Copying files and directories in Linux is one of the most common tasks. If you are using a graphical desktop environment then you can easily copy files or directories using a file manager.
Now when it comes to copying files or directories using the command line interface it becomes a little bit tricky especially for those who are new to the Linux terminal.
Linux or Unix provides a command called cp which can be used to copy files & directories. So today we will discuss the usage of the cp command with some examples.
Syntax of cp command
How to use the cp command in Linux terminal is given below –
cp [options] source(s) destination
You can see detailed options on the man page of the cp command.
How to copy a file to another file
If you pass source and destination both as files then the cp command will copy the content of the first file to the second one. If the second file doesn’t exist the command will create a new file.
Now use the following command to copy the content of one file to another file –
cp file1.txt testfile.txt
Here the content of
file1.txt will be copied to
How to copy one directory to another directory
If you want to copy the files or directories inside a directory to another directory then you need to use an additional option
-R to recursively copy the files and directories with the cp command.
Now use the following command in your terminal –
cp -R dir testdir
Here the files and directories inside the directory
dir will be copied to
How to copy multiple files to a directory
If you are passing multiple source files and directories then you should have a directory as a destination. Use the option
-r to copy files and directories with the cp command.
For example –
cp -r dir1 file1.txt file2.txt testdir
Once the above command gets executed the directory
file2.txt will be copied to the directory
To know more about the usage of the cp command and the options that can be used with this command see its manual page. Run the following command to see the man page –
You have seen the usage of the cp command in this article. Now if you have a query related to this then write us in the comments below.