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mkdir -p will create a directory; it will also make parent directories as needed.

Does a similar command exist for files, that will create a file and parent directories as needed?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 30 '13 at 15:05

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Not that I am aware of.. but you could just do mkdir -p /path/to/make && touch /path/to/file... Which would make an empty file in that new directory structure you created all as needed. – Kansha Jan 30 '13 at 9:10
@Kansha combine that with dirname and basename and we'll only need the single argument; profit! :) – akaIDIOT Jan 30 '13 at 9:12
Aye, good call. – Kansha Jan 30 '13 at 9:14
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Install will do this, if given the source file /dev/null. The -D argument says to create all the parent directories:

anthony@Zia:~$ install -D /dev/null /tmp/a/b/c
anthony@Zia:~$ ls -l /tmp/a/b/c 
-rwxr-xr-x 1 anthony anthony 0 Jan 30 10:31 /tmp/a/b/c

Not sure if that's a bug or not—its behavior with device files isn't mentioned in the manpage. You could also just give it a blank file (newly created with mktemp, for example) as the source.

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No, it does not as far as I know. But you can always use mkdir -p and touch after each other:

mkdir -p -- "${f%/*}" && touch -- "$f"
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dir=$(dirname "$f")
test -d $dir || mkdir -p "$dir"
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The test isn't needed; mkdir -p doesn't do anything if the dir already exists. Doesn't even return an error. – derobert Jan 30 '13 at 15:36
And of course, this only creates the directory. – Michael Kjörling Jan 30 '13 at 15:40

I was going to suggest as it keeps it on one line, though setting the variable separately allows you to change it and rerun the command from the history pretty easily.

B="./make/this/path" && mkdir -p -- "$B" && touch -- "$B/file.txt"
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