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How to check if a directory exists in a Bash shell script?

Posted by: admin February 21, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

What command can be used to check if a directory exists or not, within a Bash shell script?

How to&Answers:

To check if a directory exists in a shell script you can use the following:

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
  # Control will enter here if $DIRECTORY exists.
fi

Or to check if a directory doesn’t exist:

if [ ! -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
  # Control will enter here if $DIRECTORY doesn't exist.
fi

However, as Jon Ericson points out, subsequent commands may not work as intended if you do not take into account that a symbolic link to a directory will also pass this check.
E.g. running this:

ln -s "$ACTUAL_DIR" "$SYMLINK"
if [ -d "$SYMLINK" ]; then 
  rmdir "$SYMLINK" 
fi

Will produce the error message:

rmdir: failed to remove `symlink': Not a directory

So symbolic links may have to be treated differently, if subsequent commands expect directories:

if [ -d "$LINK_OR_DIR" ]; then 
  if [ -L "$LINK_OR_DIR" ]; then
    # It is a symlink!
    # Symbolic link specific commands go here.
    rm "$LINK_OR_DIR"
  else
    # It's a directory!
    # Directory command goes here.
    rmdir "$LINK_OR_DIR"
  fi
fi

Take particular note of the double-quotes used to wrap the variables, the reason for this is explained by 8jean in another answer.

If the variables contain spaces or other unusual characters it will probably cause the script to fail.

Answer:

Remember to always wrap variables in double quotes when referencing them in
a bash script. Kids these days grow up with the idea that they can have spaces and lots of other funny characters in their directory names. (Spaces! Back in my days, we didn’t have no fancy spaces! ;))

One day, one of those kids will run your script with $DIRECTORY set to "My M0viez" and your script will blow up. You don’t want that. So use this.

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
    # Will enter here if $DIRECTORY exists, even if it contains spaces
fi

Answer:

Note the -d test can produce some surprising results:

$ ln -s tmp/ t
$ if [ -d t ]; then rmdir t; fi
rmdir: directory "t": Path component not a directory

File under: “When is a directory not a directory?” The answer: “When it’s a symlink to a directory.” A slightly more thorough test:

if [ -d t ]; then 
   if [ -L t ]; then 
      rm t
   else 
      rmdir t
   fi
fi

You can find more information in the Bash manual on Bash conditional expressions and the [ builtin command and the [[ compound commmand.

Answer:

I find the double-bracket version of test makes writing logic tests more natural:

if [[ -d "${DIRECTORY}" && ! -L "${DIRECTORY}" ]] ; then
    echo "It's a bona-fide directory"
fi

Answer:

Shorter form:

[ -d "$DIR" ] && echo "Yes"

Answer:

To check if a directory exists you can use simple if structure like this:

if [ -d directory/path to a directory ] ; then
#Things to do

else #if needed #also: elif [new condition] 
# things to do
fi

You can do it also in negative

if [ ! -d directory/path to a directory ] ; then
# things to do when not an existing directory

Note: Be careful, leave empty spaces on either side of both opening and closing braces.

With the same syntax you can use:

-e: any kind of archive 

-f: file 

-h: symbolic link 

-r: readable file 

-w: writable file 

-x: executable file 

-s: file size greater than zero 

Answer:

  1. A simple script to test if dir or file is present or not:

    if [ -d /home/ram/dir ]   # for file "if [-f /home/rama/file]" 
    then 
        echo "dir present"
    else
        echo "dir not present"
    fi
    
  2. A simple script to check whether the directory is present or not:

    mkdir tempdir   # if you want to check file use touch instead of mkdir
    ret=$?
    if [ "$ret" == "0" ]
    then
        echo "dir present"
    else
        echo "dir not present"
    fi
    

    The above scripts will check the dir is present or not

    $? if the last command sucess it returns “0” else non zero value.
    suppose tempdir is already present then mkdir tempdir will give error like below:

    mkdir: cannot create directory ‘tempdir’: File exists

Answer:

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then  
    # Here if $DIRECTORY exists  
fi

Answer:

You can use test -d (see man test).

-d file True if file exists and is a directory.

For example:

test -d "/etc" && echo Exists || echo Does not exist

Note: The test command is same as conditional expression [ (see: man [), so it’s portable across shell scripts.

[ – This is a synonym for the test builtin, but the last argument must, be a literal ], to match the opening [.

For possible options or further help, check:

  • help [
  • help test
  • man test or man [

Answer:

Or for something completely useless:

[ -d . ] || echo "No"

Answer:

Here’s a very pragmatic idiom:

(cd $dir) || return # is this a directory,
                    # and do we have access?

I typically wrap it in a function:

can_use_as_dir() { 
    (cd ${1:?pathname expected}) || return
}

Or:

assert_dir_access() { 
    (cd ${1:?pathname expected}) || exit
}

The nice thing about this approach is that I do not have to think of a good error message.

cd will give me a standard one line message to stderr already. It will also give more information than I will be able to provide. By performing the cd inside a subshell ( ... ), the command does not affect the current directory of the caller. If the directory exists, this subshell and the function are just a no-op.

Next is the argument that we pass to cd: ${1:?pathname expected}. This is a more elaborate form of parameter substitution which is explained in more detail below.

Tl;dr: If the string passed into this function is empty, we again exit from the subshell ( ... ) and return from the function with the given error message.


Quoting from the ksh93 man page:

${parameter:?word}

If parameter is set and is non-null then substitute its value;
otherwise, print word and exit from the shell (if not interactive).
If word is omitted then a standard message is printed.

and

If the colon : is omitted from the above expressions, then the
shell only checks whether parameter is set or not.

The phrasing here is peculiar to the shell documentation, as word may refer
to any reasonable string, including whitespace.

In this particular case, I know that the standard error message 1: parameter not set is not sufficient, so I zoom in on the type of value that we expect here – the pathname of a directory.

A philosphical note:
The shell is not an object oriented language, so the message says pathname, not directory. At this level, I’d rather keep it simple – the arguments to a function are just strings.

Answer:

if [ -d "$Directory" -a -w "$Directory" ]
then
    #Statements
fi

The above code checks if the directory exists and if it is writable.

Answer:

Type this code on the bash promt

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
  # if true this block of code will execute
fi

Answer:

More features using find

  • Check existence of the folder within sub-directories:

    found=`find -type d -name "myDirectory"`
    if [ -n "$found"]
    then
        # The variable 'found' contains the full path where "myDirectory" is.
        # It may contain several lines if there are several folders named "myDirectory".
    fi
    
  • Check existence of one or several folders based on a pattern within the current directory:

    found=`find -maxdepth 1 -type d -name "my*"`
    if [ -n "$found"]
    then
        # The variable 'found' contains the full path where folders "my*" have been found.
    fi
    
  • Both combinations. In the following example, it checks the existence of the folder in the current directory:

    found=`find -maxdepth 1 -type d -name "myDirectory"`
    if [ -n "$found"]
    then
        # The variable 'found' is not empty => "myDirectory"` exists.
    fi
    

Answer:

Actually, you should use several tools to get a bulletproof approach:

DIR_PATH=`readlink -f "${the_stuff_you_test}"` # Get rid of symlinks and get abs path
if [[ -d "${DIR_PATH}" ]] ; Then # now you're testing
    echo "It's a dir";
fi

No need to worry about spaces and special characters as long as you use "${}".

Note that [[]] is not as portable as [], but since most people work with modern versions of Bash (since after all, most people don’t even work with command line :-p), the benefit is greater than the trouble.

Answer:

Have you considered just doing whatever you want to do in the if rather than looking before you leap?

IE, if you want to check for the existence of a directory before you enter it, try just doing this:

if pushd /path/you/want/to/enter; then
    # commands you want to run in this directory
    popd
fi

If the path you give to pushd exists, you’ll enter it and it’ll exit with 0, which means the then portion of the statement will execute. If it doesn’t exist, nothing will happen (other than some output saying the directory doesn’t exist, which is probably a helpful side-effect anyways for debugging).

Seems better than this, which requires repeating yourself:

if [ -d /path/you/want/to/enter ]; then
    pushd /path/you/want/to/enter
    # commands you want to run in this directory
    popd
fi

Same thing works with cd, mv, rm, etc… if you try them on files that don’t exist, they’ll exit with an error and print a message saying it doesn’t exist, and your then block will be skipped. If you try them on files that do exist, the command will execute and exit with a status of 0, allowing your then block to execute.

Answer:

To check more than one directory use this code:

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY1" ] && [ -d "$DIRECTORY2" ] then
    # Things to do
fi

Answer:

DIRECTORY=/tmp

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
    echo "Exists"
fi

Try online

Answer:

Check if directory exists, else make one

[ -d "$DIRECTORY" ] || mkdir $DIRECTORY

Answer:

[[ -d "$DIR" && ! -L "$DIR" ]] && echo "It's a directory and not a symbolic link"

N.B: Quoting variables is a good practice.

Answer:

[ -d ~/Desktop/TEMPORAL/ ] && echo "DIRECTORY EXISTS" || echo "DIRECTORY DOES NOT EXIST"

Answer:

This answer wrapped up as a shell script

Examples

$ is_dir ~                           
YES

$ is_dir /tmp                        
YES

$ is_dir ~/bin                       
YES

$ mkdir '/tmp/test me'

$ is_dir '/tmp/test me'
YES

$ is_dir /asdf/asdf                  
NO

# Example of calling it in another script
DIR=~/mydata
if [ $(is_dir $DIR) == "NO" ]
then
  echo "Folder doesnt exist: $DIR";
  exit;
fi

is_dir

function show_help()
{
  IT=$(CAT <<EOF

  usage: DIR
  output: YES or NO, depending on whether or not the directory exists.

  )
  echo "$IT"
  exit
}

if [ "$1" == "help" ]
then
  show_help
fi
if [ -z "$1" ]
then
  show_help
fi

DIR=$1
if [ -d $DIR ]; then 
   echo "YES";
   exit;
fi
echo "NO";

Answer:

Using the -e check will check for files and this includes directories.

if [ -e ${FILE_PATH_AND_NAME} ]
then
    echo "The file or directory exists."
fi

Answer:

As per Jonathan comment:

If you want to create the directory and it does not exist yet, then the simplest technique is to use mkdir -p which creates the directory — and any missing directories up the path — and does not fail if the directory already exists, so you can do it all at once with:

mkdir -p /some/directory/you/want/to/exist || exit 1

Answer:

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
    # Will enter here if $DIRECTORY exists
fi

This is not completely true…
If you want to go to that directory, you also needs to have the execute rights on the directory. Maybe you need to have write rights as well.

Therfore:

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ] && [ -x "$DIRECTORY" ] ; then
    # ... to go to that directory (even if DIRECTORY is a link)
    cd $DIRECTORY
    pwd
fi

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ] && [ -w "$DIRECTORY" ] ; then
    # ... to go to that directory and write something there (even if DIRECTORY is a link)
    cd $DIRECTORY
    touch foobar
fi

Answer:

How about file program.
Considering all directories are also files in linux, issuing following command would suffice:

file $directory_name

Checking nonexistent file: file blah

Output: cannot open 'blah' (No such file or directory)

Checking existing directory: file bluh

Output: bluh: directory

Answer:

The ls command in conjunction with -l (long listing) option returns attributes information about files and directories.
In particular the first character of ls -l output it is usually a d or a - (dash). In case of a d the one listed is a directory for sure.

The following command in just one line will tell you if the given ISDIR variable contains a path to a directory or not:

[[ $(ls -ld "$ISDIR" | cut -c1) == 'd' ]] &&
    echo "YES, $ISDIR is a directory." || 
    echo "Sorry, $ISDIR is not a directory"

Practical usage:

    [[email protected] ~]$ ISDIR="$HOME/Music" 
    [[email protected] ~]$ ls -ld "$ISDIR"
    drwxr-xr-x. 2 claudio claudio 4096 Aug 23 00:02 /home/claudio/Music
    [[email protected] ~]$ [[ $(ls -ld "$ISDIR" | cut -c1) == 'd' ]] && 
        echo "YES, $ISDIR is a directory." ||
        echo "Sorry, $ISDIR is not a directory"
    YES, /home/claudio/Music is a directory.

    [[email protected] ~]$ touch "empty file.txt"
    [[email protected] ~]$ ISDIR="$HOME/empty file.txt" 
    [[email protected] ~]$ [[ $(ls -ld "$ISDIR" | cut -c1) == 'd' ]] && 
        echo "YES, $ISDIR is a directory." || 
        echo "Sorry, $ISDIR is not a directoy"
    Sorry, /home/claudio/empty file.txt is not a directory

Answer:

file="foo" 
if [[ -e "$file" ]]; then echo "File Exists"; fi;

Answer:

If you want to check if a directory exists, regardless if it’s a real directory or a symlink, use this:

ls $DIR
if [ $? != 0 ]; then
        echo "Directory $DIR already exists!"
        exit 1;
fi
echo "Directory $DIR does not exist..."

Explanation: The “ls” command gives an error “ls: /x: No such file or directory” if the directory or symlink does not exist, and also sets the return code, which you can retrieve via “$?”, to non-null (normally “1”).
Be sure that you check the return code directly after calling “ls”.

Answer:

(1)

[ -d Piyush_Drv1 ] && echo ""Exists"" || echo "Not Exists"

(2)

[ `find . -type d -name Piyush_Drv1 -print | wc -l` -eq 1 ] && echo Exists || echo "Not Exists"

(3)

[[ -d run_dir  && ! -L run_dir ]] && echo Exists || echo "Not Exists"

If found an issue with one of the approach provided above.

With ls command; the cases when directory does not exists – an error message is shown

$ [[ ls -ld SAMPLE_DIR| grep ^d | wc -l -eq 1 ]] && echo exists || not exists
-ksh: not: not found [No such file or directory]