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The command \IfFileExists works great to test is a file exists. Is there an equivalent to test if a directory exists? \IfFileExists does not seem to work for directories.


\newcommand*{\ExistingDirName}{./ExistingDir}%       This exists
\newcommand*{\NonExistingDirName}{./NonExistingDir}% This does not exist

\newcommand*{\ExistingFileName}{\ExistingDirName/ExistingFile.tex}% This exists
\newcommand*{\NonExistingFileName}{NonExistingFile.tex}% This does not exist

        "#1" exists\par
        "#1" does NOT exist\par

\CheckExistence{\ExistingDirName}%    incorrect results
\CheckExistence{\NonExistingDirName}% correct result

\CheckExistence{\ExistingFileName}%    works
\CheckExistence{\NonExistingFileName}% works

share|improve this question
\IfFileExists uses the TeX facility for reading a file line by line: it tries to open it for line by line reading and issues success or failure. There are two catches: (1) if a file name is given without extension, .tex is added; (2) the operating system won't allow to read a directory, which is not a readable file. – egreg Jun 13 '11 at 20:36
+1 for a good question. Sorry, but I don't have an answer; I was just about to ask this same question myself! – David Hammen Jun 13 '11 at 22:03
Hey is a solution, but it is ugly, suboptimal, kludgy, and insecure -- so just a comment, not a solution. Just \immediate\write18{touch \testdir/bogus_file} and then use \IfFileExists on the newly-created bogus_file. And then delete it with another write18. – David Hammen Jun 13 '11 at 22:17
Interesting idea... But, I am trying to avoid OS specific functions. – Peter Grill Jun 13 '11 at 22:26
@Peter Unfortunately, testing the existence of a directory is OS specific. – egreg Jun 14 '11 at 17:46
up vote 8 down vote accepted

As egreg said there is no direct test for directories. One possibility is if you are trying to read a file from within a directory then use \IfFileExists to check for its existence. If you are trying to write a file in the directory, then just try to open it for writing using \immediate\openout.

If you're not trying to read or write a file in the directory then the presence of the directory is unlikely to matter much (unless you just wish to do something different based on whether it is there or not) as you cannot enumerate directories without invoking the shell.

share|improve this answer
Looks like there is not a good solution to this at this time. I wanted to have different behavior depending on if a directory exists or not. Will try @David's suggestion. – Peter Grill Jun 18 '11 at 7:00

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