I have a text file separated by space as follows. I need to re-arrange the columns so that the first column is at the end of each line.

I have an idea of how this could be done using cut -d' ' f1 but I'm wondering if there is an easy way with awk or sed.

Text File:

™️       trade mark
ℹ️       information
↔️..↙️    left-right arrow..down-left arrow
↩️..↪️    right arrow curving left..left arrow curving right
⌚..⌛    watch..hourglass done
⌨️       keyboard
⏏️       eject button
⏩..⏳    fast-forward button..hourglass not done
⏸️..⏺️    pause button..record button
Ⓜ️       circled M
▪️..▫️    black small square..white small square
▶️       play button
◀️       reverse button

Want symbol list to follow description instead.

4 Answers 4


Use sed

sed 's/\([^ ]*\) *\(.*\)/\2 \1/' infile

This \([^ ]*\) will match everything until a non-space characters seen.
The parentheses \(...\) is used to made a group matching which its index would be \1.

The \(.*\) matches everything after first group and it's indexed \2.
The * in \(...\) *\(...\) out of matched groups will ignore to print in output which is matching spaces between group 1 and 2, you could use \s* (with GNU sed) or [[:space:]]* (standardly) instead to match any spacing characters instead of just ASCII SPC as well.

Then at the end first we are printing matched group2 than group1 with a space between.

awk '{first = $1; $1=""; print $0, first}' file.txt

Store the first column in a variable, write blank to the first column, print the whole line ($0$ is the whole line, now with the first column blanked) followed by the first column.

  • I had to move the last column to the beginning of the file and this worked perfectly. my code was awk '{last = $32; $32=""; print last,$0}' oldfile.txt > newfile.txt
    – pietro
    Dec 27, 2019 at 11:08
awk '{ printf "%s ",$NF;for (i=2;i<=NF-1;i++) { printf " %s",$i } printf "\n" }' filename

With awk, $NF will signify the last piece of data. Print this and then loop through the other fields from 2 to one but the last field, printing those.

  • 2
    Your answer could probably use a bit more explanation. It's quite a long, "complex" awk, and many people aren't that comfortable with awk. A bit more explanation would help non-awkers
    – Centimane
    Aug 21, 2017 at 19:16

With Perl:

perl -pe 's/(\S+)(\s+)(.*)/$3$2$1/' file

(\S+) captures all non-whitespace character from the beginning

(\s+) capture all whitespace following the captured characters

(.*) capture everything else until the end of the line

$3$2$1 reverses the 3 matched patterns

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