This week at work, I had been tasked to copy a directory in Linux 6 times, all with different names.

This, of course, is not that directory, but let’s pretend it is.

We want 6 copies of this, one for each employee

















Easy enough, just cp -r the directory 6 times, right?  Well, you could, but we always strive to be as clever and efficient as possible.

Let’s say for this example we need a copy of this directory for all 6 employees: David, Mark, Jeremy, Clyde, Warren, and Sam.

well, that won’t work






There’s a lot of things that surprisingly won’t work, mostly because the directories don’t exist.  We could make them, or, as my boss showed me, we could use a little for loop magic.

surprisingly simple!





Is it really all there?  Yes!  This is truncated, but you can see these users have a clone of the original directory.























So how do I use this?

Well, the items you want to iterate through go after for x in

The command you want to execute goes after do and you use the variable $x to iterate through the items.

If we wanted to create 10 files named each letter of the alphabet, we would use

for x in a b c d e f g h i j; do touch $x; done

and you will have those files.  You can remove them with an equally simple line:

for x in a b c d e f g h i j; do rm $x; done