Learning linux in school and working on manipulating text files at the moment. Looking to learn a few shortcuts here and there along the way. Currently I have a text file with content such as:

First    Last   111 E. Road    New York    NY
First2   Last2  222 w. Road    Newark      NJ

We're supposed to write a script to rearrange the columns and comma delimit instead of tab delimit. What i did was simply cut each field and put into its own tmpfile and then pasted together as such:

paste tmplast tmpfirst tmpstate tmpaddress | tr '\t' ',' > finished

Is there a faster way rather than cutting everything into a tmp file and pasting together? I'm very new to linux and the only commands I've learned for manipulating files are like tr and sed.


1 Answer 1


You can do it in awk like this:

awk 'BEGIN {FS="\t"; OFS=","} {print $2, $1, $5, $3, $4}' file

FS and OFS specify the "(input) field separator" and "output field separator", and then the order in which to print fields can be specified explicitly using the $ notation. (No temporary files needed.)


Last,First,NY,111 E. Road,New York
Last2,First2,NJ,222 w. Road,Newark

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