I want to use bash's CDPATH to point to a directory of symlinks to directories that I access frequently. However, doing:


causes cd SUBDIR to stop working if ./SUBDIR and ~/symlinks/SUBDIR both exist; CDPATH directories take precedence over the current working directory.

I tried to fix this by instead using:


and that does fix the precedence problem, but now cding to a subdirectory always prints its full path:

$ pwd
$ cd baz

This is a bit annoying. I know that I can suppress all cd output by doing alias cd='> /dev/null cd', but I do like the path being printed for other CDPATH entries (or when doing cd -). Is there anything better that I can do?

1 Answer 1


Two clues:

  • If CDPATH is non-existent or an empty string, then cd SUBDIR works fine and does not print extra spew.

  • The bash manpage says:

The variable CDPATH defines the search path for the directory containing dir: each directory name in CDPATH is searched for dir. Alternative directory names in CDPATH are separated by a colon (:). A null directory name in CDPATH is the same as the current directory, i.e., ``.''.

The manpage seems to be oversimplifying: clearly a null directory name (i.e., an empty string) is not exactly the same as . since CDPATH=. generates extra output but CDPATH= does not. However, since null directories are legal in CDPATH, and since a null directory doesn't generate extra output, we therefore can use:

# The first entry is intentionally an empty string.

Testing (with bash 4.4.12) confirms that behaves as desired: cd SUBDIR changes to ./SUBDIR instead of to ~/symlinks/SUBDIR and does not print any extra spew.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.