How can I get the source directory of a Bash script from within the script itself? [Answered]

Query:

How do I get the path of the directory in which a Bash script is located, inside that script?

I want to use a Bash script as a launcher for another application. I want to change the working directory to the one where the Bash script is located, so I can operate on the files in that directory, like so:

$ ./application

How can I get the source directory of a Bash script from within the script itself? Answer #1:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

SCRIPT_DIR="$( cd -- "$( dirname -- "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" &> /dev/null && pwd )"

is a useful one-liner which will give you the full directory name of the script no matter where it is being called from.

It will work as long as the last component of the path used to find the script is not a symlink (directory links are OK). If you also want to resolve any links to the script itself, you need a multi-line solution:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

SOURCE="${BASH_SOURCE[0]}"
while [ -h "$SOURCE" ]; do # resolve $SOURCE until the file is no longer a symlink
  DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" >/dev/null 2>&1 && pwd )"
  SOURCE="$(readlink "$SOURCE")"
  [[ $SOURCE != /* ]] && SOURCE="$DIR/$SOURCE" # if $SOURCE was a relative symlink, we need to resolve it relative to the path where the symlink file was located
done
DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" >/dev/null 2>&1 && pwd )"

This last one will work with any combination of aliases, sourcebash -c, symlinks, etc.

Beware: if you cd to a different directory before running this snippet, the result may be incorrect!

Also, watch out for $CDPATH gotchas, and stderr output side effects if the user has smartly overridden cd to redirect output to stderr instead (including escape sequences, such as when calling update_terminal_cwd >&2 on Mac). Adding >/dev/null 2>&1 at the end of your cd command will take care of both possibilities.

To understand how it works, try running this more verbose form:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

SOURCE="${BASH_SOURCE[0]}"
while [ -h "$SOURCE" ]; do # resolve $SOURCE until the file is no longer a symlink
  TARGET="$(readlink "$SOURCE")"
  if [[ $TARGET == /* ]]; then
    echo "SOURCE '$SOURCE' is an absolute symlink to '$TARGET'"
    SOURCE="$TARGET"
  else
    DIR="$( dirname "$SOURCE" )"
    echo "SOURCE '$SOURCE' is a relative symlink to '$TARGET' (relative to '$DIR')"
    SOURCE="$DIR/$TARGET" # if $SOURCE was a relative symlink, we need to resolve it relative to the path where the symlink file was located
  fi
done
echo "SOURCE is '$SOURCE'"
RDIR="$( dirname "$SOURCE" )"
DIR="$( cd -P "$( dirname "$SOURCE" )" >/dev/null 2>&1 && pwd )"
if [ "$DIR" != "$RDIR" ]; then
  echo "DIR '$RDIR' resolves to '$DIR'"
fi
echo "DIR is '$DIR'"

And it will print something like:

SOURCE './scriptdir.sh' is a relative symlink to 'sym2/scriptdir.sh' (relative to '.')
SOURCE is './sym2/scriptdir.sh'
DIR './sym2' resolves to '/home/ubuntu/dotfiles/fo fo/real/real1/real2'
DIR is '/home/ubuntu/dotfiles/fo fo/real/real1/real2'

Answer #2:

Use dirname "$0":

#!/bin/bash
echo "The script you are running has basename `basename "$0"`, dirname `dirname "$0"`"
echo "The present working directory is `pwd`"

Using pwd alone will not work if you are not running the script from the directory it is contained in.

[[email protected] ~]$ pwd
/home/matt
[[email protected] ~]$ ./test2.sh
The script you are running has basename test2.sh, dirname .
The present working directory is /home/matt
[[email protected] ~]$ cd /tmp
[[email protected] tmp]$ ~/test2.sh
The script you are running has basename test2.sh, dirname /home/matt
The present working directory is /tmp

Answer #3:

The dirname command is the most basic, simply parsing the path up to the filename off of the $0 (script name) variable:

dirname "$0"

But, as matt b pointed out, the path returned is different depending on how the script is called. pwd doesn’t do the job because that only tells you what the current directory is, not what directory the script resides in. Additionally, if a symbolic link to a script is executed, you’re going to get a (probably relative) path to where the link resides, not the actual script.

Some others have mentioned the readlink command, but at its simplest, you can use:

dirname "$(readlink -f "$0")"

readlink will resolve the script path to an absolute path from the root of the filesystem. So, any paths containing single or double dots, tildes and/or symbolic links will be resolved to a full path.

Here’s a script demonstrating each of these, whatdir.sh:

#!/bin/bash
echo "pwd: `pwd`"
echo "\$0: $0"
echo "basename: `basename $0`"
echo "dirname: `dirname $0`"
echo "dirname/readlink: $(dirname $(readlink -f $0))"

Running this script in my home dir, using a relative path:

>>>$ ./whatdir.sh
pwd: /Users/phatblat
$0: ./whatdir.sh
basename: whatdir.sh
dirname: .
dirname/readlink: /Users/phatblat

Again, but using the full path to the script:

>>>$ /Users/phatblat/whatdir.sh
pwd: /Users/phatblat
$0: /Users/phatblat/whatdir.sh
basename: whatdir.sh
dirname: /Users/phatblat
dirname/readlink: /Users/phatblat

Now changing directories:

>>>$ cd /tmp
>>>$ ~/whatdir.sh
pwd: /tmp
$0: /Users/phatblat/whatdir.sh
basename: whatdir.sh
dirname: /Users/phatblat
dirname/readlink: /Users/phatblat

And finally using a symbolic link to execute the script:

>>>$ ln -s ~/whatdir.sh whatdirlink.sh
>>>$ ./whatdirlink.sh
pwd: /tmp
$0: ./whatdirlink.sh
basename: whatdirlink.sh
dirname: .
dirname/readlink: /Users/phatblat

Answer #5:

pushd . > /dev/null
SCRIPT_PATH="${BASH_SOURCE[0]}"
if ([ -h "${SCRIPT_PATH}" ]); then
  while([ -h "${SCRIPT_PATH}" ]); do cd `dirname "$SCRIPT_PATH"`;
  SCRIPT_PATH=`readlink "${SCRIPT_PATH}"`; done
fi
cd `dirname ${SCRIPT_PATH}` > /dev/null
SCRIPT_PATH=`pwd`;
popd  > /dev/null

It works for all versions, including

  • when called via multiple depth soft link,
  • when the file it
  • when script called by command “source” aka . (dot) operator.
  • when arg $0 is modified from caller.
  • "./script"
  • "/full/path/to/script"
  • "/some/path/../../another/path/script"
  • "./some/folder/script"

Alternatively, if the Bash script itself is a relative symlink you want to follow it and return the full path of the linked-to script:

pushd . > /dev/null
SCRIPT_PATH="${BASH_SOURCE[0]}";
if ([ -h "${SCRIPT_PATH}" ]) then
  while([ -h "${SCRIPT_PATH}" ]) do cd `dirname "$SCRIPT_PATH"`; SCRIPT_PATH=`readlink "${SCRIPT_PATH}"`; done
fi
cd `dirname ${SCRIPT_PATH}` > /dev/null
SCRIPT_PATH=`pwd`;
popd  > /dev/null

SCRIPT_PATH is given in full path, no matter how it is called.

Just make sure you locate this at start of the script.

Answer #6:

You can use $BASH_SOURCE:

#!/bin/bash

scriptdir=`dirname "$BASH_SOURCE"`

Note that you need to use #!/bin/bash and not #!/bin/sh since it’s a Bash extension.

Answer #7:

pwd can be used to find the current working directory, and dirname to find the directory of a particular file (command that was run, is $0, so dirname $0 should give you the directory of the current script).

However, dirname gives precisely the directory portion of the filename, which more likely than not is going to be relative to the current working directory. If your script needs to change directory for some reason, then the output from dirname becomes meaningless.

I suggest the following:

#!/bin/bash

reldir=`dirname $0`
cd $reldir
directory=`pwd`

echo "Directory is $directory"

This way, you get an absolute, rather than a relative directory.

Since the script will be run in a separate Bash instance, there isn’t any need to restore the working directory afterwards, but if you do want to change back in your script for some reason, you can easily assign the value of pwd to a variable before you change directory, for future use.

Although just

cd `dirname $0`

solves the specific scenario in the question, I find having the absolute path to more more useful generally.

Answer #8:

I don’t think this is as easy as others have made it out to be. pwd doesn’t work, as the current directory is not necessarily the directory with the script. $0 doesn’t always have the information either. Consider the following three ways to invoke a script:

./script

/usr/bin/script

script

In the first and third ways $0 doesn’t have the full path information. In the second and third, pwd does not work. The only way to get the directory in the third way would be to run through the path and find the file with the correct match. Basically the code would have to redo what the OS does.

One way to do what you are asking would be to just hardcode the data in the /usr/share directory, and reference it by its full path. Data shoudn’t be in the /usr/bin directory anyway, so this is probably the thing to do.

Hope you learned something from this post.

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