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I have four text files each containing a single field. I want to convert them into a single text file with four fields (one from each file). How can I do this using shell scripting.

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This should do:

paste file_1 file_2 file_3 file_4

If you want pretty printing (given that the number of lines are same for all the files), then:

paste 1 2 3 4 | column -t
  • note that column is likely to break things for files that don't have the same number of lines. – peterph Feb 3 '15 at 19:49
  • @peterph: yes, edited. – heemayl Feb 3 '15 at 19:50
  • @peterph - depends what switches his/her version of column accepts... see glenn jackman's answer here - it works fine with files that don't have the same number of lines. – don_crissti Feb 3 '15 at 21:11
  • @don_crissti "... is likely to break things..." You'll have to fiddle with it to make sure things will be what you want them to be. – peterph Feb 4 '15 at 13:38
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The paste command does exactly what you're looking for, and the good news is that it's POSIX-standard, so it's available effectively everywhere.

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