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How can I indent a file such as its first line?


A file containing


should be converted to


I need this inside a shell-script on a Linux system. One-liners are preferred.

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does the first line always start with x=? – amphibient Dec 13 '12 at 16:44
@foampile no, just an example – jofel Dec 13 '12 at 16:48
are you limited to shell or can you use a scripting language? – amphibient Dec 13 '12 at 16:53
@foampile I can use any common script language. Speed is less important. – jofel Dec 13 '12 at 17:03
i was gonna suggest Perl. @Birei below posted a good answer. albeit i am increasingly liking awk as well – amphibient Dec 13 '12 at 17:07
up vote 5 down vote accepted

One way using perl:

perl -pe 'if ($. == 1) { m/^(\s*)/; $space = $1 || q{}; next } s/^\s*/$space/' infile

It yields:

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You can do this in awk:

awk 'NR==1{split($0,a,/[^ \t]/)}{sub(/^[ \t]*/,a[1]);print}' file.in
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With sed:

sed -e '1{h;s/[^[:blank:]].*//;x;b' -e '}' -e 'G;s/[[:blank:]]*\(.*\)\n\(.*\)/\2\1/'
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