12 Essential Linux Commands for Newbies

Basic commands for interacting with files

Command codes aren't essential to use a computer, but if you want to improve your efficiency when using Linux, a few common codes will make your life easier and productive. Here are the essential Linux commands that will help you navigate your Linux system.

Display a List of Files With ls

The ls command displays the names of the files and directories in the current working directory. A number of options are available that allow you to specify what details about the files should be shown.

Linux ls command

Change Directory With cd

If you want to change the current working directory, use the cd command. For example, cd correspondence sets the current working directory to correspondence, if it exists.

Linux cd command

Copy a File With cp

The cp command allows you to copy a file and give the copy a new name. It is always a good idea to make a copy of a file before you change it in case you want to go back to the previous version.

Linux cp command

Change a File Name With mv

The mv command allows you to change the name of a file or move it to another directory or both. Files and whole directories can easily be moved even if they have a lot of content since it requires only changing how things are linked to each other.

Linux mv command

Create a New Directory With mkdir

The mkdir command creates a new directory. Directories can be nested and are useful to organize large sets of files.

Linux mkdir command

Other Essential Linux Commands

Here are more helpful; Linux commands:

  • Delete a directory with rmdir.
  • List the content of a file with more.
  • Locate files you are looking for with find.
  • Learn more about a command with man.
  • Change a process' priority with nice.
  • Edit the contents of a file with emacs.
  • Change your password with passwd. After you type passwd at the command prompt, you are asked you for your current password and the new one.
  • End your session with exit. The exit command gets you out of the current shell or session.