There is a text file, with aboot 10000+ lines, in the format:

field1 field2 field3 field4 field5 ... fieldX

It needs to be converted to look like:

field1,field2,field4,field3,field5 to fieldX

The last field must contain everything from field5 until the end of the line. And the final output must be exported to a csv file.

Therefore, for:

123 abc XYZ qwe Abcd Efgh Iklmno Pqr Stu

The output should look like:

123,abc,qwe,XYZ,Abcd Efgh Iklmno Pqr Stu

This is what I am using to try and achieve the desired output:

awk '{printf $1 "," $2 "," $4 "," $3 ",";{for(i=5; i<NF; i++) printf "%s",$i OFS; if(NF) printf "%s",$NF; printf ORS}}' file.txt > file1.txt

(echo "Heading1,H2,H3,H4,H5" ; cat file1.txt) > file.csv

The desired output is generating a new line at the end of every entry, I am not entirely sure why. I am very new to awk and Unix, in general. Any form of help is appreciated.

  • Works fine for me. Can you provide more details.
    – John1024
    Nov 25, 2015 at 3:55
  • There is another step that send this file via mail: mutt -a "/path/to/file1.csv" -- [email protected] The resultant csv file has a blank line at the end of every entry. So, there is a row with data, then a blank row, another row of data followed by a blank row.. and so on.
    – Cartwig
    Nov 25, 2015 at 4:20
  • So, if you run cat /path/to/file1.csv, do you see those blank lines? Or, do you just see them in the email?
    – John1024
    Nov 25, 2015 at 4:28
  • No, there are no blank lines seen when cat file1.csv is run. The email is sent to a recipient using a Windows machine. When the file is opened on Microsoft Excel, the blanks are seen.
    – Cartwig
    Nov 25, 2015 at 4:31
  • John, I found this article which helped me fix my issue: link. @danben says The ORS (output record separator) variable in AWK defaults to "\n" and is printed after every line. You can change it to " ". Thanks to the both of you!
    – Cartwig
    Nov 25, 2015 at 7:39

1 Answer 1


Found the solution here awk without printing newline.

The ORS (output record separator) variable in AWK defaults to "\n" and is printed after every line.

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