I'm trying to parse a usage message like:

  docker-compose [-f <arg>...] [options] [COMMAND] [ARGS...]
  docker-compose -h|--help
  build              Build or rebuild services
  bundle             Generate a Docker bundle from the Compose file

to grab the Command names only. So I'm looking to skip all lines up to and including the Commands: line, then print the first word on all following lines, i.e.


Currently I'm doing

docker-compose --help | sed -e '1,/Commands:/d' | awk '{ print $1 }'

and while this works, I suspect I could do the whole thing with a single awk. The closest I've got so far is:

docker-compose --help | awk '/Commands:/,0 { print $1 }'

But that includes the matched Commands: line. Can it be done?


If you mark the presence of your fence, then you can use it to decide to print the next line and after like:

awk 'x==1 {print $1} /Commands:/ {x=1}'
  • This is great, thanks. It looks like I don't even need the ,0 anymore. – ivan Jun 20 '17 at 1:26
  • 1
    note that print $1 only prints the first word. use print or print $0 to print the whole line – Chris Maes Aug 29 '18 at 12:15

Note that 1,/Commands:/d easily translates to awk like:

awk 'NR==1, $1 == "Commands:" {next}; NF {print $1}'

A difference with sed is that it will also work if Command: is on the first line.

And the NF {print $1} can be translated to sed:

sed -n '1,/^Commands:/!s/^[[:blank:]]*\([^[:blank:]]\{1,\}\).*/\1/p'
sed -n '/Commands:/,$p' filename | awk 'NR!=1{print $1}'

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