Having a CSV file like this:

"first, column"|"second "some random quotes" column"|"third ol' column"

and looking for result like:

first, column|second "some random quotes" column|third ol' column

in other words removing "FOOTER", quotes in beginning, end and around |.

So far this code works:

sed '/FOOTER/d' csv > csv1 | #remove FOOTER
sed 's/^\"//' csv1 > csv2 | #remove quote at the beginning
sed 's/\"$//' csv2 > csv3 | #remove quote at the end
sed 's/\"|\"/|/g' csv3 > csv4 #remove quotes around pipe

As you see the problem is it creates 4 extra files.

Here is another solution, that has a goal not to create extra files and to do the same thing in a single script. It doesn't work very well.


sed '/begin/, /end/ { 
}' csv > csv4
  • 1
    Since you are having quotes you can have newlines in the fields. your sed is not going to work with that, only with simplified csv. Use a programming language with a library that can handle real CSV files (Python/Perl/Ruby).
    – Anthon
    Sep 12, 2015 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


First of all, as Michael showed, you can just combine all of these into a single command:

sed '/^FOOTER/d; s/^\"//; s/\"$//; s/\"|\"/|/g' csv > csv1

I think some sed implementations can't cope with that and might need:

  sed -e '/^FOOTER/d' -e 's/^\"//' -e 's/\"$//' -e 's/\"|\"/|/g' csv > csv1

That said, it looks like your fields are defined by | and you just want to remove " around the entire field, leaving those that are within the field. In that case, you could do:

$ sed '/FOOTER/d; s/\(^\||\)"/\1/g; s/"\($\||\)/\1/g' csv 
first, column|second "some random quotes" column|third ol' column

Or, with GNU sed:

sed -r '/FOOTER/d; s/(^|\|)"/\1/g; s/"($|\|)/\1/g' csv 

You could also use Perl:

$ perl -F"|" -lane 'next if /FOOTER/; s/^"|"$// for @F; print @F' csv 
first, column|second some random quotes column|third ol' column

This would also work:

sed 's/^"//; s/"|"/|/g; s/""$/"/'


$ echo '"this"|" and "ths""|" and "|" this 2"|" also "this", "thi", "and th""' | 
sed 's/^"//; s/"|"/|/g; s/""$/"/'
this| and "ths"| and | this 2| also "this", "thi", "and th"

pretty version

sed '
  • 1
    This doesn't deal with the footer.
    – terdon
    Sep 12, 2015 at 14:57
  • 3
    But that will remove the last line no matter what its contents. If there is no FOOTER, it will remove wanted data.
    – terdon
    Sep 12, 2015 at 15:46

The sed command that worked for me is:

sed 's/ALA/A/g;s/CYS/C/g;s/ASP/D/g;s/GLU/E/g;s/PHE/F/g;s/GLY/G/g;s/HIS/H/g;s/HID/H/g;s/HIE/H/g;s/ILE/I/g;s/LYS/K/g;s/LEU/L/g;s/MET/M/g;s/ASN/N/g;s/PRO/P/g;s/GLN/Q/g;s/ARG/R/g;s/SER/S/g;s/THR/T/g;s/VAL/V/g;s/TRP/W/g;s/TYR/Y/g;s/MSE/X/g;s/ //g'  < old.txt > new.fasta

The sed commands cannot be piped. It has to be given as a single command.

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