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I know how to rename files in Unix:

$ mv ~/folder/subfolder/file.txt ~/folder/subfolder/file.sh

     ^-------this part------^    ^------this part-------^

It takes too long time to repeat ~/folder/subfolder/file twice.

Is there a quicker way?

share|improve this question
Why are you using sudo for moving a file between two directories in your home? – Bakuriu May 27 '14 at 16:36
Good point. Removed :) – Hamed Kamrava May 27 '14 at 16:49
up vote 76 down vote accepted

If your shell supported Brace Expansion (works with csh, tcsh, ksh, zsh, bash, fish, mksh, lksh, pdksh or yash with brace-expand enabled by calling yash --brace-expand or set in interative shell with set -o brace-expand):

mv ~/folder/subfolder/file.{txt,sh}
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simple is the best! – Braiam May 27 '14 at 18:05
awesome use of expansion in shell brilliant! – harish.venkat May 27 '14 at 18:10
It is awesome, but really cryptic. It works but at the first glance I would think it does something different: moves two file somewhere. I don't think this is a great idea, especially since there is a much better solution using rename. – yo' May 28 '14 at 21:07
@tohecz: Why is it cryptic? It's a feature of shell and every one can know it by reading shell man page. And I don't think rename is a better solution because rename never ask you to override the existing file or not. – cuonglm May 29 '14 at 2:32
@Gnouc you're the man. – beginer Sep 1 '14 at 12:26

You can also use rename (part of the util-linux package).

rename .txt .sh ~/folder/subfolder/file.txt

See the rename man page for more details.

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+1 This is the clear way how to do it, much better than relying on shells {a,b} functionality. – yo' May 28 '14 at 21:02
In some Linux distros (such as Ubuntu), rename is an entirely different, perl-based program. There, you would use rename 's/txt$/sh/' ~/folder/subfolder/file.txt. – evilsoup Oct 4 '14 at 9:34

All the above are good. This would also work :

$ ( cd ~/folder/subfolder && mv file.txt file.sh )
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No. It doesn't work for me! – Hamed Kamrava May 27 '14 at 16:35
It will work if you remove the sudo part. – Cthulhu May 27 '14 at 17:03
@Cthulhu Yes your right. But why doesn't work with sudo? – Hamed Kamrava May 27 '14 at 17:29
@HamedKamrava Probably because with sudo it interprets ~ as the root's home directory. – Cthulhu May 28 '14 at 4:41

No. You need to give the full path to the file in order to rename it. The only alternative is to move into the target folder before running the mv:

cd ~/folder/subfolder/
mv file.txt file.sh

Alternatively, you could write a little function that renames the file in the target directory. For example, add these lines to your shell initialization file (~/.bashrc if you are using bash):

    _path=$(dirname -- "$1")
    mv -- "$1" "$_target"

Then, open a new terminal or just run source ~/.bashrc to re-read the init file and you can do:

lmv ~/folder/subfolder/file.txt file.sh
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+1 for lmv() function. I didn't know that :) – Hamed Kamrava May 27 '14 at 16:20
@HamedKamrava nobody knew it. I just wrote it, it's not anything standard. – terdon May 27 '14 at 16:22
I know. I mean I didn't know I can write my own function! – Hamed Kamrava May 27 '14 at 16:23

Yes. If you use bash, you do sudo pushd ~/folder/subfolder/ && sudo mv ./file.txt ./file.sh && popd.

Which is actually bigger and may fail if you lost access permissions to the original directory when you did the popd.

share|improve this answer
What's the point of pushd and popd here? How is this better than cd ~/folder/subfolder/ && sudo mv file.txt file.sh? – terdon May 27 '14 at 16:20
The point is, that you are after the command back in the folder you started, not in any subfolder. An alternative to pushd popd is to use cd and go back with cd -. – jofel May 27 '14 at 16:27
The questioner seemed to state an intention not to change the working directory, and popd is better than cd ../../, when available. – uprego May 27 '14 at 16:32
Use (cd /path/to/there && mv x y) then (with a subshell) – Stéphane Chazelas May 27 '14 at 16:39

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