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I want to output a range of columns from a file, where the range is set by two variables.

Really struggling with this. I imagine cut is the best tool, but as far as I'm aware it doesn't accept variables to designate the range.

It's a tab delimited file. I've tried:

Column=8401    

awk -F $'\t' -v c=$Column '{ for (x=1; x<=c; x++) {  printf "%s\n", $x } }' ~/file.txt > ~/file1.txt

But that doesn't work (aim being to select the column range of 1 to 8401).

To give an example of Input and Output:

ColumnStart=1    
ColumnEnd=3

Input:

12   33   55   23   13   88

Using the $column variable I would output $ColumnStart to $ColumnEnd

Output:

12   33   55
3

Use the variables like this:

cut -f${ColumnStart}-${ColumnEnd}

(assuming the variables always contain appropriate values...).

  • Well I'll be a monkeys uncle! Brilliant, thank you. I've used similar methods to separate variables from things, but didn't even try it in cut because i spoke to a number of people that said cut wouldn't except a variable unless its input being piped into it! – Giles Dec 22 '16 at 17:58
  • 2
    It works because the variable is expanded by the shell before the argument is passed to cut. – DopeGhoti Dec 22 '16 at 18:04

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