done
mv `find .zip ./` .
2009-03-27 04:42:48
User: smcpherson
Functions: mv
Tags: find

This is useful if you have a collection of files in folders (for example, a bunch of .zip files that are contained in folders) and you want to move them all to a common folder.

find -depth . | (while read FULLPATH; do BASENAME=`basename "${FULLPATH}"`; DIRNAME=`dirname "${FULLPATH}"`; mv "${DIRNAME}/${BASENAME}" "${DIRNAME}/${BASENAME// /_}"; done)
2009-03-24 21:04:32
User: mohan43u
Functions: find mv read

Takes filenames and directory names and replace space to '_'.

$mkdir mydir -> mv !$ yourdir -> $cd !$