Here are some examples of common Unix commands. For more information, visit Unix Station, including the Introduction to Unix course.
|Type this at your Unix Prompt and hit the "Enter" or "Return" key on your keyboard||What it does|
|pwd||Tells you the location of your present working directory. Use this at any time to figure out "where you are" in your file system.|
|cd||This changes your working directory to your home directory. Your home directory is the beginning directory where you have files you have on the computer. No matter where you are in the file system, you can enter this command to get back home.|
|ls||This lists the names of the files and directories in your present working directory. Some Unix systems will use some visual cue to indicate which names are files and which are directories. A common convention is that files have an extension name. For example, an HTML file commonly has a file extension html, so that you could see that hello.html is a filename while www or portfolio are directory names.|
|cd www||This changes your working directory to the subdirectory called www. If you do not have a subdirectory by this name in your present working directory, you will get an error. The name www is a popular name for the subdirectory for your Web space.|
|mkdir portfolio||This makes a subdirectory called portfolio in your present working directory.|
|cd ..||This changes your present working directory to be the parent directory of your present working directory. If you visualize all your directories in a tree relationship, this command moves you one directory level up.|
This starts up a session of the
contents of the file myfile.html. If the file myfile.html doesn't
already exist, this command creates it and allows you to begin
entering content into it. The vi editor is commonly available on
Unix systems and has its own command syntax. There are many other
kinds of text editors that may be available on your Unix system,
such as pico, emacs, and others. Your Unix system administrator
should be able to provide you with documentation of these editors,
or such documentation may be available right on your system.
Whatever editor you choose to use, you'll need to know how to: create a file, save a file, exit the editor, enter text, delete text, copy and paste text (both within the editor and from one window to another on your computer screen).
|cp myfile.html yourfile.html||This copies the contents of the file myfile.html into a new file called yourfile.html. If the file yourfile.html already exists, the system may (or may not, depending on how your system is set up) ask if you want to overwrite it.|
|mv myfile.html mybestfile.html||This renames the file myfile.html to the name mybestfile.html. If mybestfile.html already exists, the system may (or may not depending on your system) ask if you want to overwrite it. If your system doesn't ask you, you've destroyed the previous contents of mybestfile.html.|
|rm myfile.html||This removes the file myfile.html from the system. In Unix, there is rarely the concept of a "trash bin" where you can go to recover files that you accidentally removed.|
|rmdir portfolio||This removes the directory called portfolio. If the directory is not empty, your system may tell you it is not empty. If so, you need to change your present working directory to portfolio, then remove the files in it.|
|cat myfile.html||This shows the contents of the file myfile.html without having to enter a text editor to view those contents. The term comes from the word concatenate.|
$ pwd /home/december $ ls access-log@ hold/ mail/ pass* store/ anonftp@ htsdata/ maillists/ sitepop_pwd www@ bin/ infobots/ mbox stage/ $ cd www /www$ cd html /www/html$ cd tutor /www/html/tutor$ ls asg1.html grading.html index.html standards.html asg2.html hello.html meta.html startup.html asg3.html hypertext.html portfolio.html style.html basic.html images.html qa.html style2.html /www/html/tutor$ vi hypertext.html /www/html/tutor$ cd $ pwd /home/december $ cd www /www$ vi december.css /www$ cd html/demo /www/html/demo$ pwd /home/december/www/html/demo/ /www/html/demo$ cd portfolio portfolio: No such file or directory /www/html/demo$ mkdir portfolio /www/html/demo$ cd portfolio /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi si.html /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi si.css /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi units.html /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi prefixes.html /www/html/demo/portfolio$ date Fri Dec 1 10:32:22 CST 2000 /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi links.html /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi use.html /www/html/demo/portfolio$ vi si.css /www/html/demo/portfolio$ exit
Check with the Web site of your computer support organization. They are likely to have online a reference manual that describes how to use the operating system you have on your computer. There are many versions of Unix as well as various operating systems that are "Unix-like."