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I have some data on a txt table:

Number        Column1        Column2
  1             abc            zxy
  7             tgh            lkj
  1             rfe            zpo

I want to replace the string in the position of lkj, (always in the 3rd column and line 3). Not replacing arbitrarly lkj. Thinking in another example:

    Number        Column1        Column2
  a             875            172
  a             457            357
  2             986            125

I would like to be extracted the 357 in this case. 3rd column 3rd line. I was trying something involving awkwith a parameter $3 for the column, but I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Do you care about the preservation of the manual alignment using spaces, i.e. is this meant to be a pretty txt file for human consumption? – Wildcard Sep 20 '17 at 3:25
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If you want preserve the well alignement use awk with sub function.

awk 'NR==3{sub($3, "string_to_replace")}1' infile.txt

else, you can use below instead

awk 'NR==3{$3="string_to_replace"}1' infile.txt

NR==3 means do the replace if it's 3rd line, 1 is always true condition and telling awk print the line (or that's awk's default action)

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