NAME [Toc] [Back]
cut - cut out (extract) selected fields of each line of a file
SYNOPSIS [Toc] [Back]
cut -c list [file ...]
cut -b list [-n] [file ...]
cut -f list [-d char] [-s] [file ...]
DESCRIPTION [Toc] [Back]
cut cuts out (extracts) columns from a table or fields from each line
in a file; in data base parlance, it implements the projection of a
relation. Fields as specified by list can be fixed length (defined in
terms of character or byte position in a line when using the -c or -b
option), or the length can vary from line to line and be marked with a
field delimiter character such as the tab character (when using the -f
option). cut can be used as a filter; if no files are given, the
standard input is used.
When processing single-byte character sets, the -c and -b options are
equivalent and produce identical results. When processing multi-byte
character sets, when the -b and -n options are used together, their
combined behavior is very similar, but not identical to the -c option.
Options [Toc] [Back]
Options are interpreted as follows:
list A comma-separated list of integer byte (-b
option), character (-c option), or field (-f
option) numbers, in increasing order, with
optional - to indicate ranges. For example:
1,4,7 Positions 1, 4, and 7.
1-3,8 Positions 1 through 3 and 8.
-5,10 Positions 1 through 5 and 10.
3- Position 3 through last position.
-b list Cut based on a list of bytes. Each selected byte
is output unless the -n option is also specified.
-c list Cut based on character positions specified by list
(-c 1-72 extracts the first 72 characters of each
-f list Where list is a list of fields assumed to be
separated in the file by a delimiter character
(see -d); for example, -f 1,7 copies the first and
seventh field only. Lines with no field
delimiters will be passed through intact (useful
for table subheadings), unless -s is specified.
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-d char The character following -d is the field delimiter
(-f option only). Default is tab. Space or other
characters with special meaning to the shell must
be quoted. Adjacent field delimiters delimit null
fields. char may be an international code set
-n Do not split characters. If the high end of a
range within a list is not the last byte of a
character, that character is not included in the
output. However, if the low end of a range within
a list is not the first byte of a character, the
entire character is included in the output."
-s Suppresses lines with no delimiter characters when
using -f option. Unless -s is specified, lines
with no delimiters appear in the output without
Hints [Toc] [Back]
Use grep to extract text from a file based on text pattern recognition
(using regular expressions). Use paste to merge files line-by-line in
columnar format. To rearrange columns in a table in a different
sequence, use cut and paste. See grep(1) and paste(1) for more
EXTERNAL INFLUENCES [Toc] [Back]
LC_CTYPE determines the interpretation of text as single and/or
If LC_CTYPE is not specified in the environment or is set to the empty
string, the value of LANG is used as a default for each unspecified or
empty variable. If LANG is not specified or is set to the empty
string, a default of "C" (see lang(5)) is used instead of LANG. If
any internationalization variable contains an invalid setting, cut
behaves as if all internationalization variables are set to "C". See
International Code Set Support [Toc] [Back]
cut supports both single- and multi-byte character code sets.
International code set characters may be specified in the char given
to the -d option. cut recognizes the international code set characters
according to the locale specified in the LC_CTYPE environment
EXAMPLES [Toc] [Back]
Password file mapping of user ID to user names:
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cut -d : -f 1,5 /etc/passwd
Set environment variable name to current login name:
name=`who am i | cut -f 1 -d " "`
Convert file source containing lines of arbitrary length into two
files where file1 contains the first 500 bytes (unless the 500th byte
is within a multi-byte character), and file2 contains the remainder of
cut -b 1-500 -n source > file1
cut -b 500- -n source > file2
DIAGNOSTICS [Toc] [Back]
line too long Line length must not exceed LINE_MAX characters or
fields, including the new-line character (see
bad list for b/c/f option
Missing -b, -c, or -f option or incorrectly specified
list. No error occurs if a line has fewer fields than
the list calls for.
no fields list is empty.
WARNINGS [Toc] [Back]
cut does not expand tabs. Pipe text through expand(1) if tab
expansion is required.
Backspace characters are treated the same as any other character. To
eliminate backspace characters before processing by cut, use the fold
or col command (see fold(1) and col(1)).
AUTHOR [Toc] [Back]
cut was developed by OSF and HP.
SEE ALSO [Toc] [Back]
STANDARDS CONFORMANCE [Toc] [Back]
cut: SVID2, SVID3, XPG2, XPG3, XPG4, POSIX.2
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