How to format output of ps -p command?

To not show me something like this:

PID TTY                TIME CMD

but just PIDs.

I'm using Linux.

4 Answers 4


Use the -o option to select which columns are displayed. If you put = after the column name, the header line is suppressed.

ps -o pid= -p 1 23 456
ps -o pid= -o ppid= -o pgid= -o sid= -p 1 23 456

Use the --no-headers to have the header line omitted.

Original output:

  PID TTY          TIME CMD
27027 pts/0    00:00:00 bash
27071 pts/0    00:00:00 ps

With --no-headers:

ps --no-headers
27027 pts/0    00:00:00 bash
27072 pts/0    00:00:00 ps

Combining with -p:

ps -p 1 --no-headers
    1 ?        00:00:33 systemd

The man page for ps clearly documents this:

man ps


          Print no header line at all.  --no-heading is an alias for this option.
  • 4
    Doesnt work on macos. Naturall -____- Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 4:49
  • Indeed. Wasn't expected to work on MacOS. Question solely concerned Linux, as highlighted by the original poster.
    – steve
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:53
  • 3
    np steve. Just documenting it here for future readers. The minor differences between BSD and Linux utils is highly irritating. sed is the worst Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 1:52
  • ok thx. if you've any thoughts on how to include MacOS solution in answer I'll happily revise it!
    – steve
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 9:46
  • 2
    i found that for particular column headers, putting a = after the column name to the o flag is a cross-platform way to do this. E.g., ps -p ${pid} -o state= will show the process state for ${pid}, without the header. (Which is what the accepted answer states :) ) Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:17


ps -p <PIDs> --no-headers

to get a list of PIDs without the header.


To get a list of only the PIDs use:

ps -eo pid

See also man ps section 'STANDARD FORMAT SPECIFIERS' for possible colums.

Personally I like the way Solaris shows the possible columns to use for the -o argument:

ps: option requires an argument -- o
usage: ps [ -aAdefHlcjLPyZ ] [ -o format ] [ -t termlist ]
        [ -u userlist ] [ -U userlist ] [ -G grouplist ]
        [ -p proclist ] [ -g pgrplist ] [ -s sidlist ] [ -z zonelist ] [-h lgrplist]
  'format' is one or more of:
        user ruser group rgroup uid ruid gid rgid pid ppid pgid sid taskid ctid
        pri opri pcpu pmem vsz rss osz nice class time etime stime zone zoneid
        f s c lwp nlwp psr tty addr wchan fname comm args projid project pset lgrp
  • 1
    This does not address the issue of removing the header that is displayed.
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 12:44
  • That's how you interpret 'just display PID'. Some can interpret this of just selecting one column, or as you apparently interpret: just values.
    – Lambert
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 14:16

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