A path or pathname is a kind of address for a file on disk. It includes the name of the disk on which the file resides, the names of the folders the file is stored within, and the name of the file itself. For example, the pathname for a file named Letter.rtf in the Documents folder of the mlanger folder shown in Figure 4 would be: Macintosh HD/Users/mlanger/Documents/Letter.rtf
When entering a pathname from a specific folder, you don't have to enter the entire pathname. Instead, enter the path as it relates to the current folder. For example, the path to the above-mentioned file from the mlanger folder would be: Documents/Letter.rtf
To indicate a specific user folder, use the tilde (~) character followed by the name of the user account. So the path to the mlanger folder ( Figure 4 ) would be: ~mlanger. (You can omit the user name if you want to open your own user folder.)
To indicate the top level of your computer, use a slash (/) character. So the path to eMac 800 ( Figure 1 ) would be: /
When used as part of a longer pathname, the slash character indicates the root level of your hard disk. So /Applications/AppleScript would indicate the AppleScript folder inside the Applications folder on your hard disk.
Don't worry if this sounds confusing to you. Fortunately, you don't really need to know it to use Mac OS X. It's just a good idea to be familiar with the concept of pathnames in case you run across it while working with your computer.