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Pushd / popd / dirs troika

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Extracted from Professor Nikolai Bezroukov unpublished lecture notes.

Copyright 2010-2018, Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. This is a fragment of the copyrighted unpublished work. All rights reserved.

Everybody on intuitive level understand that cd command in not the best way to navigate complex maze of directories which are common in modern filesystems.

The first alternative to cd command, which was initially introduced iin C-shell in late 70th were   pushd/popd/dirs troika. Those commands operate on a stack of directories with pushd adding elements to the stack and performing cd to this directory, and popd removing the top element from the stack and also perofming cd to this directory.   Bash implementation of dirs is buggy in a sense that it does not accept multiple options like any linux command should  (so dirs -lv produces an error while dirs -l -v does not)

While improvement over cd command, the semantic of this pushd/popd/dirs troika poorly though out and due to this commands are much less useful then they should be.  But they can be used productively, despite their shortcomings by imitating list of favorites. In other words what we need is the list of directory favorites not dynamic directories stack.

Despite the fact that the cd command is a bash built-in, bash does not maintain separate history of visited directories.

The  way to accomplish this created you private list of favorite directories and then populate the stack fro this list and keep it  "as it" until you add of remove a directory from this list:

/bin/rm ~/.fav; dirs -c; cat ~/fav.lst | xargs -rn 1 echo pushd -n >> ~/.fav; . ~/.fav; dirs -v

To make this operation more convenient you can create function or and alias from this rather complex command line:

alias fav='/bin/rm ~/.fav; dirs -c; cat ~/fav.lst | xargs -rn 1 echo pushd -n >> ~/.fav; . ~/.fav 1>/dev/null; dirs -v'

After you can define  function (for example go) which switch to the N directory from the top of your stack. For example:

function jmp {
  cd `dirs -l +$1`

In other words the idea is to use dirs -l -v command to list content of the static stack containing your directory favorites. If the directory is in you list you can cd to the selected  by typing its  number.  Generally you can avoid using popd at all. In this arrangements this is a useless command.  

To populate the directory you can use command history (if you do not delete from it cd commands) but the problem with  this solution is that in command history directories are seldom typed with absolute path. Instead the additions to the list of favorites can done via bash PROMPT_COMMAND string which specifies function executed each time you press Enter key and submit command for execution. For example in the function which is called via bash PROMPT_COMMAND setting you can have the following statement: 

if [[ "x$PWD" != "x$PREVPWD" ]]: then 
   echo $PWD >> ~/.dir_history

You can be more adventurous and provide a single command which first dynamically created the list of favorite directories and then asks for the the number in this list of the directory to which you want to go:

# Nikolai Bezroukov, 2018
function go {
   cat ~/fav_static.lst > ~/fav.lst
   sort ~/.dir_history | uniq -c | sort -rn | cut -c 9- | head -7 >> ~/fav.lst # most frequent
   tail -5 ~/.dir_history  >>  ~/fav.lst # last used
   /bin/rm ~/.fav; dirs -c; cat ~/fav.lst | xargs -rn 1 echo pushd -n >> ~/.fav; . ~/.fav 1>/dev/null; dirs -v -l

  if (( $# > 0 )); then
     mydir=`dirs -l +$1`
     cd $mydir
     echo -n 'Select the directory number in favorites: '
     read target
     if [[ $target =~ \-[0-9]+ ]]; then
        echo $target
        let target=13+$target
        mydir=`dirs -l +$target`
        cd $mydir
     elif [[ target =~ [0-9]+ ]]; then
        echo +$target
        mydir=`dirs -l +$target`
        cd $mydir
        echo ERROR: wrong target $target

In the very simple implementation above the list of favorite directories is a composite consisting of three parts:

One advantage of this implementation is that the list of favorites is stired inthe array use by push/dirs commands and is availble with any of those commands too for example via function jmp descibed above

function jmp {
   cd `dirs -l +$1`

Of course this implementation can be enhanced, but even in this primitive form it is really useful if you regularly deals with the deeply nested directories. I created it for working with genomic files. 

Of course, you can move updates of the  directories and creation of the .fav file for sourcing into your environment to cron (in this case the only thing you need in go function is to source .fav), but modern servers are so fast that those operation are instant anyway

dirs command

dirs  - execution of this command does not change the state of the stack. If you need to go to, say, firth command from the top of the stack without changing stack you can use the command cd `dirs -l +5`

dirs has 7 parameters (note that options should be specified individually -- dirs does not understand "bungled" options format):

dirs [+N | -N] [-clvp]

Pushd command

pushd Saves the current directory on the top of the directory stack and then cd to dir. With no arguments, pushd  exchanges the top two directories.
pushd [dir | +N | -N] [-n]
Brings the Nth directory (counting from the left of the list printed by dirs, starting with zero) to the top of the list by rotating the stack.  cd to this directory
Brings the Nth directory (counting from the right of the list printed by dirs, starting with zero) to the top of the list by rotating the stack. cd to this directory.
-n Suppresses the normal change of directory when adding directories to the stack, so that only the stack is manipulated.  Can be used to populating the stack
Makes the current working directory be the top of the stack, and then executes the equivalent of `cd dir'. cds to dir.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


Old News ;-)

[Oct 14, 2018] autojump A cd command that learns - easily navigate directories from the command line

Apr 10, 2012 |

autojump is a faster way to navigate your filesystem. It works by maintaining a database of the directories you use the most from the command line.

Directories must be visited first before they can be jumped to. USAGE

j is a convenience wrapper function around autojump. Any option that can be used with autojump can be used with j and vice versa.

For more options refer to help:

autojump --help
autojump does not support directories that begin with -.
For bash users, autojump keeps track of directories by modifying $PROMPT_COMMAND. Do not overwrite $PROMPT_COMMAND:

export PROMPT_COMMAND="history -a"

Instead append to the end of the existing $PROMPT_COMMAND:


For any questions or issues please visit:

autojump was originally written by JoΓ"l Schaerer, and currently maintained by William Ting. More contributors can be found in AUTHORS. COPYRIGHT

Copyright Β© 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later < >. This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

[Oct 14, 2018] Jump-Location - A Change Directory (CD) PowerShell Command that reads your mind by Scott Hanselman

Oct 14, 2018 |

September 18, '14

There's a lovely little utility called autojump for *nix consoles that makes the 'cd' command very smart. More that just auto-completion, it's a kind of "auto guessing." Hence, autojump. There is some beginning Windows support, but instead I turned to Tim Kellogg's open source PowerShell implementation " Jump-Location ."

What a joy.

j this and j that

First, I was like "jump-location?" I'm not going to type that. But then, of course, duh. Aliases.

Jump-Location is aliased to just j , which means I can now do awesome stuff like this:

c:\> j sc
c:\users\scott> j g
c:\users\AppData\Local\GitHub> j des

But there's more. It's actually watching how long you are in a directory and keeping stats. You can see the weighted stats with "jumpstat" and the "database" is just a text file in ~\jump-location.txt.

If "j d" isn't enough to get me into C:\GitHub\DisProject then I can do "j g d" and I'm there. It's amazing.

Installation is easy, and I hope it gets on PsGet soon for even easier installation. Just unzip, unblock, ensure that your PowerShell execution policy allows scripts, and run ./install.ps1.

NOTE : Don't run install from your desktop, or a temp folder. Put the Jump-Location folder somewhere where it will live, and it's going to add a line like this to your user profile ("C:\Users\YOU\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1") like this, so you'll want to install from a final path:

Import-Module 'C:\Users\Scott\Dropbox\utils\Jump-Location-0.5.1\Jump.Location.psd1'

I'm excited about this great little utility. Head over to and STAR it in GitHub, and give it a go! Tim, the author, is on Twitter at @kellogh . Other contributors include Sergey Vorobyev .

[Oct 14, 2018] Port of NCD (Norton Change Directory) for debian-ubuntu

Oct 14, 2018 |
Old 05-02-2017, 04:19 AM # 1
deepcore LQ Newbie
Registered: Dec 2005 Location: Denmark, Copenhagen Distribution: Ubuntu Ultimate v.6 Posts: 10
Rep: Reputation: 0
Port of NCD (Norton Change Directory) for debian/ubuntu

[ Log in to get rid of this advertisement] Does anyone know of a current port of ncd (Norton Change Directory) for Debian/Ubuntu systems? Preferably accessible through the package manager so it can easily be added to newly installed systems.

My best effords to find a similar utility has led me to:

... but as stated i would like to have it from packagemanager.

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Old 05-02-2017, 04:48 AM # 2
pan64 LQ Guru
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I don't know what do you really need, but for example zsh has a built-in cd command which has a lot of features (although a bit different).
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:26 AM # 3
michaelk Moderator
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What about wcd? It should be available in the debian/Ubuntu repositories.

[Sep 27, 2018] bash - Conflict between `pushd .` and `cd -` - Unix Linux Stack Exchange

Sep 27, 2018 |

Conflict between `pushd .` and `cd -` Ask Question up vote 5 down vote favorite 1

Bernhard ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:07

I am a happy user of the cd - command to go to the previous directory. At the same time I like pushd . and popd .

However, when I want to remember the current working directory by means of pushd . , I lose the possibility to go to the previous directory by cd - . (As pushd . also performs cd . ).

How can I use pushd to still be able to use cd -

By the way: GNU bash, version 4.1.7(1)

Patrick ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:39

Why not use pwd to figure out where you are? – Patrick Feb 21 '12 at 12:39

Bernhard ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:46

I don't understand your question? The point is that pushd breaks the behavior of cd - that I want (or expect). I know perfectly well in which directory I am, but I want to increase the speed with which I change directories :) – Bernhard Feb 21 '12 at 12:46

jofel ,Feb 21, 2012 at 14:39

Do you know zsh ? It has really nice features like AUTO_PUSHD. – jofel Feb 21 '12 at 14:39

Theodore R. Smith ,Feb 21, 2012 at 16:26

+1 Thank you for teaching me about cd -! For most of a decade, I've been doing $ cd $OLDPWD instead. – Theodore R. Smith Feb 21 '12 at 16:26

Patrick ,Feb 22, 2012 at 1:58

@bernhard Oh, I misunderstood what you were asking. You were wanting to know how to store the current working directory. I was interpreting it as you wanted to remember (as in you forgot) your current working directory. – Patrick Feb 22 '12 at 1:58

Wojtek Rzepala ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:32

You can use something like this:
push() { 
    if [ "$1" = . ]; then
        builtin pushd .
        cd "$old"
        cd "$current"
        builtin pushd "$1"

If you name it pushd , then it will have precedence over the built-in as functions are evaluated before built-ins.

You need variables old and current as overwriting OLDPWD will make it lose its special meaning.

Bernhard ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:41

This works perfectly for me. Is there no such feature in the built-in pushd? As I would always prefer a standard solution. Thanks for this function however, maybe I will leave out the argument and it's checking at some point. – Bernhard Feb 21 '12 at 12:41

bsd ,Feb 21, 2012 at 12:53

There is no such feature in the builtin. Your own function is the best solution because pushd and popd both call cd modifying $OLDPWD, hence the source of your problem. I would name the function saved and use it in the context you like too, that of saving cwd. – bsd Feb 21 '12 at 12:53

Wildcard ,Mar 29, 2016 at 23:08

You might also want to unset old and current after you're done with them. – Wildcard Mar 29 '16 at 23:08

Kevin ,Feb 21, 2012 at 16:11

A slightly more concise version of Wojtek's answer :
pushd () {
        if [ "$1" = . ]; then
                cd -
                builtin pushd -
                builtin pushd "$1"

By naming the function pushd , you can use pushd as normal, you don't need to remember to use the function name.


Kevin's answer is excellent. I've written up some details about what's going on, in case people are looking for a better understanding of why their script is necessary to solve the problem.

The reason that pushd . breaks the behavior of cd - will be apparent if we dig into the workings of cd and the directory stack. Let's push a few directories onto the stack:

$ mkdir dir1 dir2 dir3
$ pushd dir1
~/dir1 ~
$ pushd../dir2
~/dir2 ~/dir1 ~
$ pushd../dir3
~/dir3 ~/dir2 ~/dir1 ~
$ dirs -v
0       ~/dir3
1       ~/dir2
2       ~/dir1
3       ~

Now we can try cd - to jump back a directory:

$ cd -
$ dirs -v
0       ~/dir2
1       ~/dir2
2       ~/dir1
3       ~

We can see that cd - jumped us back to the previous directory, replacing stack ~0 with the directory we jumped into. We can jump back with cd - again:

$ cd -
$ dirs -v
0       ~/dir3
1       ~/dir2
2       ~/dir1
3       ~

Notice that we jumped back to our previous directory, even though the previous directory wasn't actually listed in the directory stack. This is because cd uses the environment variable $OLDPWD to keep track of the previous directory:

$ echo $OLDPWD

If we do pushd . we will push an extra copy of the current directory onto the stack:

$ pushd . 
~/dir3 ~/dir3 ~/dir2 ~/dir1 ~
$ dirs -v
0       ~/dir3
1       ~/dir3
2       ~/dir2
3       ~/dir1
4       ~

In addition to making an extra copy of the current directory in the stack, pushd . has updated $OLDPWD :

$echo $OLDPWD

So cd - has lost its useful history, and will now just move you to the current directory - accomplishing nothing.

[Sep 26, 2018] bash - removing or clearing stack of popd-pushd paths

Sep 26, 2018 |

chrisjlee ,Feb 9, 2012 at 6:24

After pushd ing too many times, I want to clear the whole stack of paths.

How would I popd all the items in the stack?

I'd like to popd without needing to know how many are in the stack?

The bash manual doesn't seem to cover this .

Why do I need to know this? I'm fastidious and to clean out the stack.

jw013 ,Feb 9, 2012 at 6:39

BTW, the complete bash manual is over at If you use the all on one page version, it may be easier to find stuff there. – jw013 Feb 9 '12 at 6:39

jw013 ,Feb 9, 2012 at 6:37

dirs -c is what you are looking for.

Eliran Malka ,Mar 23, 2017 at 15:20

this does empty the stack, but does not restore the working directory from the stack bottom – Eliran Malka Mar 23 '17 at 15:20

Eliran Malka ,Mar 23, 2017 at 15:37

In order to both empty the stack and restore the working directory from the stack bottom, either:

Chuck Wilbur ,Nov 14, 2017 at 18:21

The first method is exactly what I wanted. The second wouldn't work in my case since I had called pushd a few times, then removed one of the directories in the middle, then popd was failing when I tried to unroll. I needed to jump over all the buggered up stuff in the middle to get back to where I started. – Chuck Wilbur Nov 14 '17 at 18:21

Eliran Malka ,Nov 14, 2017 at 22:51

right @ChuckWilbur - if you scrambled the dir stack, popd won't save you :) – Eliran Malka Nov 14 '17 at 22:51

jw013 ,Dec 7, 2017 at 20:50

It's better to pushd -0 instead of cd "$(dirs ...)" . – jw013 Dec 7 '17 at 20:50

Eliran Malka ,Dec 11, 2017 at 13:56

@jw013 how so? that would mess with the dir stack even more (which we're trying to clear here..) – Eliran Malka Dec 11 '17 at 13:56

jw013 ,Dec 12, 2017 at 15:31

cd "$(...)" works in 90%, probably even 99% of use cases, but with pushd -0 you can confidently say 100%. There are so many potential gotchas and edge cases associated with expanding file/directory paths in the shell that the most robust thing to do is just avoid it altogether, which pushd -0 does very concisely.

There is no chance of getting caught by a bug with a weird edge case if you never take the risk. If you want further reading on the possible headaches involved with Unix file / path names, a good starting point is Dec 12 '17 at 15:31

[ Sep 17, 2012 ] bash Tricks From the Developers of the O'Reilly Network

April, 2005 | O'Reilly ONLamp Blog

directory stack

Long ago having aliased "pu" and "po" to pushd and popd, I've moved on to showing my current directory stack with

alias d='dirs -v'

and rolling through the stack with

alias r='pushd +1'

and single numerical values aliased to go to that directory that comes from the dir listing, eg.

alias 3='pushd +3 > /dev/null ; dirs -v'

Another single letter alias I like is "p", which I have used for displaying and setting my PATH variable, but the code is lengthy so I won't burden you with how

p - 4
p --
p ++ /some/dir

does what you want.

[indiana-discuss] pushdopd&co. in bash-ksh93 ... - was Re scope

Roland Mainz roland.mainz at
Wed Sep 12 09:32:34 PDT 2007



[Sorry for the late reply, this one was apparently rotting in my
Drafts/-folder for a long time... ;-( ]

Tim Bray wrote:
> On Aug 8, 2007, at 10:56 AM, Richard Elling wrote:
> > pushd/popd and dirs came from csh.  They are invaluable when you only
> > had a terminal.  They are so invaluable that ksh code to implement
> > them
> > is on pp 244-247 of "The Kornshell Command and Programming
> > Language" by
> > Bolsky and Korn, ISBN 0-13-516972-0.
> Right, well, I have a 24" screen with (at this moment in time) 3
> terminals active, all of which have several directories pushed.
> I'm not religious about shells.  I am *passionate* that when we
> manage to get a Linux/OS-X user to try Indiana, they don't get rude
> shocks in the first three minutes because some basic piece of
> infrastructure that's wired into their muscle memory doesn't work.
> If I get on Solaris and !! or !prefix-of-somerevious-command or
> pushd/popd doesn't work, *that's a bug*.  I don't want to micromanage
> how we fix it.   -Tim

Erm, technically the problem of "pushd/"popd" is that several shells
define "pushd" and "popd" with slightly different functionality/options
and there is no POSIX specification which could be used as guidance
(neither is it possible to just tack-on some functions to the shell
without checking whether this is allowed by the POSIX shell spec) ...

... but for interactive ksh93 sessions the solution is AFAIK quite easy:
ksh93 has a feature called "FPATH" which specifies a path (similar like
the "PATH" variable) from which shell functions can be loaded
dynamically at runtime. For ksh93 shipped with Solaris >= 11/B72 in
interactive mode this could be used to load the matching functions
"pushd"/"popd"/"dirs" from /usr/demo/ksh/fun/ via adding a
-- snip --
-- snip --
to /etc/ksh.kshrc

BTW: As a mid- or long-term project we'd like to add a larger shell
function library at the /usr/lib/shell/ksh/ directory (see CR 6601968
("RFE: Add /usr/lib/shell/ksh/ as a place to store loadable shell
functions")) which would move "pushd"/"popd"/"dirs" out of the demo
directory to something like /usr/lib/shell/ksh/org/opensolaris/dirutil/
, giving non-interactive shell scripts a permanent location they can
rely on.



Push'n'Pop - Bash macro to simulate Tcsh cd functionality

I really like the directory bookmark/browsing ability of tcsh when aliasing the pushd command to cd. Using bash, I would naturally like to have the same abilities, but this turns out to be far from obvious to achieve.

The following listing is of a tcsh session displaying the desired functionality:

$ cd dir3
$ dirs
 0  ~/tmp/dir1/dir2/dir3
 1  ~/tmp/dir1/dir2
 2  ~/tmp/dir1
 3  ~/tmp
$ cd +2
$ pwd
$ dirs
 0  ~/tmp/dir1
 1  ~/tmp
 2  ~/tmp/dir1/dir2/dir3
 3  ~/tmp/dir1/dir2

To get the above behavior a few settings needs to be put into the ~/.tcshrc initializations file:

# .tcshrc

alias dirs 'dirs -vl'

set dunique
set pushdsilent 
set pushdtohome 
alias cd 'pushd \!*'

Things gets a little complicated when trying to mimic these tcsh settings in bash, because no counterparts exists. This does, of course, not mean that it is not possible, but is does mean that scripting is necessary:

# .bashrc

alias dirs='dirs -v'
cd() {

   if [ $# -eq 0 ] || [ "$1" = "-" ]; then
      builtin cd "$@"
      pushd -n $OLDPWD > /dev/null
      pushd "$@" > /dev/null || return 1

   if [ $LEN -gt 1 ]; then
      for i in `seq 1 $LEN`; do
         eval p=~$i
         if [ "$p" = "$PWD" ]; then
            popd -n +$i > /dev/null

   if [ $LEN -ge $MAX ]; then
      popd -n -0 > /dev/null

When this function is put into the ~/.bashrc initialization file, the bash cd command behave exactly as it does in tcsh.

Re bash feature request pushd -v, popd -v

Dave Rutherford
Fri, 15 Jul 2005 21:22:51 -0700

On 7/15/05, Ben Horowitz <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I grew to appreciate one feature of tcsh: the ability to use
> the commands pushd -v, and popd -v.
> As you know, when the bash pushd and popd commands are successful,
> they print the directory stack.  In tcsh, one can additionally issue
> the command pushd -v, which is like the bash commands pushd followed
> by dirs -v.  This feature appears not to be available in bash.
>   tcsh> pushd -v /tmp
>   0       /tmp
>   1       /

Does this do the trick?

pushd ()
    local verbose=0;
    if [ "$1" = "-v" ]; then
    builtin pushd "$@";
    if [ $verbose -eq 1 ]; then
        for w in $@;
            echo "$w    ${DIRSTACK[$w]}";

Barely tested (and with bash 3.0 at that), but it seems to do
what you want.  popd would be very similar, of course.

Here's a first cut.  Salt to taste (yes, you should use getopts):

        local es
        case "$1" in
        -v)     vflag=y; shift ;;

        builtin pushd "$@"
        [ -n "$vflag" ] && dirs -v
        return $es


Backtracking with bash

I was working with linux quite a bit today, and frequently changing between directories, when I wondered if there was a way to go back to the directory I was in previously.

Turns out there is a way:

 cd ~-
So if I was doing something like this:
[pete@bigred /]$ cd /etc
[pete@bigred etc]$ cd /usr/local
[pete@bigred local]$ cd ~-
[pete@bigred etc]$ pwd
If you want to create a command so you don't have to type ~- you can create an alias:
alias cdb='cd ~-'
This ~- thing works great if you only need to go back one directory, but what if you wanted to go back two directories. Continuing the last code sample:
[pete@bigred etc]$ cd ~-
[pete@bigred local]$ cd ~-
[pete@bigred etc]$ pwd
We are back to /etc and not / our starting point. What I want is something that keeps a history of the directories I've been to.

It turns out that the Bash (the "Bourne again shell") has a directory stack builtin. Three command line tools for manipulating the stack are avaliable dirs, pushd, and popd. More info about the directory stack in bash here.

If we pushd a directory onto the directory stack, we can retreive the top of the stack using dirs +1. I tried setting up some aliases to get it to work the way I wanted:

alias cdd='pushd'
alias cdb='cd `dirs +1`'
Those worked a bit, but I ran into a lot of problems, especially when in the home directory. Also when you run pushd, popd, or dirs it always prints the contents of the stack, I don't know how to suppress that. So I figured I would post it here, and see if anyone can come up with a solution, or if anyone knows of a better way of going about this.

Isn't it funny how software developers will spend hours of time trying to save a few seconds of their future time.


On 01/23/2004 at 1:19:30 AM MST John wrote:

cd - works. I don't think you need cd ~-.

On 04/24/2004 at 4:50:56 AM MDT Pritam wrote:

You can suppress the output redirecting the output to /dev/null e.g.

pushd <dir-name> >> /dev/null popd >> /dev/null

On 07/11/2007 at 2:13:43 PM MDT Freddy wrote:

You can use small script from which defines 1-7 dots commands:

$/usr/local/share> ... sh[Tab]


More bashing

Just add the following to your ~/.bashrc or if you want to make this work system wide add this to /etc/bashrc:
#redefine pushd and popd so they don't output the directory stack
    builtin pushd "$@" > /dev/null
    builtin popd "$@" > /dev/null

#alias cd so it uses the directory stack
alias cd='pushd'
#aliad cdb as a command that goes one directory back in the stack
alias cdb'popd'

The redefinition of pushd and popd redirects their output to /dev/null instead of your terminal. This prevents them from displaying the entire stack every time they are called

Re:pushd and popd (and other tricks) (Score:1)

by camh (32881) on Wednesday March 10, @06:25PM (#8526528)

alias pd pushd

alias po popd

Similar to what I have, except I use pp instead of pd (because its faster to type) and pp without args takes you to your home directory (like cd without args). To go along with it, I use

alias r "pushd +1"

alias rr "cd "$OLDPWD"

If you're working within a number of directories, use pp to get to them and then use r to rotate between the directories. rr is convenient to quickly cd somewhere else to do something and then get back again.

pushd and popd (and other tricks) (Score:5, Informative)

by Komi (89040) <> on Wednesday March 10, @02:41PM (#8524004)
( I've read throught the tcsh man pages and stole from other people and probably the least-known most useful trick I've found is pushd and popd (which I realias to pd and po), and of course directory stack substitution. Here's a snippet of code that's really useful:

alias pd pushd
alias po popd

cd /incredi/bly/long/path/name
pd /some/other/incredi/bly/long/path/name
cp *.mp3 =1 # =1 is the first entry on the dirstack
po # returns you back to first place

The other major time saver I use are sed and awk. I used each for a specific purpose. Sed works great for substitution, and awk I use to grab columns of data. Here's a sample of how I'd use both together. This will list the home directories of the users on a machine. It's simple, but there's a ton you can do with this technique.

who | awk '{print $1}' | sort | uniq | sed 's@^@/home/@g'

Here's other stuff I have grouped by sections in my .cshrc

First, I have my shell variables. The comments say what they do. The most important one is autolist.

set autolist # automatically lists possibilities after ambiguous completion
set dunique # removes duplicate entries in the dirstack
set fignore=(\~) # files ending in ~ will be ignored by completion
set histdup=prev # do not allow consecutive duplicate history entries
set noclobber # output redirection will not overwrite an existing file
set notify # notifies when a job completes
set symlinks=ignore # treats symbolic directories like real directories
set time=5 # processes that run longer than $time seconds will be timed.

Second, bindkeys are pretty neat. I rebind the up and down arrow keys. By default they scroll up and down one at a time through the history. You can bind them to search the history based on what you've typed so far.

bindkey -k up history-search-backward # up arrow key
bindkey -k down history-search-forward # down arrow key

Third, completes allow for customizing tab completion. When I change directories, tab only completes directory names. This also works for aliases, sets, setenvs, etc.

complete cd 'p/1/d/'
complete alias 'p/1/a/'
complete setenv 'p/1/e/'
complete set 'p/1/s/'

Fourth, I have all my aliases. I had to cut a bunch because of the lameness filter.

alias cwdcmd 'ls'
alias precmd 'echo -n "\033]0;$USER@`hostname` : $PWD\007"'
alias pd 'pushd'
alias po 'popd'
alias dirs 'dirs -v'
alias path 'printf "${PATH:as/:/\n/}\n"'
alias ff 'find . -name '\''\!:1'\'' rint \!:2*'
alias aw 'awk '\''{print $'\!:1'}'\'''
alias sub 'sed "s@"\!:1"@"\!:2"@g"'

Re:pushd and popd (and other tricks) (Score:1)

by MasterLock (581630) on Wednesday March 10, @03:23PM (#8524465)

Two of my most handy aliases (tcsh and 4DOS/4NT) are:

alias mcd 'md \!*; cd \!*'

alias rcd 'setenv OLD_DIR `pwd`;cd ..;echo $OLD_DIR;rd "$OLD_DIR"; unsetenv OLD_DIR' Usage: ~/> mcd junkDir ~/junk> -- do commands, unzip files, et cetera -- ~/junk> rcd ~/> -- back where you were and the dir is gone --

Re:pushd and popd (and other tricks) (Score:1, Informative)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, @03:25PM (#8524497)

alias pd pushd
alias po popd

cd /incredi/bly/long/path/name
pd /some/other/incredi/bly/long/path/name
cp *.mp3 =1 # =1 is the first entry on the dirstack
po # returns you back to first place

cd /some/directory/
cd /another/directory/
cp *.mp3 ~-
cd ~-

Re:pushd and popd (and other tricks) (Score:2, Informative)

by MasterLock (581630) on Wednesday March 10, @03:33PM (#8524577)

f my most handy aliases (tcsh and 4DOS/4NT) are:

alias mcd 'md \!*; cd \!*'

alias rcd 'setenv OLD_DIR `pwd`; cd ..; echo $OLD_DIR;rd "$OLD_DIR"; unsetenv OLD_DIR'

~/> mcd junkDir
~/junk> -- do commands, unzip files, et cetera --
~/junk> rcd
~/> -- back where you were and the dir is gone --

Microsoft Windows XP - Popd


Changes the current directory to the directory stored by the pushd command.




/? : Displays help at the command prompt.



You can use pushd and popd in a batch program to change the current directory from the one in which the batch program was run and then change it back. The following sample batch program shows how to do this:

@echo off
rem This batch file deletes all .txt files in a specified directory
pushd %1
del *.txt
echo All text files deleted in the %1 directory

An Introduction to the Z Shell - Directory Stacks

If you use csh, you may know about directory stacks. The pushd command puts the current directory on the stack, and changes to a new directory; the popd command pops a directory off the stack and changes to it.

phoenix% cd 
phoenix% PROMPT='Z %~> '
Z ~> pushd /tmp
/tmp ~
Z /tmp> pushd /usr/etc
/usr/etc /tmp ~
Z /usr/etc> pushd /usr/bin
/usr/bin /usr/etc /tmp ~
Z /usr/bin> popd
/usr/etc /tmp ~
Z /usr/etc> popd
/tmp ~
Z /tmp> pushd /etc
/etc /tmp ~
Z /etc> popd 
/tmp ~

zsh's directory stack commands work similarly. One difference is the way pushd is handled if no arguments are given. As in csh, this exchanges the top two elements of the directory stack:

Z /tmp> dirs
/tmp ~
Z /tmp> pushd
~ /tmp

unless the stack only has one entry:

Z ~> popd
Z /tmp> dirs
Z /tmp> pushd
~ /tmp

or unless the PUSHDTOHOME option is set:

Z ~> setopt pushdtohome
Z ~> pushd
~ ~ /tmp

As an alternative to using directory stacks in this manner, we can get something like a directory history by setting a few more options and parameters:

~> setopt autopushd pushdminus pushdsilent pushdtohome
~> alias dh='dirs -v'
~> cd /tmp
/tmp> cd /usr
/usr> cd bin
/usr/bin> cd ../pub
/usr/pub> dh
0       /usr/pub
1       /usr/bin
2       /usr
3       /tmp
4       ~
/usr/pub> cd -3
/tmp> dh
0       /tmp
1       /usr/pub
2       /usr/bin
3       /usr
4       ~
/tmp> ls =2/df
/tmp> cd -4

Note that =2 expanded to the second directory in the history list, and that cd -3 recalled the third directory in the list.

You may be wondering what all those options do. AUTOPUSHD made cd act like pushd. (alias cd=pushd is not sufficient, for various reasons.) PUSHDMINUS swapped the meaning of cd +1 and cd -1 we want them to mean the opposite of what they mean in csh, because it makes more sense in this scheme, and it's easier to type:

~> dh
0       ~
1       /tmp
2       /usr/pub
3       /usr/bin
4       /usr
~> unsetopt pushdminus
~> cd +1
/tmp> dh
0       /tmp
1       ~
2       /usr/pub
3       /usr/bin
4       /usr
/tmp> cd +2

PUSHDSILENT keeps the shell from printing the directory stack each time we do a cd, and PUSHDTOHOME we mentioned earlier:

/usr/pub> unsetopt pushdsilent
/usr/pub> cd /etc
/etc /usr/pub /tmp ~ /usr/bin /usr
/etc> cd
~ /etc /usr/pub /tmp ~ /usr/bin /usr
~> unsetopt pushdtohome
~> cd
/etc ~ /usr/pub /tmp ~ /usr/bin /usr

DIRSTACKSIZE keeps the directory stack from getting too large, much like HISTSIZE:

/etc> setopt pushdsilent
/etc> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> cd /
/> dh
0       /
1       /
2       /
3       /
4       /
5       /
6       /
7       /
Zsh offers a nice way to reference the directory stack quickly in your daily work. The description below is taken directly from the man page:
     A `~' followed by a number is replaced by the  directory  at
     that position in the directory stack.  ~0 is equivalent to
     ~+, and ~1 is the top of the stack.  ~+ followed by  a
     number  is replaced by the directory at that position in the
     directory stack.  ~+0 is equivalent to ~+, and ~+1  is
     the top of the stack.  ~- followed by a number is replaced
     by the directory that many positions from the bottom of  the
     stack.   ~-0  is the bottom of the stack.  The PUSHD_MINUS
     option exchanges the effects of ~+ and ~- where they are
     followed by a number.

dirs in Your Prompt: Better than $cwd

The C shell gives the absolute pathname of your current directory in $cwd (14.13). Many people use that in their prompts. If you use the pushd and popd (14.6) commands, you may not always remember exactly what's in your directory stack (I don't, at least). Also, do you want to shorten your home directory pathname to just a tilde (~) so it takes less room in the prompt? Here's how: run the dirs command and use its output in your prompt. A simple alias for cd users looks like this:

alias cd 'chdir \!* && set prompt="`dirs`% "'

and the prompts look like:

/work/project % cd
~ % cd bin
~/bin %

Here's what to put in .cshrc to make a multiline prompt (7.5) that shows the directory stack:

uname -n 
# PUT IN $hostname AND hostname IN $HOST:
set hostname=`uname -n`
setenv HOST `expr $hostname : '\([^.]*\).*'`

alias setprompt 'set prompt="\\
${USER}@${HOST} `dirs`\\
\! % "'
alias cd  'chdir \!* && setprompt'
alias pushd  'pushd \!* && setprompt'
alias popd  'popd  \!* && setprompt'

Because bash can run a command each time it sets its prompt, and because it has built-in prompt operators (7.4), the bash version of all the stuff above fits on one line:

PS1='\n\u@\h $(dirs)\n\! \$ '

That makes a blank line before each prompt; if you don't want that, join the first and second lines of the setprompt alias or remove the first \n. Let's push a couple of directories and watch the prompt:

jerry@ora ~
1 % pushd /work/src/perl
/work/src/perl ~

jerry@ora /work/src/perl ~
2 % cd ../cnews

jerry@ora /work/src/cnews ~
3 % pushd ~/bin
~/bin /work/src/cnews ~

jerry@ora ~/bin /work/src/cnews ~
4 %


Of course, the prompt looks a little redundant there because each pushd command also shows the dirs output. A few commands later, though, having your directory stack in the prompt will be handy. If your directory stack has a lot of entries, the first line of the prompt can get wider than the screen. In that case, store the dirs output in a shell array (47.5) and edit it with a command like sed or with the built-in csh string editing (9.6).

For example, to show just the tail of each path in the dirs output, use the alias below; the C shell operator :gt globally edits all words, to the tail of each pathname:

alias setprompt 'set dirs=(`dirs`); set prompt="\\
${USER}@${HOST} $dirs:gt\\
\! % "'

Watch the prompt. If you forget what the names in the prompt mean, just type dirs:

History of visited directories in BASH LG #109 By Petar Marinov

Deficiencies of the CD command

Do you realize how many times you type cd per day? Do you realize how many times you retype the same directory names again and again? Ever since I migrated from 4DOS/NT shell on Windows to using Bash on Unix platforms, I've missed its cd history access. In 4DOS/NT the history of the visited directories can be navigated by Ctrl+PgUp/Dn. Every time you go to a new directory by cd, its name automatically goes on top of an easily accessible history list.

In Bash, cd - switches between the last two directories. This is a function in the right direction but many times I wanted to go to the directory before the last, I dreamed of something like cd -2.

A little scripting creates some sanity in the directory navigation of Bash.

Installing the CD history function

To install the modified CD function, copy to any directory in your $PATH, or even your home directory. At the end of your .bashrc add source Restart your bash session and then type cd --.

lotzmana@safe$ cd --
0  ~

Type cd -- to verify if the installation works. Above you may see the result 0 ~. This shows that you have one directory in your history.

lotzmana@safe$ cd work
lotzmana@safe$ cd scripts
lotzmana@safe$ pwd
lotzmana@safe$ cd --
 0  ~/work/scripts
 1  ~/work
 2  ~
lotzmana@safe$ cd -2
lotzmana@safe$ pwd

The cd command works as usual. The new feature is the history of the last 10 directories and the cd command expanded to display and access it. cd -- (or simply pressing ctrl+w) shows the history. In front of every directory name you see a number. cd -num with the number you want jumps to the corresponding directory from the history.

How CD with history works

lotzmana@safe$ nl -w2 -s' '
 1 # do "."
 2 # acd_func 1.0.5, 10-nov-2004
 3 # petar marinov, http:/, this is public domain

 4 cd_func ()
 5 {
 6   local x2 the_new_dir adir index
 7   local -i cnt

 8   if [[ $1 ==  "--" ]]; then
 9     dirs -v
10     return 0
11   fi

12   the_new_dir=$1
13   [[ -z $1 ]] && the_new_dir=$HOME

14   if [[ ${the_new_dir:0:1} == '-' ]]; then
15     #
16     # Extract dir N from dirs
17     index=${the_new_dir:1}
18     [[ -z $index ]] && index=1
19     adir=$(dirs +$index)
20     [[ -z $adir ]] && return 1
21     the_new_dir=$adir
22   fi

23   #
24   # '~' has to be substituted by ${HOME}
25   [[ ${the_new_dir:0:1} == '~' ]] && the_new_dir="${HOME}${the_new_dir:1}"

26   #
27   # Now change to the new dir and add to the top of the stack
28   pushd "${the_new_dir}" > /dev/null
29   [[ $? -ne 0 ]] && return 1
30   the_new_dir=$(pwd)

31   #
32   # Trim down everything beyond 11th entry
33   popd -n +11 2>/dev/null 1>/dev/null

34   #
35   # Remove any other occurence of this dir, skipping the top of the stack
36   for ((cnt=1; cnt <= 10; cnt++)); do
37     x2=$(dirs +${cnt} 2>/dev/null)
38     [[ $? -ne 0 ]] && return 0
39     [[ ${x2:0:1} == '~' ]] && x2="${HOME}${x2:1}"
40     if [[ "${x2}" == "${the_new_dir}" ]]; then
41       popd -n +$cnt 2>/dev/null 1>/dev/null
42       cnt=cnt-1
43     fi
44   done

45   return 0
46 }

47 alias cd=cd_func

48 if [[ $BASH_VERSION > "2.05a" ]]; then
49   # ctrl+w shows the menu
50   bind -x "\"\C-w\":cd_func -- ;"
51 fi

4-7: cd_func() is a function, variables are declared local and are automatically deleted at the end of the function

8-11: if the function is called with a parameter "--" then it dumps the current content of the directory history. It is stored in the same place pushd/popd keep names -- the directory stack. Storage is the same, access is different.

12-13: Argument $1 is transferred into $the_new_dir for some postrocessing. Immediately after that, if there are no parameters we assume that user asked for his home directory.

14-22: If parameter begins with '-' then the user is attempting to access one of the names in the history list. $index gets the number of the directory, then we extract the corresponding name into $adir. For example, dirs +3 dumps directory #3 from the stack.

At this point in $the_new_dir we have either a name specified explicitly as a parameter or a name obtained from the history of previously visited directories.

23-25: If a directory name begins with '~' then this character has to be replaced by the actual home directory name.

26-30: pushd does the actual 'cd'. It also puts the name on top of the directory stack. stdout is redirected to /dev/null in order to completely imitate how 'cd' works. Notice that any output to stderr, for example a message telling that the directory specified by the user doesn't exist will show up, which is again similar to what 'cd' does. The function aborts if pushd fails. We also need the new directory name for further analysis and $the_new_dir carries it down the function.

31-33: Keeping track of more than 10 directories is unproductive. Since we have just pushed one on top of the stack, we trim off any that fall below 11 names deep.

34-44: We loop through all the names in the directory stack. Any name that matches the new current directory is eliminated. Again, we have to translate any name from the list which begins with '~' to its format of fully expanded home directory.

47: We assign cd to be cd_func().

48-51: If the bash version allows for macros to be assigned we make ctrl+w summon the history of visited directories.

This script defines a function. It must be sourced and not executed, so that cd_func() is parsed and stored in the current environment. Try env and you must see it after all environment variables.

Documentation page of the script

Visit the man page.

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Please visit Heiner Steven SHELLdorado the best shell scripting site on the Internet



dirs [+N | -N] [-clpv]
Display the list of currently remembered directories. Directories are added to the list with the pushd command; the popd command removes directories from the list.
Displays the Nth directory (counting from the left of the list printed by dirs when invoked without options), starting with zero.
Displays the Nth directory (counting from the right of the list printed by dirs when invoked without options), starting with zero.
Clears the directory stack by deleting all of the elements.
Produces a longer listing; the default listing format uses a tilde to denote the home directory.
Causes dirs to print the directory stack with one entry per line.
Causes dirs to print the directory stack with one entry per line, prefixing each entry with its index in the stack.


popd [+N | -N] [-n]

Remove the top entry from the directory stack, and cd to the new top directory. When no arguments are given, popd removes the top directory from the stack and performs a cd to the new top directory. The elements are numbered from 0 starting at the first directory listed with dirs i.e., popd is equivalent to popd +0.

Removes the Nth directory (counting from the left of the list printed by dirs), starting with zero.
Removes the Nth directory (counting from the right of the list printed by dirs), starting with zero.
Suppresses the normal change of directory when removing directories from the stack, so that only the stack is manipulated.


pushd [dir | +N | -N] [-n]

Save the current directory on the top of the directory stack and then cd to dir. With no arguments, pushd exchanges the top two directories.

Brings the Nth directory (counting from the left of the list printed by dirs, starting with zero) to the top of the list by rotating the stack.
Brings the Nth directory (counting from the right of the list printed by dirs, starting with zero) to the top of the list by rotating the stack.
Suppresses the normal change of directory when adding directories to the stack, so that only the stack is manipulated.
Makes the current working directory be the top of the stack, and then executes the equivalent of `cd dir'. cds to dir.


An array variable (see section Arrays) containing the current contents of the directory stack. Directories appear in the stack in the order they are displayed by the dirs built-in. Assigning to members of this array variable may be used to modify directories already in the stack, but the pushd and popd builtins must be used to add and remove directories. Assignment to this variable will not change the current directory. If DIRSTACK is unset, it loses its special properties, even if it is subsequently reset.



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