NodeJS - How to get the current directory (folder) value

Learn how to use NodeJS to get the current directory (folder)

Posted on April 13, 2021


Sometimes, you need to get a string representing the current directory or folder your JavaScript code is being executed.

There are two ways you can get the current directory in NodeJS:

  • Using the special variable __dirname
  • Using the built-in method process.cwd()

This tutorial will show you how to use both ways. Let’s look at __dirname first.

Get current directory with __dirname

The __dirname variable is a special variable available when you run JavaScript code using NodeJS.

The code below shows how you can use the special variable:

console.log("Current directory:", __dirname);

The variable will print the path to the directory, starting from the root directory.

Here’s the output on my computer:

Current directory: /Users/nsebhastian/Desktop/test

And just like that, you can get the current working directory in NodeJS. Let’s look at process.cwd() method next.

Get current directory with process.cwd()

The process.cwd() method works just like the __dirname variable. It prints the path to the current working directory from the root directory:

console.log("Current directory:", process.cwd());
// Current directory: /Users/nsebhastian/Desktop/test

Exclusively get the current directory

When you need only the current directory where the script is being executed, you can use the built-in path module:

const path = require("path");

The path module has the basename() method, which returns only the last portion of a path. The last portion of the __dirname variable for my computer is test so it will be returned by the method:

const path = require("path");

const directoryName = path.basename(__dirname);
console.log(directoryName); // test

And that’s how you can get the string representing the current directory or folder in NodeJS.

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