Jake McCrary

Utilities I Like: Autojump

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autojump is a nifty command line tool that enables quicker jumping between directories. I’ve been using it for a few months now and miss it when I work other machines.

To jump to a directory you type j SUBSTRING_OF_DIR. Example:

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$ pwd
/Users/jmccrary
$ j jake
/Users/jmccrary/src/github/jakemcc/jakemccrary.com
$ pwd
/Users/jmccrary/src/github/jakemcc/jakemccrary.com

Above I jumped from my home directory to the root of this website’s code. Being able to jump between directories by just remembering a name (or part of a name) is great. This frees me from having to remember full paths or set up aliases.

autojump works by keeping a database of “time” spent in directories and jumps to the most frequently visited one that match SUBSTRING_OF_DIR. If you are curious as to what that database looks like the tool jumpstat will give you a view.

I used to set up aliases for jumping between projects but now that I’ve trained myself to use autojump I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Not having to do any extra work besides simply entering the root directory of new projects to setup efficient directory movement is great. I think that if you give it a shot for a while you’ll find the same benefits.

If you are on a Mac and use homebrew you can install by doing brew install autojump. For other platforms check out the github page.

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