Questions about either the shell builtin or `/bin/echo`. This tag should not be used if your question is simply about printing to the terminal, only apply it if your question is specific to the `echo` command.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

154
votes
5answers
53k views

Why is printf better than echo?

I have heard that printf is better than echo and I can recall only one instance from my experience where I had to use printf because echo didn't work for feeding some text into some program on RHEL ...
85
votes
3answers
8k views

Why is “echo” so much faster than “touch”?

I'm trying to update the timestamp to the current time on all of the xml files in my directory (recursively). I'm using Mac OSX 10.8.5. On about 300,000 files, the following echo command takes 10 ...
27
votes
5answers
6k views

How to echo a bang!

I tried to create a script by echo'ing the contents into a file, instead of opening it with a editor echo -e "#!/bin/bash \n /usr/bin/command args" > .scripts/command The output: bash: ...
24
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does echo >file use more real time than echo | sed >file?

The example, below, surprised me. It seems to be counter intuitive... aside from the fact that there is a whisker more user time for the echo | sed combo. Why is echo using so much sys time when it ...
18
votes
4answers
13k views

How to delete line with echo?

I know that I could delete the last three chars with: echo -ne '\b\b\b' But how can I delete a full line? I mean I dont want to use: echo -ne ...
15
votes
3answers
25k views

How do I set an environment variable on the command line and have it appear in commands?

If I run export TEST=foo echo $TEST It outputs foo. If I run TEST=foo echo $TEST It does not. How can I get this functionality without using export or a script?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What does echo $-1 display?

What does the output of echo $-1, echo $-2, echo $-3.. mean? On one of my Linux boxes, it shows me: echo $-1 imsBEl1 echo $-2 imsBEl2 And on another Linux box, it shows: echo $-1 himBH1 echo $-2 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

why 'echo --help' doesn't give me help page of echo?

I tried 'man echo' in Bash and it told me that 'echo --help' will display help then exit, and similarly, that 'echo --version' will output version and exit. But why it doesn't work ? 'echo --help' ...
11
votes
6answers
983 views

What is the reverse of echo -e?

If I have a string with nonprintable characters, new lines, or tabs, is there a way I can use echo to print this string and show codes for these characters (e.g., \n for new line, \b for backspace)?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What defines the maximum size for a command single argument?

I was under the impression that the maximum length of a single argument was not the problem here so much as the total size of the overall argument array plus the size of the environment, which is ...
9
votes
3answers
593 views

Why does “wc -c” print a value of one more with echo?

When running echo abcd | wc -c it returns 5. But the word abcd is only 4 characters long. Is echo printing some special character after the word abcd? And can I prevent echo from printing that? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Using sed to color the output from a command on solaris

I have a ksh script that must work on both linux and solaris. I'm trying to color the output of specific commands. It works on linux (specifically RHEL6), but not on solaris (SunOS 5.10). Command ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I create a file with multiple lines from the command-line?

How can I enter the following contents in a file: Hi abcd I tried using echo "Hi\nabcd" >> ab.txt, but in the file it's written as is (the \n is included, instead of a newline)
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Append same text to many files using cat or echo?

How can I write the same content to many text files by using cat or echo in only one command? For example I want to write "hello" to file1 and file2. I tried: echo "hello" >> file1 file2 ...
8
votes
4answers
17k views

printing colored text using echo

I know that for printing a colored text using echo, for example red color, the code is: echo -e "\e[1;31m This is red text \e[0m" and I know that in this example, 31 is code of red color and the ...
7
votes
3answers
451 views

in Bash, how to not include extra arguments in an alias?

I am trying to do something like alias ftp='echo do not use ftp. Use sftp instead.' just so that ftp will not be accidentally used. But I noticed that ftp abcd.com will cause the command to ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

timestamp before an echo

Exists a nicer way to create timestamp in front of an echo? Currently I do it this way: #!/bin/sh if mount | grep -q /mnt/usb; then echo `date +%R\ ` "usb device already mounted" else ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Escape sequences with “echo -e” in different shells

I just noticed that it seems like the flag -e does not exist for the echo command in my shell on Linux. Is this just a messed up setting or is it "normal"? Some code as an example: #!/bin/sh echo -e ...
6
votes
4answers
443 views

Back to back Pipes into a Command

Is there a way to pipe back to back values into a command? e.g. If I can command.pl and want to pipe in response, then y to confirm (because it doesn't have a way to auto confirm)? I've tried echo ...
6
votes
3answers
475 views

How do I print '-e' with echo?

I know that echo -e is not an ordinary command. I have tried echo '-e' and echo \-e but they still don`t work.
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between echo `date`, echo “`date`”, and echo '`date`'?

What is the difference between these three commands? echo `date` echo "`date`" echo '`date`' I am confused on what the differences actually are. I think that when the ' are around it means that it ...
6
votes
3answers
751 views

adding an empty first line inside csv file

I input data into a csv by 'echo'-ing some values into another csv. I tried echo "" and in the next line echo "values" but i get intermittent empty lines.. I need empty line only at the start....
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Unix: how to read line's original content from file

I have a data file, the content is as follows: department: customer service section: A department: marketing section: A department: finance section: A When I read each line, I ...
6
votes
1answer
407 views

differences between echo“”> and > command

I am new to Linux. There is something that is unclear to me. What is the difference between echo "" > logfile and > logfile ? When I run the first one, the logfile size doesn't become zero ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Unexpected results testing serial loopback using echo and cat

So I have a standard RS232 serial port that is looped back to itself by simply running a wire from Tx to Rx. I'm testing loopback by running echo and cat in two separate terminals: cat /dev/ttyS1 ...
5
votes
3answers
726 views

Why does “$ sudo echo 'yo' ” work even though echo is a shell built in function? [duplicate]

I understand that sudo cd /directory will return: sudo: cd: command not found because cd is a shell builtin and not a binary. But then, why does sudo echo 'this is a test' works fine? What ...
5
votes
4answers
12k views

Why is echo ignoring my quote characters?

The echo command isn't including the complete text that I give it. For example, if I do: $ echo ' echo PARAM=` grep $ARG /var/tmp/setfile | awk '{print $2}' ` ' It outputs: echo PARAM=` ...
5
votes
2answers
587 views

Quoted vs unquoted string expansion

for i in $(xrandr); do echo "$i" ; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo "$i"; done for i in "$(xrandr)"; do echo $i; done I understand why 1 differs from 2. But why does 3 give a different output ...
5
votes
2answers
201 views

echo of a string with an exclamation point

Here are what I put in bash and the results I got about 'echo': $ echo '!$' !$ $ echo "!$" echo "'!$'" '!$' I'd like to know how 'echo' deals with the second input. It seems to me that ...
5
votes
3answers
747 views

Construct a command by putting a string into a tty

I managed to do this echo -n "command" > /dev/tty1 The letters appear, and the cursor moves, but they are "ghosts" - if you hit enter, nothing happens (they are not in stdin). Edit: In the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

print command instead of echo in linux

I simply can print a message in terminal using linux echo command. prayag@prayag$ echo "prayag works on JVM" prayag works on JVM Can I have the same output with print command. I actually went ...
4
votes
3answers
147 views

How do I capture stdin to a variable without stripping any trailing newlines?

In a shell script... How do I capture stdin to a variable without stripping any trailing newlines? Right now I have tried: var=`cat` var=`tee` var=$(tee) In all cases $var will not have the ...
4
votes
2answers
328 views

Why am I observing different behaviour of echo?

I am a bash beginner and observed the below behavior of echo #!/bin/bash x=" hello" echo $x echo "$x" Now when I run the above code I get ronnie@ronnie:~$ bash test.sh hello hello ...
4
votes
4answers
708 views

Bash Scripting : Printing column data in the same row

I have written a bash script to calculate the size of a PostgreSQL database and print the output along with the date when the script was executed in a text file. The script code is as follows: ...
4
votes
1answer
618 views

Printing colored text using script

When I type below command in the shell I get the OUTPUT in green color. Command echo "\033[32mCONNECTING TO abpwrk\033[m"; Output(in green color) CONNECTING TO abpwrk But if I use the same ...
4
votes
3answers
218 views

Add text with echo but start with new line if file not empty

I'm trying to create next script echo "#!/bin/sh" >/script echo "del x.txt" >>/script witch is ok if /script file is empty, if not - will append first line to last text #!/bin/sh del ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

Ubuntu unattended install : echo keypress to dialog

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server 64 My unattended-mode bootstrap.sh script contains: apt-get upgrade -y I know that during execution a primitive UI for GRUB installation will be shown which requires ...
3
votes
2answers
340 views

Weird output by echo

I was playing with echo $$ a while back. Well that displays that pid of the shell. But then I did echo ! which promptly displayed !. Then echo !! produced echo echo ! echo ! $echo !!! gave echo ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

Why doesn't text piped into an echo get outputted?

Why doesn't this command output "1"? echo 1 | echo I imagine it working this way: 1. echo 1 (outputs 1) 2. | echo (takes the 1 as an input, then echos it) Isn't this what should happen?
3
votes
2answers
204 views

How do I echo a lot of content in a bash script?

I would like to do echo "[this thing]" This thing is \documentclass{article} \usepackage{rotating} \usepackage{pdfpages} \usepackage{verbatim} \usepackage{amsmath, amsfonts, amssymb, textcomp, ...
3
votes
3answers
244 views

Split a returned block of text into lines in terminal?

When I give commands like echo $PATH or which program, I often get a very large block of text consisting of may directories. This is fairly useless, if I am for example, looking to see if there is or ...
3
votes
4answers
234 views

How can I print “-n” with `echo`?

I feel really stupid, yet I can't figure how to print the string "-n" with the over 30 years-old command echo. I tried these: Michaels:Scripts$ echo -n Michaels:Scripts$ echo "-n" Michaels:Scripts$ ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

Command in variable one are affecting output of other variable when displayed together in UNIX

I am having two file naming Extra_info and Class_info Class_info contains data : stuId stuName stuClass S01 jagdeep First S02 harsh First S03 Roop Second S04 Kali Third ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

How can I trim the carriage return from text that is being piped in bash?

I'm using this command to get my last typed command: history | cut -c 8- | tail -n 2 | head -n 1 It works very well in bash, removing the line numbers, but there is one problem I have with it, (er, ...
3
votes
2answers
221 views

How do I echo an expression with both single and double quotes?

I have tried many things, but I'm new to the shell. Is it possible to have both double and single quotes within an echo? I want to generate echo "scan 'LPV',{FILTER => "(PrefixFilter ...
3
votes
1answer
336 views

Shell script doesn't paint last line of stdout to screen without user input

I have a shell script that's happily doing all my backup process and writing progress to stderr and stdout, with one exception — the last line doesn't get written to my terminal (if I call the script ...
3
votes
3answers
106 views

Print a message from the left-hand side of a pipe

I want to use a variable from the main shell in a sub shell. I did: export mysql_root_password="test" ( echo $mysql_root_password ) | dialog --gauge "Working hard..." 6 50 There is no output. ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

What is the format for piping a message into sendmail?

I am using the following command to create messages on the fly, and send them: echo "Subject:Hello \n\n I would like to buy a hamburger\n" | sendmail email@example.com It seems that when you send ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

Bash - echo line by line, ignoring the space between the lines

I had read the post on: bash - replace space with new line, but it does not helped to solve my issue. [My Directory] [root@testlabs Config]# ls Archive Backup_Files config_file.tgz ...
3
votes
1answer
369 views

Prevent hanging of “echo STRING > fifo” when nothing is reading that FIFO

When I echo something to a named pipe made with mkfifo, it hangs if no process is reading from that pipe. How can I prevent that, i.e., stop that from hanging? And by the way, why is that hanging ...