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Linux® Desk Reference, Second Edition by Scott Hawkins

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Introduction

The commands in this section do bulk modification of the contents of text files. They are intended for work on data files (output from spreadsheets, databases, etc.), rather than regular natural language text. In general, these commands can

  • chop files horizontally or vertically

  • sort the file contents

  • compress or expand spaces in a file

  • reformat the file to a new width

A delimiter is a character (e.g., a space, a colon, a bar, or just about anything else) that indicates the end of a word. For example, the space is one delimiter for regular English sentences. The colon (“:”) is the delimiter for the /etc/passwd file.

If you're looking for something more along the lines of a general purpose editor of text files, see Chapter 20.

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