Next: , Up: Operating on fields   [Contents][Index]


8.1 cut: Print selected parts of lines

cut writes to standard output selected parts of each line of each input file, or standard input if no files are given or for a file name of ‘-’. Synopsis:

cut option… [file]…

In the table which follows, the byte-list, character-list, and field-list are one or more numbers or ranges (two numbers separated by a dash) separated by commas. Bytes, characters, and fields are numbered starting at 1. Incomplete ranges may be given: -m means ‘1-m’; ‘n-’ means ‘n’ through end of line or last field. The list elements can be repeated, can overlap, and can be specified in any order; but the selected input is written in the same order that it is read, and is written exactly once.

The program accepts the following options. Also see Common options.

-b byte-list
--bytes=byte-list

Select for printing only the bytes in positions listed in byte-list. Tabs and backspaces are treated like any other character; they take up 1 byte. If an output delimiter is specified, (see the description of --output-delimiter), then output that string between ranges of selected bytes.

-c character-list
--characters=character-list

Select for printing only the characters in positions listed in character-list. The same as -b for now, but internationalization will change that. Tabs and backspaces are treated like any other character; they take up 1 character. If an output delimiter is specified, (see the description of --output-delimiter), then output that string between ranges of selected bytes.

-f field-list
--fields=field-list

Select for printing only the fields listed in field-list. Fields are separated by a TAB character by default. Also print any line that contains no delimiter character, unless the --only-delimited (-s) option is specified.

Note awk supports more sophisticated field processing, and by default will use (and discard) runs of blank characters to separate fields, and ignore leading and trailing blanks.

awk '{print $2}'    # print the second field
awk '{print $NF-1}' # print the penultimate field
awk '{print $2,$1}' # reorder the first two fields

In the unlikely event that awk is unavailable, one can use the join command, to process blank characters as awk does above.

join -a1 -o 1.2     - /dev/null # print the second field
join -a1 -o 1.2,1.1 - /dev/null # reorder the first two fields
-d input_delim_byte
--delimiter=input_delim_byte

With -f, use the first byte of input_delim_byte as the input fields separator (default is TAB).

-n

Do not split multi-byte characters (no-op for now).

-s
--only-delimited

For -f, do not print lines that do not contain the field separator character. Normally, any line without a field separator is printed verbatim.

--output-delimiter=output_delim_string

With -f, output fields are separated by output_delim_string. The default with -f is to use the input delimiter. When using -b or -c to select ranges of byte or character offsets (as opposed to ranges of fields), output output_delim_string between non-overlapping ranges of selected bytes.

--complement

This option is a GNU extension. Select for printing the complement of the bytes, characters or fields selected with the -b, -c or -f options. In other words, do not print the bytes, characters or fields specified via those options. This option is useful when you have many fields and want to print all but a few of them.

-z
--zero-terminated

Delimit items with a zero byte rather than a newline (ASCII LF). I.e., treat input as items separated by ASCII NUL and terminate output items with ASCII NUL. This option can be useful in conjunction with ‘perl -0’ or ‘find -print0’ and ‘xargs -0’ which do the same in order to reliably handle arbitrary file names (even those containing blanks or other special characters).

An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value indicates failure.


Next: , Up: Operating on fields   [Contents][Index]