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/
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!
We’re back at the root movies/ directory! From here, navigate to the comedy/ directory.
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:
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.