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How To Change Directories to Downloads in Ubuntu Home Folder

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In this guide, we will walk you through the process of changing directories to the “Downloads” folder located in the home directory on Ubuntu. This is a fundamental skill that every Ubuntu user should master as it forms the basis of file and directory navigation in Linux.

Understanding the Linux Directory Structure

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s important to understand the Linux directory structure. In Ubuntu, and most Linux distributions, the filesystem is structured as a hierarchical tree. The topmost level of this tree is the root directory, denoted by a forward slash (/).

One of the directories under the root is the home directory. This is where personal files for each user are stored. Each user has their own home directory, named after their username. For example, if your username is “john”, your home directory would be /home/john.

Within the home directory, there are several other directories, one of which is the “Downloads” directory. This is where files downloaded from the internet are typically stored.

Navigating to the Downloads Folder

To navigate to the “Downloads” folder, we will use the cd command, which stands for “change directory”. This command takes one argument: the path of the directory you want to navigate to.

Using the Tilde Shortcut

The tilde (~) is a shortcut for the home directory. So, to navigate to the “Downloads” folder, you would use the following command:

cd ~/Downloads

This command tells the system to change the current directory to the “Downloads” directory located in the home directory.

Using the Absolute Path

You can also use the absolute path to the “Downloads” folder. The absolute path starts from the root directory and includes the full path to the directory. Here’s the command:

cd /home/<username>/Downloads

Replace <username> with your actual username. For example, if your username is “john”, the command would be:

cd /home/john/Downloads

Using Environment Variables

Environment variables can also be used to represent certain paths. The $USER environment variable represents the current username, and the $HOME environment variable represents the path to the current user’s home directory. So, you could use either of the following commands:

cd $HOME/Downloads


cd /home/$USER/Downloads

Using Relative Pathnames

If you’re already in the home directory, you can use a relative pathname to navigate to the “Downloads” folder. A relative pathname is a path that is relative to the current directory. In this case, you can simply type:

cd Downloads

Creating an Alias

To simplify the process, you can create an alias in the .bash_aliases file located in your home directory. An alias is a shortcut that you can use to represent a command.

For example, you could add the following line to the .bash_aliases file:

alias dwn='cd ~/Downloads'

After saving the file and restarting your terminal, you can use the dwn command to directly navigate to the “Downloads” folder.


In this guide, we’ve covered several ways to navigate to the “Downloads” folder in the Ubuntu home directory. We’ve also discussed the structure of the Linux filesystem and how to create an alias for a command. With these skills, you’ll be able to navigate the Linux filesystem with ease.

Remember, Linux is case sensitive, so always ensure you use the correct capitalization when typing commands. For more information about the Linux command line, check out the Ubuntu terminal manual.

How do I access the home directory in Ubuntu?

To access the home directory in Ubuntu, you can simply open the file manager and click on the "Home" icon in the sidebar. Alternatively, you can also use the cd command followed by a tilde (~) in the terminal to navigate to the home directory.

Can I change the name of the “Downloads” folder in Ubuntu?

Yes, you can change the name of the "Downloads" folder in Ubuntu. To do this, open the file manager and navigate to the home directory. Right-click on the "Downloads" folder and select "Rename". Enter the new name for the folder and press Enter. Keep in mind that changing the name of system folders may affect certain applications or scripts that rely on the default folder names.

How can I view hidden files and folders in Ubuntu?

To view hidden files and folders in Ubuntu, you can press Ctrl + H in the file manager. This will toggle the visibility of hidden files and folders. Alternatively, you can use the ls -a command in the terminal to list all files and folders, including hidden ones. Hidden files and folders in Linux start with a dot (e.g., .hiddenfile).

How can I create a new directory in the “Downloads” folder?

To create a new directory in the "Downloads" folder, you can open the file manager and navigate to the "Downloads" folder. Right-click on an empty space within the folder and select "New Folder" or "Create New Folder". Give the folder a name and press Enter. The new folder will be created inside the "Downloads" folder.

How can I move files from one directory to the “Downloads” folder?

To move files from one directory to the "Downloads" folder, you can open the file manager and navigate to the directory where the files are located. Select the files you want to move, right-click on them, and select "Cut" or "Copy". Then, navigate to the "Downloads" folder, right-click on an empty space, and select "Paste". The files will be moved or copied to the "Downloads" folder, depending on the option you chose.

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