I have a folder with files which I want to zip into a tar.gz file. I am using the following command:

tar -czvf filename.tar.gz  foldername

Sure enough this creates the file filename.tar.gz. However, when I unzip the tar file, by default it creates a folder filename and places all the files into the folder.

Can I avoid this folder creation when I create the tar file itself. I tried the following command but it doesn't work.

tar -czv filename.tar.gz  foldername

I am using Ubuntu 14.04.

My current directory structure is as follows:


The directory foldername has all the files that I want to zip. My codes are as follows:

cd Test
tar czvf filename.tar foldername/*
  • You can always cd before zipping Jan 15, 2018 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


Another way is to utilize the -C command line argument, as in the following:

tar czvf filename.tar.gz -C foldername .

Note the final ., which tells tar to include "this directory" after having cd-ed into foldername by virtue of the -C foldername argument.

You end up with names in the tar file starting with ./ instead of foldername/, and they thus unpack into the current working directory.

If on the other hand, you have a tar file with names like foldername/X, and you want to un-tar that without the first directory component, then the argument --strip-components=1 is your friend. Thus, the untar command might be:

tar xzf filename.tar.gz --strip-components=1

By that argument, the first directory component of all path names are "stripped away" during the un-tar-ing. Check out man tar for all the details.

  • Ronnquist Thank you. however, my question is about avoiding the folder that gets created when you unzip the tar file. Can I avoid that and unpack the files directly into the directory.
    – popeye
    Jan 15, 2018 at 7:20
  • Or, alternatively, cd into the directory and run tar cvzf ../filename.tar.gz .. Jan 15, 2018 at 7:22
  • @popeye, yes; that's exactly what happens. The very same as what Johan suggests, but with only the tar program doing the cd (not the whole shell) Jan 15, 2018 at 7:30

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