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Creating, moving and copying files

It’s now time to start getting creative and looking at how we can create, move, copy and delete files and directories.


To start we will create a blank file using the touch command (this actually updates the modification time on a file, but if a file doesn’t exist creates one first).

touch myfile1

If we now want to make a copy of this file, we just use the cp (copy) command:

cp myfile1 myfile_copy

To rename a file, we just use the mv (move) command:

mv myfile_copy myfile2

And finally to delete a file we just use the rm (remove) command:

rm myfile2


Creating directories is slightly different to files and uses the mkdir (make directory) command:

mkdir junkdir

If we try removing this directory using the rm (remove) command we get an error:

rm: cannot remove `junkdir': Is a directory

So need to use the rmdir (remove directory) command:

rmdir junkdir

Summary of commands

rm Delete (remove) a file
mv Move a file
cp Copy a file
mkdir Create (make) a directory
rmdir Delete (remove) a directory