How to set an absolute path in JavaScript

Absolute file paths can help organize the imports in your JavaScript projects by improving the way import locations are fetched by the compiler.

Relative paths are commonly used, but they can lead to confusion and maintenance challenges, especially in large and complex projects.

You’ll get situations like the example below in which your try to use the previous directory command “../” to find the right folder in your project from where you want to make use of the import.

import MyComponent from '../components/MyComponent';

This can be improved by using an absolute path in your JavaScript project, as follows:

import MyComponent from 'components/MyComponent';

In order to get this result as a Webpack user, you need to update the webpack.config.jso in your JavaScript project and configure the alias of the resolve prop to the location where your store your components e.g. “./src“.

If you’re a react App user then edit the jsconfig.json file and configure the baseUrl to the location where your store your modules e.g. “./src“.

At last, you need to update the imports in your code files to use the absolute path instead of the relative path.

What is an absolute path in JavaScript?

An absolute path in JavaScript is the full path starting from the root of the operating file system up until the working directory.

So let’s say you run your javascript app in /Users/dannysteenman/home/projects/example-project/src/index.js. This is the entry point where you run the top-level code of your JavaScript application.

Then this is the absolute path of your working directory /Users/dannysteenman/home/projects/example-project/src/.

How to Configure JavaScript to Use Absolute Paths

Configuring your JavaScript project to use absolute paths can vary depending on the tools and frameworks you’re using. Here’s a general guide:

For Webpack Users:

  1. Edit Webpack Configuration: Open your webpack.config.js file and add the following configuration:
resolve: {
  alias: {
    components: path.resolve(__dirname, 'src/')
  1. Restart Your Development Server: Make sure to restart your development server to apply the changes.

For React App users

  1. Create or edit the jsconfig.json file in your project root with the following:
  "compilerOptions": {
    "baseUrl": "src"
  1. Restart Your Development Server: As with Webpack, make sure to restart your development server.

Update the module import paths in your code

Once you’ve updated the configurations with the new properties. You can import modules from this:

import MyComponent from '../components/MyComponent';

to a more human-readable way like:

import MyComponent from 'components/MyComponent';


Absolute paths in JavaScript offer a robust and clean way to manage file and module references within your project.

Now that you avoid the use of relative import paths, the readability of your code will improve and it becomes easier to manage growing libraries of complex modules that contain interdependencies.

Whether you’re working with Webpack, Create React App, or other build tools, configuring absolute paths is a worthwhile investment in the quality and maintainability of your codebase.

If you’d like to know how to configure absolute paths in TypeScript you can follow this article that I wrote.

Danny Steenman

A Senior AWS Cloud Engineer with over 9 years of experience migrating workloads from on-premises to AWS Cloud.

I have helped companies of all sizes shape their cloud adoption strategies, optimizing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and improving organizational agility.

Connect with me today to discuss your cloud aspirations, and let’s work together to transform your business by leveraging the power of AWS Cloud.

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