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How to find out if a file exists in Bash

Christian Nguyen avatarWritten by Christian Nguyen

How to Determine If a File Exists in Bash

A common action that comes up frequently while working in Linux is determining whether or not a file exists before taking action.

In Bash, there are two ways this can be completed.

The first way to check if a file exists in Bash is with the test command with the -f option.

test compares an element against another and returns true or false.

The test command can be expressed in three different syntaxes:

Let's say we want to figure out if the file /tmp/cased.txt exists.

By combining the test command with an if statement, this can be easily accomplished.

If the file exists, this command will return a File exists. If the file does not exist, it will return File does not exist.

In this example we used the test command in the [ ] syntax; however we can accomplish the same goal with the other syntaxes as shown below.

You can save useful shell shortcuts like this, and a whole lot more, with Cased. If you're interested and want to learn more schedule a demo or visit our documentation.