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Sample File

a.b.gg3d 0000000001 0000000001 y
a.b.112a 0000000000 0000000001 y
a.b.gg3s 0000000001 0000000001 y
a.b.1111 0000000000 0000000001 m

I have a file that includes about three thousand unique lines, similar to the sample above. I want to use sed to remove the "xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx" numbers from each line. Using the sample above, I would like the sed script to produce the following output:

a.b.gg3d y
a.b.112a y
a.b.gg3s y
a.b.1111 m

How can I accomplish this? Is there a string of commands to tell sed something like "delete all numbers after the first whitespace, but leave the last character"?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Given this input, you want to keep the first and last fields. Pretty simple with awk:

awk '{print $1, $NF}' filename

Using sed, this will replace all space delimited digit-only words:

sed ':a; s/ [[:digit:]]\+ / /; ta'
share|improve this answer
I understand that the s means substitute and the forward slashes are delimiters, but what do the following commands mean? :a; \+ and ; ta – user46865 Sep 10 '13 at 20:19
:a is a label, ta means "go to a": in short, it is a loop – enzotib Sep 10 '13 at 20:31
And sed 's/ [[:digit:] ]\+ / /' can do it the same – enzotib Sep 10 '13 at 20:34
I was thinking along the lines of enzotib, but went with sed 's/[[:space:]][[:digit:]]\+//g' which removes one or more numbers [[:digit:]]\+ proceeded by whitespace (tabs, spaces) [:space:], and also specified /g to the options, to do it for all occurrences (and not just the first) – Drav Sloan Sep 10 '13 at 20:41
The reason I searched for the trailing space in a loop was to avoid matching " 123abc" -- i.e. to ensure that the word was composed only with digits. – glenn jackman Sep 11 '13 at 12:41

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