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Basic Navigation and shortcuts

Now that we have covered some basic login elements, we can look through some commands that are required to navigate within Gadi while you submit and monitor jobs. 

If you are new to the Unix environment, you can try out some of these commands to practice using the the system 

Remember, you can use our Linux command cheat sheet when you get stuck and if you are having any recurring problems, do not hesitate to contact the NCI helpdesk, or email us at

  • man <cmd>

Try replacing <cmd> with 'ls' or 'pwd' to get the manual for that particular line. This can be incredibly helpful for beginners as you can see the full extent of the command you are using.

If there is no manpage,it is worth trying <program> -h or <program> --help, to see if there is any help available for this program. 

  • ls -l

ls -l will present a list of the current directories. 

  • pwd

pwd or present working directory, is a good way to find where you are. This command will show you the directory that you are currently in. 

  • cd <path>

cd followed by a specific path is how you can change directories to navigate through Gadi. 

  • mkdir <pathname>

mkdir is used to create new paths in your home directory, think of this as creating a new folder on your personal computer.

  • cp

cp is used to copy files. This can be done with a command such as $ cp <path/to/target> <path/to/destination> In this case you are copying a file and crating a new one in the destination.  if the destination is a directory, the new file will be created inside it. 

  • quota -s

quota -s shows the disk quota for the user like listed below. It lists the filesystem, space allocated, and the limit that you have in your NCI account. it will also show any grace within that quota.

  • lquota 

lquota will display the quota of the project that you are a part of, as shown below. 

  • rm

rm stands for remove and is used to delete files.

This does not mean that they are sent to a recycle bin, these targets will be deleted permanently without warning or prompting. 

Be careful using this command as files in /scratch and /gdata are not backed up and using 'rm' will result in their permanent deletion. 


Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts that can help you navigate around the environment more efficiently. 

Halt the current command
Move cursor to the beginning of the line
Move cursor to the end of the line
Delete from cursor to the end of the line

Stop the foreground job and places it in the background as a stopped job
Log out of current session, similar to exit

Looking for more?

These are just some basics to get you started. If you want to go more in-depth, you can check out out Linux command quick reference guide, or a quick google search for Linux help will return a wealth of resources to get you up and running.
Authors: Yue Sun, Andrew Johnston