As man mkdir states

   -p, --parents
          no error if existing, make parent directories as needed

When I ran this command

mkdir -p work/{F1,F2,F3}/{temp1,temp2}

It creates a folder structure like this work parent folder then F1,F2,F3 child folders and temp1 and temp2 child folders under three parent folder F1,F2,F3.


Now the problem is that I want to create temp1,temp2 folders only under F1 not under F2 and F3, but I'm confused on how I can write a command to do what I want.

  • @Caleb: sorry, I was not aware we were both editing at the same time, it seems that revision merging is not implemented by SE :-/ Aug 2, 2011 at 13:48
  • @Stephane: No worries. I've made a lot of edits and it's pretty rare that two major edits get clobbered like that. Thanks for contributing!
    – Caleb
    Aug 2, 2011 at 13:52

3 Answers 3


Maybe this is what you are looking for?

 mkdir -p work/{F1/{temp1,temp2},F2,F3}
  • Hey, I was wondering recently if things could be done as simple as that. Thanks! Aug 2, 2011 at 13:55
  • how about adding variables inside the curly braces? Like so : mkdir -p work/{F1/{"$var"},F2,F3}, where var='temp1,temp2'.
    – Snow
    Jun 27, 2022 at 15:53

A very good description of brace expansion (with examples) can be found at subsection Brace Expansion of bash manual (man bash, press / to start search and search for Brace Expansion).

  • Thank you, your answer led me to this great guide! Just needed to know that it's called "Brace Expansion" so I knew what to google. linuxcommand.org/lc3_lts0080.php Excerpt: "Perhaps the strangest expansion is called brace expansion. With it, you can create multiple text strings from a pattern containing braces. Here's an example: [me@linuxbox me]$ echo Front-{A,B,C}-Back Front-A-Back Front-B-Back Front-C-Back"
    – Rock Lee
    Jun 6, 2018 at 20:13
mkdir -p work/F{1..3} work/F1/temp{1,2}

This first creates work and the three subdirectories before creating the lower level directories of work/F1. It's easy to read and to understand.

Or, if you absolutely need to combine everything into a single monster expression (there is absolutely no need to do so as it's difficult to read and maintain):

mkdir -p work/F{1/temp{1,2},2,3}
  • how about adding variables inside the curly braces? Like so : mkdir -p work/{F1/{"$var"},F2,F3}, where var='temp1,temp2'
    – Snow
    Jun 27, 2022 at 15:53
  • @Snow Did you try that to see what happens?
    – Kusalananda
    Jun 27, 2022 at 17:09
  • yes, it creates a single folder named "{temp1,temp2}"
    – Snow
    Jun 27, 2022 at 17:12
  • 1
    @Snow Yes, the order of evaluation is such that the brace expansion happens first and the expansion of variables later. This means that the value of a variable can not affect a brace expansion.
    – Kusalananda
    Jun 27, 2022 at 17:17

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