I have a large CSV file. One of the fields contains an error. This error appears as a new line in the file.

Since now i've been using notepad++ with this command to correct the problem :

\r";" => ";"

How can I do the same with sed ?

I've already tried

sed -i 's/\r";"/";"/g' /path/file.csv
sed -i 's/^";"/";"/g' /path/file.csv

no success, someone here know probably the right command

  • 1
    It'll be better if you show part of original text with some lines before and after error line – Costas Nov 30 '14 at 11:55
  • Is it the CR character (0x12) or the two characters backslash and r? – Stéphane Chazelas Nov 30 '14 at 12:07
  • 3
    For me sed -i 's/\r";"/";"/g' works (GNU sed 4.2.2). You should prepare a file with a short test line and give us the exact file content with od -t c -t x1 file. – Hauke Laging Nov 30 '14 at 12:08
  • tr -d "\r" will delete the carriage returns. – bsd Nov 30 '14 at 13:10
  • `---this should be only in one line --- "1289665","first name","JSKTRADES ","2014-02-24 06:44:56","0","JSK International Trading Company","" --------- at the end of the third row content i got a carriage return – erave Nov 30 '14 at 17:54

It is important to understand that sed works on a line by line basis. What sed does is basically : read a line into its buffer without the newline, execute your commands on the buffer, print the buffer (provided you haven't specified the -n flag), read the next line into its buffer, etc. So to merge two lines with sed requires that you explicitly force sed to treat more than a single line at a time. To do that, the N, P and D commands are your friend.

Now for your specific problem, to give you a specific and tested answer would require you to put a specific type of input, but here are some examples of what can be done :

This will merge every two lines together :

sed $'N;s/[\\n\r]//g'

or if you are sure to always have \r\n line endings :

sed 'N;s/.\n//'

For a more tailored approach to what I understood of your question, although not the best solution, this should do the work provided you use bash or another shell that supports C escape via the $'str' construct :

sed $':l;N;/\r\\n";"/{;s/\r\\n";"/";"/g;n;};bl'

or without the C-style escape construct and with \r\n line endings (non-negotiable) :

sed ':l;N;/\n";"/{;s/.\n";"/";"/g;n;};bl'

What it does is basically append the next line to its buffer (N) and test for the string you want (/\r\\n";"/). The script loops (bl --> branch to label :l defined at the beginning) as long as it doesn't find a match. When a match is found, it executes the sed script between the curly braces : replace all occurrences of \r\\n";" by ";" (s/\r\\n";"/";"/g) and flush the buffer and input the next line (n).

Of course, if the file is big and the "errors" are infrequent, this could run for a long time and take a lot of memory. If this is the case, another algorithm could be used, but I would need to have a better example of what you are up against to be sure that I understood your problem correctly.

Also, if you would like to learn a little more about sed, I strongly recommend this site which might not have the best background color, but is the best tutorial of sed out there IMO.


If you can live with a perl solution:

perl -pe 's/\r";"/";"/g' foo.csv >foo_r.csv

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