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If having a directory name as "my dir". I can get to the directory use this,

~: cd my\ dir


~: cd "dy dir" 

But I found if I do this:

~: export my_dir=my\ dir


~: export my_dir="my dir"


~: cd $my_dir

it does not work, cd always get its parameter as "my " and report error.

Anyone aware how to fix this?


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migrated from Jan 21 '11 at 14:05

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Note that it is unlikely that you need to export that variable. – Dennis Williamson Jan 21 '11 at 18:01
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The shell will split variables up on whitespace when used outside of quotation marks. Do cd "$my_dir" instead.

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that does work. Thanks! – user59285 Jan 21 '11 at 14:35
I tried the following: export my_dir="\"my dir\"" ... notice the double-doublequotmark escaping... now echo $my_dir echoes "my dir"... but still cd $my_dir returns -bash: cd: "my: No such file or directory ... I don't get it – Abdull Feb 4 '13 at 13:54


cd "$my_dir"

works, but then you'll always have to remember that for my_dir you'll need to use "my_dir". An alternative solution is that you can do:

ln -s my\ dir my_dir
export my_dir="my_dir"

And now you should be able to do:

cd $my_dir

So basically create a Symbolic Link to the directory with the space and then export the symlink instead of the actual directory.

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alias cdmydir="cd my\ dir"

You won't be able to use this for any other function, like specifying paths, but it'll work for this immediate use.

I tried export my_dir=my\\\ dir and export my_dir="\"my dir\"", so that the environment variable would be my\ dir and "my dir", respectively. But bash must do different parsing for environment variables compared to the regular command line: I got errors "No such file or directory" errors for my\ and "my.

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Thanks for tip! the alias can work, but i prefer using a variable. I think bdonlan's way is great. – user59285 Jan 21 '11 at 14:47
You can also do alias cdmydir='cd "my dir"'. – Dennis Williamson Jan 21 '11 at 18:03

c () { cd "$1 $2 $3 $4"; }

In whatever bash file you think should be used. Tabbing adds the / escaping the space, so does dragging it from the GUI.

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Why not c () { cd "$@"; }? – Dennis Williamson Jan 21 '11 at 18:00
@Dennis: Because "$@" will expand to multiple words; essentially a no-op in this case. "$*" would be closer to this answer. – grawity Jan 21 '11 at 19:53
@grawity: You are correct. – Dennis Williamson Jan 21 '11 at 19:57

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