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The general form of a file or directory name that specifies a unique location in a file system. In many Linux and Unix-like OS the PATH (all upper case) variable specifies the directories where executable programs are searched for.

A path represents a unique file system location using the directory tree hierarchy expressed in a string of characters in which path components, separated by a delimiting character, represent each directory. The delimiting character is most commonly a slash /, a backslash \, or a colon :.

A PATH (all upper case, environment-variables) in the Linux, UNIX-like operating systems and Windows contains list of directories, where the shell searches through, when a command is executed. The executables are stored in different directories in the OS. On UNIX-like OS the directories are separated by colon, on Windows by semi-colon.


Simple way to show the $PATH variable is:

echo "$PATH"
printf "%s\n" "$PATH"

A typical PATH looks like:


More generally, a path is a sequence of directions that, when followed in order, reach a certain object or location.

In addition to file system paths, there are paths through a tree:


or, again more generally, a set of attributes on an object.

There might be some other contexts where the term "path" is used to described something non-URI and non-directory related which are not covered by the general description.

One case would be in a context such as in the SCADA software, Ignition, where the term "path" is generally used to refer to tag-path - as Tag is the basic unit in the software, forming a hierarchical system like directory. Typical tag-path in Ignition look like this:


Or, more complexly when tag is not in the BaseFolder but referred from another "Parent" Tag: