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Say I have a directory of files at


and I want to create a tar with only "dir1" as the leading directory:


I know I can first cd to the directory

cd /home/user1/
tar czvf dir1.tar.gz dir1

But when writing scripts, jumping from directory to directory isn't always favorable. I am wondering is there a way to do it with absolute paths without changing current directories?

I know I can always create a tar file with absolute paths INSIDE and use


when extracting but sometimes extra path names are extra private information that you don't want to distribute with your tar files.


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up vote 11 down vote accepted

tar -C changes directory

tar -C /home/user1/ -cvzf dir1.tar.gz dir1

btw, handy one for keeping track of changing directories... use pushd and popd.

pushd .
cd /home/user1
tar cvfz dir1.tar.gz
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Thanks. I didn't know that "-C" option has to be used before other options... I tried "tar -cvzf dir1.tar.gz dir1 -C /home/user1/" before but it didn't work. – Yan Nov 19 '09 at 22:15

With gnu tar, you can create an archive with a different base directory than the actual with:

tar -c --transform 's,^\.,mybasedir,' .

Just adapt the sed expression to your needs.

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OK, I also found out that

tar -czvf file1.tar.gz /home/user1/dir1/../dir1

also worked the way I wanted.

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tar -C /home/user1/dir -c .
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