I would like to join about 100 files in the same directory column-wise. I have tried

  paste file1 file2 | column -s $'\t' -t

This works fine for 2 files. But when I try to do it for 100 files, I get an error saying

 column: line too long

Could someone please help where I am going wrong?

  • Can you use column -c[num] instead of using -t and paste? Or some combination thereof? – mikeserv Jun 22 '14 at 22:51
  • @mikeserv: Thank you. Could you please let me know if there are unequal number of rows, how does paste function work here? – biobudhan Jun 23 '14 at 11:31
  • I don't know - I don't have your files. – mikeserv Jun 23 '14 at 11:39
  • @mikeserv: I am asking in general how does the paste function work for unequal number of rows – biobudhan Jun 23 '14 at 12:04
  • You know, that could make a very good question on its own - why not ask it? Hope @StephaneChazelas sees it. Here's a hopeful nudge for my part. Sorry I couldn't be of more help here. – mikeserv Jun 23 '14 at 12:46

You don't have any errors. It's the limit of input line length, in bytes, define by column.

#define MAXLINELEN  (LINE_MAX + 1)

LINE_MAX is defined in posix2_lim.h, part of GNU C library:

/* The maximum length, in bytes, of an input line.  */                          
#define _POSIX2_LINE_MAX        2048
#ifndef LINE_MAX                                                                
#define LINE_MAX        _POSIX2_LINE_MAX


  • Thanks @Gnouc. How do I now go about doing the required task? I am new to unix. Please help – biobudhan Jun 22 '14 at 12:01
  • @biobudhan: You can recompile column with no limits MAXLINELEN but I think it not a good point. – cuonglm Jun 22 '14 at 12:52

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