XDG user directories
User directories are a set of common user directories located within the
$HOME directory, including
Desktop. Identified by unique icons within a file manager, they will commonly be automatically sourced by numerous programs and applications. is a program that will automatically generate these directories. See the freedesktop.org website for further information.
Creating default directories
Creating a full suite of localized default user directories within the
$HOME directory can be done automatically using and running:
LC_ALL=C xdg-user-dirs-updatecan be used.
When executed, it will also automatically:
- Create a local
~/.config/user-dirs.dirsconfiguration file: used by applications to find and use home directories specific to an account.
- Create a local
~/.config/user-dirs.localeconfiguration file: used to set the language according to the locale in use.
Creating custom directories
Both the local
~/.config/user-dirs.dirs and global
/etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults configuration files use the following environmental variable format to point to user directories:
XDG_DIRNAME_DIR="$HOME/directory_name" An example configuration file will/may likely look like this (these are all the template directories):
XDG_DESKTOP_DIR="$HOME/Desktop" XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR="$HOME/Documents" XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR="$HOME/Downloads" XDG_MUSIC_DIR="$HOME/Music" XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/Pictures" XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR="$HOME/Public" XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR="$HOME/Templates" XDG_VIDEOS_DIR="$HOME/Videos"
XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR variable has named
~/.config/user-dirs.dirs any application that uses this variable will use this directory.
Alternatively, it is also possible to specify custom folders using the command line. For example, the following command will produce the same results as the above configuration file edit:
$ xdg-user-dirs-update --set DOWNLOAD ~/Internet
Querying configured directories
Once set, any user directory can be viewed with
Templates directory, which of course corresponds to the
XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR variable in the local configuration file:
$ xdg-user-dir TEMPLATES