The Filesystem

At the end of the Introduction To the Command Line lesson, you read that you were going to learn about the filesystem, how to inspect the filesystem, and learn some more navigation shortcuts. In this mission, you’ll learn to navigate the file system without a GUI, moving between directories and selecting files with only text input, as computer users did before GUI operating systems were invented.

In this lesson, you’ll discover how to navigate the filesystem using the ls and cp commands. You will also learn additional commands that will help you inspect the directories thoroughly so that when you’re searching for a file, you can leave no stone unturned!

If you’re familiar with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), you might have heard about absolute and relative paths at some point in your learning. Those concepts are also relevant to users of the command line, and you’ll get an introduction to both types of file paths and how they’re used in the command line context as you work through this lesson.

Navigating the filesystem can be tough and confusing at times. Towards the end of the lesson, you will learn several shortcuts for navigating the filesystem to make your work quicker and increase your efficiency when working with the command line.


  • How to inspect directories.
  • How to navigate the filesystem.
  • Some filesystem navigation shortcuts.

Lesson Outline

  1. The Filesystem
  2. Working Directory
  3. Inspecting Directories
  4. Inspecting Directories Thoroughly
  5. Navigating the Filesystem
  6. Absolute and Relative Paths
  7. Shortcuts for Filesystem Navigation
  8. Next Steps
  9. Takeaways

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