Example Data:


In the above file, I want to add a new column in between 12345 and Friday.

How can I do that ?

  • Is your goal achieving this using awk or is it simply inserting a new column? If the latter, then the easiest way would be to use a spreadsheet application like LibreOffice Calc - it can import and export CSV files.
    – Erathiel
    Mar 2, 2015 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


To do not involve some heavy instruments (like sed or awk):

paste -d',' <(cut -d',' -f-2 file) column.file <(cut -d',' -f3- file)

This assumes that the column you want to add is saved in the file column.file.

  • 1
    Neat trick! Never heard of paste... Nov 17, 2022 at 21:29

Assuming your data is as simple as you show, you could do

awk -F, -v OFS=, '{k=$3; $3="\"new text\""; $4=k}1' file


perl -F, -lane 's/$F[1]/$F[1],"new text"/; print' file

However, this will fail with data that can contain nested commas like:

"foo", "bar,baz", "bar" 

The above is a valid csv file but these solutions will treat it as having 4 fields, not 3. If your data can contain cases like that, you should use a proper csv parser instead.

  • In case that all lines in new column is same and == "new text" but in most cases it is not true. If new column is stored in column.file : awk -F, -v OFS=, '{$(NF+1)=$NF; getline $(NF-1) < "column.file"}1' file
    – Costas
    Mar 2, 2015 at 13:00

I just had the same problem, but the cut/paste answer didn't quite work for me as I wanted a blank field, so this worked for me:

  1. Find out how many lines you have in the file you are inserting:

    wc -l file.csv
  2. so let's say 1. gave you 30 then use a bash loop to insert a null field between fields 3 & 4:

    paste -d, <(cut -d, -f-3 file.csv) <(for i in `seq 1 30`; do echo; done) <(cut -d, -f4- file.csv) > fileNew.csv

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .