ARCHIVED: In Unix, what are some common dot files?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.

In Unix, files and directories beginning with a period (.) typically hold settings for programs. Here are brief descriptions of many common dot files, generally stored in the root directory of your account:

.addressbook Email address information Email address information
Most recently edited news posting
Previously executed commands for bash shell
.bashrc Initialization for bash shell
Initialization for csh and tcsh shells
Directory for Elm mail program configuration
Initialization and key-mappings for Emacs editor
Settings used by vi and ex editors
.forward Mail forwarding destination
Gopher information, including bookmarks
Suppress message-of-the-day during login
Initialization file for screen program
Startup commands for login shell
Commands to execute upon exiting shell
Configuration for Lynx web browser
Mail Handler configuration information
Configuration directory for ncftp FTP client
Alternate signature file, included in editing
Newsgroup and article information for newsreaders
Configuration directory for nn newsreader
Backup of previous copy of .newsrc file
Configuration directory for PGP
Configuration information for Pine mail program
File of information displayed by finger
Initialization file for ksh, bash, and sh shells
Brief line of information displayed by finger
Users not requiring password to log in
Information from last session of newsreader
Soft-pointer information for newsreaders
Brief file appended to email and news postings
Configuration directory for ssh1 and openssh
Configuration directory for ssh2
.tcshrc Initialization for tcsh shell
.telnetrc Configuration for telnet
Configuration directory for tin newsreader
Initialization for zsh run upon login after .zshrc
Commands to execute upon exiting zsh shell
Initialization for all zsh invocations
Initialization for all interactive zsh sessions

Note: zsh and rsh are not available any UITS systems.

You can include dot files in a directory listing by using the -a option with the ls command, which will list all of the files in the current directory, including the dot files. At the Unix prompt, enter:

  ls -a

To list all of the dot files in your home directory, at the Unix prompt, enter:

  ls -lad ~/.*

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

This is document afyy in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 10:00:00.