How To Cd In Powershell

Shell Programming

When navigating through directories in PowerShell, the cd command is your best friend. As a software developer, I find myself using this command regularly, so let me share some insights and tips on how to make the most of it.

Understanding the Basics of cd

The cd command stands for “change directory” and is used to navigate from one directory to another in PowerShell. It is similar to the cd command in Unix-based systems and the chdir command in MS-DOS. To change to a specific directory, simply type cd followed by the path of the directory you want to navigate to.

Using Relative Paths

One thing I love about cd is the ability to use relative paths. For instance, if I want to move up one level in the directory hierarchy, I can simply type cd ... This makes it incredibly efficient to navigate through different levels of directories without having to specify the entire path every time.

Tab Completion for Efficiency

Another trick I find useful is using tab completion. When I start typing a directory name and press the Tab key, PowerShell automatically completes the directory or file name if it’s unique, saving me from typing the entire name. This is a small feature, but it speeds up my navigation process significantly.

Dealing with Spaces and Special Characters

One of the challenges I’ve encountered with the cd command is dealing with directories or filenames that contain spaces or special characters. To navigate to a directory with spaces or special characters, simply enclose the directory name in double quotes. For example, if I want to navigate to a directory called “My Folder”, I would type cd "My Folder".

Using Environmental Variables

PowerShell allows for the use of environmental variables with the cd command. This means I can navigate to directories using variables such as $env:USERPROFILE for the user’s profile directory or $env:ProgramFiles for the Program Files directory. This flexibility makes it easier to navigate to commonly used directories without having to remember their specific paths.


Mastering the cd command in PowerShell is essential for efficient navigation and file management. By understanding its basic usage, handling spaces and special characters, and leveraging features like tab completion and environmental variables, you can streamline your workflow and boost your productivity. So, next time you find yourself navigating through directories in PowerShell, remember these tips to make the most of the cd command.