I wrote my script using the the directory ~/deleted (it's a long script). after using ~/deleted for the whole script. I want to let the user choose the directory by putting the path in ~/.rm.cfg.

My file starts like this:



if [ -s ~/.rm.cfg ]
    defaultpath=$(head -1 ~/.rm.cfg)

I need to replace every ~/deleted with $defaultpath in my script. Is there a way to do it in command line such that it saves and replaces the original file?

I can't get either perl or sed to work.

  • The first line defaultpath=~/deleted will be added again after all "~/deleted" strings have been replace by $defaultpath – lonewarrior556 Aug 6 '14 at 17:51
  • Is there a reason why you don't create a new file and then rename that to replace the old file? – celtschk Aug 6 '14 at 18:04
  • 1
    sed should suffice. What did you try? – Bernhard Aug 6 '14 at 18:10
sed -i 's|~/deleted|"$defaultpath"|g' file.sh


  • -i tells sed to modify the file in place.

  • s|~/deleted|"$defaultpath"|g tells sed to replace ~/deleted with "$defaultpath" whereever it finds it.

Extra feature: preserve ~/deleted on the third line

You did not ask for this but, in your example script, it would be nice to leave ~/deleted unchanged on the third line where it is used to define defaultpath. To change all instances of ~/deleted except the one on the third line, use:

sed -i -e '3n' -e 's|~/deleted|"$defaultpath"|g' file.sh

This adds the single sed command 3n which tells sed to skip the third line.

  • I wasn't including the quotes around $defaultpath thank you – lonewarrior556 Aug 6 '14 at 18:58
  • hahha, now you're just showing off – lonewarrior556 Aug 6 '14 at 20:07

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