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Find out the starting directory of a script

Terminal - Find out the starting directory of a script
echo "${0%/*}"
2011-04-17 12:09:56
User: mhs
Functions: echo
Find out the starting directory of a script

Invoked from within a shell script, this will print the directory in which the script resides. Doesn't depend on external tools, /proc/self/*, etc.. (`echo` is a shell builtin.) To see the *current working* directory of a script, use `pwd`.


There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
eval ls -l /proc/{$(pgrep -d, COMMAND)}/cwd
2011-04-14 13:41:58
User: splante
Functions: eval ls

This is an alternative to another command using two xargs. If it's a command you know there's only one of, you can just use:

ls -l /proc/$(pgrep COMMAND)/cwd
echo COMMAND | xargs -ixxx ps -C xxx -o pid= | xargs -ixxx ls -l /proc/xxx/cwd
readlink /proc/self/cwd
mydir=$(cd $(dirname ${BASH_SOURCE:-$0});pwd)
2011-04-27 16:33:38
User: xeor
Functions: cd dirname
Tags: cd script pwd

I submitted a command like this without $0 if $BASH_SOURCE is unset. Therefor, it did only work when using ./script, not using 'sh script'. This version handles both, and will set $mydir in a script to the current working directory. It also works on linux, osx and probably bsd.

pwdx $(pgrep command)
2013-02-01 08:33:15
User: weidenrinde

The pwdx command reports the current working directory of a process or processes.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

Being lazy I use



echo $PWD

would work as well.

Comment by penpen 241 weeks ago

Bummer... Sorry, didn't read carefully enough. My bad...

Comment by penpen 241 weeks ago

To be clear, I've edited the original post. `pwd` does indeed show the *current working directory*. This method (which uses shell special parameters) simply shows the *location* of the script.

Comment by mhs 240 weeks and 6 days ago

what does this do that:

dirname $0


Comment by tatsujin 239 weeks and 6 days ago


Think you meant, "Doesn't this do that?"

Answer: Yes, although invoking a separate `dirname` process is slightly more expensive.

Comment by mhs 239 weeks and 6 days ago

This isn't meant to give present working directory (which you would already have in $PWD in sh or bash). Instead, this gives the directory of the script that was launched. It's more efficient than the the little fork of calling `/usr/bin/dirname $0`. I like it.

Comment by Mozai 239 weeks and 4 days ago

Your point of view

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