In addition to using exact filenames as arguments, we can use special characters like * to select groups of files. These special characters are called wildcards. For example, here we use cp to copy all files in the current working directory into another directory.

cp * my_directory/

Here, w*.txt selects all files in the working directory starting with “w” (prefix) and ending with “.txt” (suffix), and copies them to my_directory/.

cp w*.txt my_directory/

Let’s try out the wildcard symbol in this filesystem!

Note that you can access the layout of the filesystem here.



For this exercise, we need to start in the comedy/ directory. Use pwd to check where you are. If you aren’t in the comedy/ directory, you can use the command cd /home/ccuser/workspace/movies/comedy to quickly get there.


In this directory, use the touch command create a new file named shrek.txt. After doing so, list the contents of the current directory.


Then, using a wildcard, copy all files in the current directory into the satire/ directory.


Without switching directories, look inside the satire/ directory, listing all its contents. You should see a copy of the files the_office.txt and shrek.txt in this directory.


Navigate to the action/ directory using this single command:

cd ../action/

Here we navigate up one directory, and then into the action/ directory.


Now let’s try using the wildcard * with a prefix and a suffix.

With a single command, copy all files in the current directory that start with m and end with .txt, to the scifi/ directory.


Without switching directories, list all the files and directories in scifi/.

You should see a copy of all text files starting with "m": matrix.txt, matrix-reloaded.txt, and matrix-revolutions.txt.

Sign up to start coding

Mini Info Outline Icon
By signing up for Codecademy, you agree to Codecademy's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Or sign up using:

Already have an account?