popd - Linux


The popd command in Linux is used to remove directories from a stack of remembered directories. It is particularly useful in shell scripting and terminal navigation, assisting users in effectively moving back to previously visited paths without needing to retype long directory names.


The basic syntax for the popd command is as follows:

popd [OPTIONS] [+N | -N]
  • +N: Removes the Nth directory (counting from the left of the list printed by dirs, starting with zero), making it the current directory.
  • -N: Removes the Nth directory (counting from the right).

If no arguments are given, popd removes the top directory from the stack.


popd command options include:

  • +0: Remove the first directory in the stack (the last one that was added), which changes the current directory to that position.
  • -0: Remove the last directory in the stack, but does not change the current directory.
  • -n: Refrains from changing the current directory after removing directories from the stack. Useful when you just want to clean up the stack without affecting the current working directory.


  1. Basic Usage:
    Navigate back to the previous directory:

  2. Remove Specific Directory:
    Remove the second directory in the stack and change to it:

    popd +1
  3. Manipulate Stack without Changing Directory:
    Remove the last directory in the stack but stay in the current directory:

    popd -n -0

Common Issues

  • Empty Stack Error: If you attempt to use popd without any directories in the stack, it will return an error. Always check the stack using dirs before using popd.
  • Index Out of Range: When specifying an index with +N or -N, ensure it exists in the current stack to avoid errors.


Combine popd with other commands to navigate complex directory structures. For instance, using pushd to add directories to the stack and popd to navigate back:

pushd /var/log
pushd /etc

This example places /var/log on the stack, then /etc, and popd takes you back to /var/log.

  • pushd: Adds directories to the stack.
  • dirs: Displays the list of currently remembered directories.

For more information, refer to the official Linux man pages or the GNU documentation available online.