In this article, we will discuss how to copy or move a file to the desktop using command line. This is a handy skill to have, especially if you’re working on a Linux or Unix-based system where the command line is a powerful tool. These commands are also applicable to the macOS terminal.
To copy a file to the desktop using the command line, use the
cp command followed by the file name and the destination path, which in this case would be
~/Desktop. To move a file to the desktop, use the
mv command followed by the file name and the destination path.
Before we begin, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the command line interface and how to navigate through it. If you’re new to this, you might find this guide helpful.
Opening the Terminal
The first step is to open the terminal. On most Linux distributions, you can do this by pressing
Ctrl + Alt + T. On macOS, you can find the Terminal application in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder.
Navigating to the File Location
Once the terminal is open, navigate to the folder where the file you want to copy or move is located. You can do this using the
cd command, which stands for “change directory”. For example, if your file is in the Documents folder, you would type:
Copying a File to the Desktop
To copy a file to the desktop, we will use the
cp command, which stands for “copy”. The general syntax for the
cp command is
cp source destination. Here,
source is the file you want to copy, and
destination is where you want to copy the file to.
For example, if you want to copy a file named “file1” to the desktop, you would type:
cp file1 ~/Desktop
file1 is the source (the file you want to copy), and
~/Desktop is the destination (where you want to copy the file to). The
~ symbol represents your home directory, so
~/Desktop is the path to your desktop.
Moving a File to the Desktop
To move a file to the desktop, we will use the
mv command, which stands for “move”. The syntax for the
mv command is similar to the
mv source destination.
For example, to move “file1” to the desktop, you would type:
mv file1 ~/Desktop
file1 is the source, and
~/Desktop is the destination.
If you encounter any issues while executing these commands, here are a few things to check:
- File and directory names: Linux is case-sensitive, so “file1” and “File1” would be considered different files. Make sure you’re using the correct capitalization.
- Current directory: You can use the
pwdcommand (which stands for “print working directory”) to check your current directory. Make sure you’re in the correct directory before executing the
- Desktop directory name: If your system language is not English, your desktop directory might have a different name. You can use the
xdg-user-dir DESKTOPcommand to find out the correct name.
The command line is a powerful tool that can make tasks like copying or moving files more efficient. By understanding the
mv commands, you can easily manage your files directly from the command line. For more detailed information on these commands, you can refer to their manual pages by typing
man cp or
man mv in the terminal.
On most Linux distributions, you can open the terminal by pressing
Ctrl + Alt + T.
The Terminal application can be found in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder on macOS.
cd command stands for "change directory" and is used to navigate through the file system. It allows you to move to a different directory or folder.
You can use the
cd command followed by the path to the folder. For example,
cd Documents will navigate to the Documents folder.
You can use the
cp command followed by the source file and the destination path. For example,
cp file1 ~/Desktop will copy "file1" to the desktop.
You can use the
mv command followed by the source file and the destination path. For example,
mv file1 ~/Desktop will move "file1" to the desktop.
If you encounter issues, you can check the file and directory names for correct capitalization, ensure you are in the correct current directory using the
pwd command, and use the
xdg-user-dir DESKTOP command to find the correct name of the desktop directory.
You can refer to the manual pages of the
mv commands by typing
man cp or
man mv in the terminal for more detailed information.