Using mv command in Linux

In Linux or Unix, the mv command is used for multiple functions. You can use the mv command to move files or directories from one place to another or it can be used to rename a file or directory.

Today in this article we will explain how to use the mv command with some examples.

Syntax of mv command

How to use mv command, the syntax is given below –

mv [options] Source Destination

It means moving or renaming a file or directory from source to destination.

You can see a list of options on the manual page of this command. Now use the following command to see the options –

man mv

How to rename a file

Suppose we have a file i.e. file1.txt and you want to rename it to testfile.txt. Use the following command to rename it –

mv file1.txt testfile.txt

If testfile.txt already exists then this command will overwrite its content otherwise a new file with the name testfile.txt will be created and the source file will be deleted.

How to rename a directory in Linux

If you want to rename a directory then use the command as it is given below –

mv old_dir new_dir

Suppose we have a directory with the name dir1 and you want to rename it to new_dir then use –

mv dir1 new_dir

How to move a file to a directory

Use the following command to move the file testfile.txt to the directory dir

mv testfile.txt dir

Once this command gets executed testfile.txt will be moved to dir you can verify this by using the given command-

ls dir

How to move multiple files to a directory

Let’s say you have multiple files file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt and you want to move them into a directory dir then use the following command in your terminal –

mv file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt dir

How to move a directory to another directory

If you want to move a directory dir1 to dir then use the following command in the terminal –

mv dir1 dir

Using option -i with the mv command

By default, the mv command overwrites the destination file or directory without prompting you. If you want to display a confirmation message before it overwrites then you should use the -i option with the mv command.

For example –

mv -i file1.txt testfile.txt


To see more options that you can use with the mv command see its manual page. If you have a query then write us in the comments below.

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