Unix Shell: Reference Sheet

Regardless of the operating system of your personal computer you will need to know some basic Unix Shell commands since the HPC are Linux machines. If you do not have any experiencing using Unix Shell we would advise going at least the first 45 minutes (3 parts) of the Software Carpentry Unix Shell lessons.

This page will provide a breakdown of the most important Unix Shell commands you will need to know to utilise the HPCs.

Command Examples of use Description
ls ls Lists the files in your current directory
ls /path/to/directory/ Lists the files in the specified directory
ls -ltra Lists all files, including hidden ones (-a), in long format (-l), in reverse order (-r) of time since edited (t) (meaning that the newest file is at the bottom of the page
pwd pwd Prints the path of your current working directory
cd cd /path/to/directory/ Changes your current directory to the specified directory
touch touch file.txt Created an empty file of specified name
nano nano Opens the nano text editor
nano file.txt Opens the specified file in the nano text editor
head head file.txt Prints the top 10 lines of the specified file
head -n 2 file.txt Prints the top n lines of the specified file (in this case 2)
tail tail file.txt Prints the bottom 10 lines of the specified file
tail -n 2 file.txt Prints the bottom n lines of the specified file (in this case 2)
mv mv file.txt newname.txt rename the file
mv file.txt /path/to/destination/ Move the file to the specified directory
mv -r directory/ /path/to/destination/ Recursively move the directory and all contained files and directories to the specified path
cp cp file.txt /path/to/destination/ Make a copy of the file in the specified directory
cp file.txt /path/to/destination/newname.txt Make a copy of the file in the specified directory with the specified name
cp -r directory/ /path/to/destination/ Recursively copy all files and directories of a directory to the specified location
rm rm file.txt Delete the specified file
rm -r directory/ Recursively delete the files and directories of the specified directory
mkdir mkdir directory Create a directory of the specified name
man man ls Bring up the manual of a command (in this case ls)
Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful