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I'm working on Solaris 10.What is the easiest way to remove blank lines from multiple files at once?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A quick little script should work. I got this from nixCraft a while a go and it works quite well.

for i in $files
  sed '/^$/d' $i > $i.out
  mv  $i.out $i

Replace $files for your needs.

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It'll be easiest to remove all blank lines:

sed -i.bak '/^$/d' $FILES

This will create a backup with the extension .bak, take that out if you don't want a backup.

If you want to remove lines with whitespace (and only whitespace) too, add \W*:

sed -i.bak '/^\W*$/d' $FILES

And this works with the --posix option in gnu sed (turns off gnu extensions, so I think this should work on solaris):

sed -i.bak '/^[ \t]*$/d' $FILES

Add more whitespace characters if necessary.

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That would've been perfect if I had GNU sed available. I should've mention that. I'm editing my question. – rahmu Dec 13 '11 at 16:35
I've added a line; if that one doesn't work, then which part doesn't work/behave the same? – Kevin Dec 13 '11 at 16:42
The -i option is unfortunately not available. I just got home and tried it, and it worked as expected on Debian. – rahmu Dec 13 '11 at 18:44

Different ways to only remove trailing empty lines:

printf %s\\n "$(cat file)"|sponge file
tac file|awk /./,0|tac|sponge file
perl -0777 -pi -e 's/\n*$/\n/' file
gsed -i ':1;/^\n*$/{$d;N;b1}' file
bsdsed -i '' -e :1 -e '/^\n*$/{$d;N;b1' -e '}' file

Command substitutions remove all trailing linefeeds, so for example echo "$(printf 'a\n\n')b" prints ab.

sponge is from moreutils.

Replace tac with tail -r in BSD.

perl -0777 sets $_ to the whole input and -p prints $_ after each line. See man perlrun.

: sets a label, b branches to a label, $d deletes the pattern space on the last line, and N appends the next line to the pattern space.

GNU sed allows semicolons after : and b but POSIX and BSD sed don't. -i works with GNU sed but not BSD sed and -i '' works with BSD sed but not GNU sed.

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You can use the following single line command to remove blank lines across multiple files

find directoryname -name "filename" -print | xargs sed -i '/^$/d'

If for example you want to remove the blank lines from all the files found within the current directory and its sub-directories, you can use the following command:

find . -name "*.*" -print | xargs sed -i '/^$/d'
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