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I have a file with a list of info. Each line has either 12 or 13 fields. For example I will use a file will 3 and 4 fields.

e.g. myfile.txt
user password location date
john passwd1  new_york today
     passwd2  london   yesterday
jeff passwd3  new_york tomorrow

I am looking for a way that would take johns name and copy it to the next line in the blank space.

so far I am trying something like:

Awk '{{if(NF==4) print $0; name=$1}; if(NF==3) print $name,$0}' ./myfile.txt >> ./my_editedfile.txt.

Every time I try, however, it either prints the literal $1, nothing, or the first field of the next line twice. i.e. line two will look like on of the following;

$1 passwd2 london yesterday
passwd2 london yesterday
passwd2 passwd2 london yesterday

Can someone help to set a variable on one line and then use it to print on the following one?

  • Try it with print name, $0... – jasonwryan Sep 2 '15 at 1:52
  • If I try that it will either print the literal $1 or nothing at all – Xentrees Sep 2 '15 at 1:57
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    awk '{if (NF==4) name=$1}; {print (NF==3) ? name $0 : $0 }' file – jasonwryan Sep 2 '15 at 2:32
  • I wasn't sure how this worked. what is the ? and the : for? This looks like it could be really useful in other projects I am working on. – Xentrees Sep 2 '15 at 2:59
  • It's the ternary operator. – jasonwryan Sep 2 '15 at 3:01
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You are pretty close. You don't need the comma or the $ before your variable. Try:

awk '{if (NF == 4) {print $0; name=$1} else {print name$0}}'
  • Ah! this works. The issue was the brackets. I was using {{if()}} changing it to {if(){}} worked perfectly! the Full code was sed -e 's/\t/_/g' -e 's/\( *\) /_/g' /var/tmp/all_disks | awk -F ":|=|_" '/Reallocated/ {if(NF==13){ print $1,$6,$13; name=$1}; if(NF==12) print name,$5,$12}' > /var/tmp/suspect_disks – Xentrees Sep 2 '15 at 2:53

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