I have a file with a similar format to the following: Ensure mounting of hfsplus filesystems is disabled Ensure mounting of squashfs filesystems is disabled
1.1.15 Ensure nodev option set on /dev/shm partition
1.1.16 Ensure nosuid option set on /dev/shm partition
1.2.2 Ensure GPG keys are configured
1.3.1 Ensure AIDE is installed

They don't all start with Ensure.

I am trying to import this into a spreadsheet with the first column (the x.x.x.x) in the first column of the spreadsheet.

I need to delimit the first column with, for example, a comma so that LibreOffice can use it as a separator.

How can I change the file to add a comma after the first column so that LibreOffice can use it as a separator using bash?


1 Answer 1


You can use sed for this:

sed 's/ /,/' in > out

This will replace the first space on each line with a comma. If you want to modify the file in place, you can use the -i option. The syntax varies between different implementations of sed. For GNU sed, it's

sed 's/ /,/' -i the.file

For BSD sed, use

sed 's/ /,/' -i '' the.file
  • Welcome to Unix & Linux! Good first post. It's probably worth mentioning that the the -i, --inplace option is only available with GNU sed. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 10:48
  • 1
    @AnthonyGeoghegan Oh, I didn't know that since I never had to use any sed other than GNU.
    – Maya
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 10:49
  • 2
    @AnthonyGeoghegan that is not true... other implementations support -i too, but syntax varies... see unix.stackexchange.com/questions/92895/… and stackoverflow.com/questions/5694228/…
    – Sundeep
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 10:57
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    Many thanks for those links @Sundeep. I'm a GNU user and when I first started posting on SE sites, others commented that the -i wasn't portable. I could check the docs to see that -i is not specified by POSIX but without a BSD-like OS, I couldn't easily test option compatibility. Those links clarify the issue nicely. Thanks again. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 12:19

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