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I am beginner to the Mac command line interface.

For example I want to go to directory "how are you".

But when I type cd how are you, it is avoided. When I change the name to be without space, howareyou to the directory, it works. Any help?

And also how to create an AppleScript script to go to particular a directory?

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migrated from Nov 2 '09 at 15:06

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Should be on – Tim Büthe Nov 2 '09 at 9:13
@senthilmuthu, after using the same OpenID here at, you can associate your accounts at – Arjan Nov 2 '09 at 17:22
Spaces - the final frontier!… – Chris W. Rea Nov 2 '09 at 19:23
up vote 7 down vote accepted
cd 'how are you'


cd how\ are\ you
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thanks ..tutorial to write applescript pls – senthilmuthu Nov 2 '09 at 9:15
You are welcome. Try: – Alan Haggai Alavi Nov 2 '09 at 9:18
hi i want to go to cd \Desktop\senthilmuthu\SenthilmuthuSoftwares\check this says no directory...any help – senthilmuthu Nov 2 '09 at 12:24
This is not \ but / This is not /Desktop/... but ~/Desktop/... – mouviciel Nov 2 '09 at 13:46
@bert, using %20 is not a standard Unix way. That is "percent-encoding", as used in URLs: – Arjan Nov 2 '09 at 17:20

And to avoid problems, use Tab to automatically complete the name for you. Like if you have three directories in your home folder, ~/:

  • "how are you"
  • "how are we"
  • "how is she"


  • type "cd ~/h", press Tab; this yields "cd ~/how\ " and a beep, telling you there's more
  • optionally: press Tab again, to see the list of matching names
  • next, type "a", press Tab; this yields "cd ~/how\ are\ " and a beep
  • optionally: press Tab again, to see the list of matching names
  • next, type "y", press Tab; this yields "cd ~/how\ are\ you/"

(Funny: the rendering of the backtick is slightly different in text and in lists. Favouring lists then...)

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If you simply want an AppleScript to change it's current working directory, it isn't possible for the entire script as do shell script "uses a new shell process, so state such as changes to variables and the working directory is not saved from one to the next." (Source)

do shell script 'cd /PATH/TO/DIRECTORY/; more commands here'

If you want to use AppleScript to open up and change to the directory in Terminal:

tell application "Terminal"
    do script "cd /PATH/TO/DIRECTORY"
end tell
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I doubt the first really changes the working directory of the AppleScript? osascript -e 'do shell script "cd ~/Desktop/"' -e 'do shell script "pwd"' (That second example works fine though; osascript -e 'tell application "Terminal"' -e 'activate' -e 'do script "cd /PATH/TO/DIRECTORY"' -e 'end tell') – Arjan Nov 2 '09 at 17:09
@Arjan van Bentem - I've added some clarification and a correction. Thanks! – Chealion Nov 2 '09 at 17:56

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