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How to Create, Delete, & Rename a File in Linux

In this tutorial we’ll cover how to create, delete, and rename files within Linux using the terminal window and a few basic commands.

Use the the table of contents below to jump to a specific section or read on to learn more!


How to Create a File in Linux

To create a new file in Linux, just follow these easy steps:

  1. From the terminal window, you can create a new file using the touch command, followed by the name of the file you’d like to create. For example:
    touch sample.txt
  2. Using the command above would create a new, empty file named sample.txt. The file name can be replaced with any name of your choosing.
  3. Once you’ve created your file, you can confirm that it has been created successfully using the ls command to list out the files in your current directory. You should see the name of the file you just created among this list.
  4. You can also create a new file using one of several other methods, including a redirect operator “>” or the cat command. For example:
    > sample2.txt
    cat > sample3.txt
    While these commands are both typically used to interact with existing files, if the filename specified does not exist, both of these methods will output new files with the corresponding filenames.


How to Remove a File in Linux

To remove a file in Linux, just follow these steps:

  1. From the terminal window, you can delete a file using the rm command to remove it from your system. For example:
    rm sample.txt
  2. Using the command above will delete the file named sample.txt from your current directory. If the file is protected, you will be asked to confirm before deletion of the file is completed.
  3. You can also use the remove command to delete multiple files at once. This can be done by simply listing out the names of multiple files, separated out with spaces. For example:
    rm sample.txt sample2.txt sample3.txt
    This command would delete all three of the files listed from your current directory.


How to Rename a File in Linux

To rename a file in Linux, just follow these steps:

  1. While there is a rename command in Linux, it is easiest to rename individual files using the move command. This is because renaming is seen by the system as moving the contents of one folder to another. For example:
    mv sample.txt sampleNEW.txt
  2. Using the command above is intended to move the contents of the first file into the second, however, since the file sampleNEW.txt does not exist, the system creates it, moving the contents of sample.txt into the newly named file.  


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