Chapter 5. Printing Output

One of the most common programming actions is to print, or output, some or all of the input. Use the print statement for simple output, and the printf statement for fancier formatting. The print statement is not limited when computing which values to print. However, with two exceptions, you cannot specify how to print them—how many columns, whether to use exponential notation or not, and so on. (For the exceptions, see Output Separators and Controlling Numeric Output with print.) For printing with specifications, you need the printf statement (see Using printf Statements for Fancier Printing).

Besides basic and formatted printing, this chapter also covers I/O redirections to files and pipes, introduces the special filenames that gawk processes internally, and discusses the close() built-in function.

The print Statement

Use the print statement to produce output with simple, standardized formatting. You specify only the strings or numbers to print, in a list separated by commas. They are output, separated by single spaces, followed by a newline. The statement looks like this:

print item1, item2, …

The entire list of items may be optionally enclosed in parentheses. The parentheses are necessary if any of the item expressions uses the ‘>’ relational operator; otherwise it could be confused with an output redirection (see Redirecting Output of print and printf).

The items to print can be constant strings or numbers, fields of the current record (such as $1), variables, ...

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