Absolute Path

What Does Absolute Path Mean?

An absolute path refers to the complete details needed to locate a file or folder, starting from the root element and ending with the other subdirectories. Absolute paths are used in websites and operating systems for locating files and folders.


An absolute path is also known as an absolute pathname or full path.

Techopedia Explains Absolute Path

There are two types of paths: absolute and relative paths. An absolute path always contains the root elements and the complete list of directories to locate the specific file or folder. All the information required to locate the file or folder is available in the absolute path. This is different from a relative path, which is often combined with other paths to access the file. When it comes to websites, the absolute paths always contain the domain name of the website. However, in the case of a relative path, it only points to a relative link.

It is for these reasons that relative paths are used when linking within pages or files within a site, whereas absolute paths can be used anywhere and are needed when linking to an external file/folder on a different website. In the case of operating systems, the absolute path can be determined by right-clicking on the file/folder and then selecting the “properties” option.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.