I have file1:


File2 I want:


Basically numerically sort of file1.

  • 2
    When I run a plain Unix sort on your File1, with no options, I get your File2. What are you doing differently?  What are you leaving out of this question? Sep 28, 2017 at 4:49

4 Answers 4


I like the -V / --version-sort option found in a few implementations of sort (from GNU sort): it behaves very well for many situations mixing strings and numbers

sort -V

I use this option very often...

In the same direction, with some implementations of ls, ls -v for version-sort ls (from GNU ls).


You need to tell sort -n to sort on the part after the =:

sort -t = -k 2n
  • 4
    @KasiyA -k defines a sort key. See the man page for details. -k2n defines a sort key starting at the second field and ending at the end of the line and makes it a numeric sort key. Nov 21, 2014 at 10:45

I found that, you just run sort -h, it will work. They call it --human-numberic-sort.

sort -h file1 > file2
  • Can't edit due to the strike — the options are -h and --human-numeric-sort
    – user598527
    Jun 9 at 11:31

use sort:

sort -n file1 > file2

-n, --numeric-sort
compare according to string numerical value

 sort -g file1 > file 2

-g, --general-numeric-sort

  • 3
    No, all those lines have the same ranking with sort -n since they don't start with a number. The reason it sorts them is the last-resort full-line sort (lexically, not numerically) done for lines with the same ranking. That would sort "$lvl=17" before "$lvl=2". Nov 21, 2014 at 10:02
  • @StéphaneChazelas thanks for pointing out.
    – Hackaholic
    Nov 21, 2014 at 10:12
  • To paraphrase, -n and -g are redundant here as the input is not numerical. So this answer is misleading, hence the downvote (also note that -g and the long options are GNU specific). Nov 21, 2014 at 10:15
  • but -g is good general-numeric-sort
    – Hackaholic
    Nov 21, 2014 at 10:16
  • That's still for sorting numerical values, the difference with -n is that it's not limited to decimal integers. That would still sort "$lvl=17" before "$lvl=2" as part of the last-resort sorting. Nov 21, 2014 at 10:18

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