Working at the command line is not as daunting a task as you would think. There is no special knowledge needed to use the command line as it is a program like everything else. Most things in Linux can be done using the command line. Although there are graphical tools for most programs, sometimes they are just not enough. This is where the command line comes in handy.

The terminal is often called the command prompt or the shell. In days gone by, this was the way the user interacted with the computer; however, Linux users have found that the use of the shell can be quicker than a graphical method and still holds some merit today. Here you will learn how to use the terminal.

The original use of the terminal was as a file browser, and indeed it is still used as a file browser. You can use the terminal as a file browser to navigate your files and undo the changes that have been made.

Starting the Terminal

The Konsole can be started by choosing K-menu->System->Konsole (Terminal Program) from the Desktop menu system.

Common Commands

View Directories: - ls

The ls (LiSt) lists files in different colors with full formatted text

Create Directories: - mkdir (directory name)

The mkdir (MaKeDIRectory) command will create a directory.

Change Directories: - cd (/directory/location)

The cd (Change Directory) command will change from your current directory to any directory you specify.

Copy Files/Directories: - cp (file or directory name) (to directory or filename)

The cp (CoPy) command will copy any files you specify. The cp -r command will copy any directories you specify.

Remove Files/Directories: - rm (file or directory name)

The rm (ReMove) command will delete any filename you specify. The rm -r command will remove any directory you specify, and all its contents.

Move/Rename Files/Directories: - mv (file or directory name)

The mv (MoVe) command will move/rename any file or directory you specify.

Find Files/Directories: - locate (file or directory name)

The locate command will search for any filename you specify. It uses an index of the files on your system to work quickly. To update this index, run the command sudo updatedb. This command is run automatically each day if you leave your computer on. It needs to be run with administrative privileges (see the section called “Root And Sudo”).

You can also use wildcards to match one or more files, such as "*" (for all files) or "?" (to match one character).

Switch to Console mode

The usual method of command-line access in Kubuntu is to start a terminal (see the section called “Starting the Terminal” above) , however sometimes it is useful to switch to the real console:

  1. Use the Ctrl-Alt-F1 shortcut keys to switch to the first console.

  2. To switch back to Desktop mode, use the Ctrl-Alt-F7 shortcut keys.


There are six consoles available. Each one is accessible with the shortcut keys Ctrl-Alt-F1 to Ctrl-Alt-F6.

Disable the beep sound in Terminal mode

  1. Start a Konsole session, select: K-menu->System->Konsole (Terminal Program) from the desktop menu system.

  2. Settings->Bell->None