I have a text file that I am trying to parse through:

176.9.x.xx - MISS [07/Aug/2017:13:03:59 -0400]  foo.org "GET /foo/bar?page=7 HTTP/1.1" 200 17441 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MegaIndex.ru/2.0; +http://megaindex.com/crawler)" u:192.168.x.x:80 t:0.002

I am really trying to sort by the value t:0.002. ( Not all the values are 0.002, but I am trying to sort this field numerically). Now in a bunch of these entries, I get "t:-" (which I am using the grep -v to ignore).

I know i can use sort but this is where I get stuck:

cat test.txt | grep -v "t:-" | sort -n 

I can't seem to get it to sort by the value "t:". I'm sure I need to add a few more things to the sort command but I'm not sure what. Any suggestions?

  • What seems to be the issue? Your command is working for me as posted. Perhaps your other input lines don't match the one you've posted here?
    – jesse_b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 20:18
  • Your edit didn't clarify anything. I have created several lines all with different values for t: and then executed your sort command and it sorts them properly in numeric order based on the value of t: . This is because everything else on the lines are identical therefore the only thing to sort on is the value of t: . So without knowing if all the fields in your input file are identical there isn't much more I can do without making assumptions.
    – jesse_b
    Aug 7, 2017 at 20:20
  • The command is incorrect as it is not sorting by t:<whatevernumbergoesherethatneedstobesorted>
    – ryekayo
    Aug 7, 2017 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


If it's more reliable that your "t" field is always the last one, you could use a Schwartzian transform of: decorate, sort, un-decorate:

awk '{print substr($NF, 3), $0}' input | sort -n | cut -d ' ' -f2-

Here, awk is printing the last field, stripped of its leading "t:" text; sort then has a nice numeric value to sort by, then we strip the first field back off.


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