I have a large (~300) set of .csv files, each of which are ~200k lines long, with a regular filename pattern:


I need to extract a range of lines (100013-200013) from each file, and save that extracted region to a new .csv file, appending a ptally_ prefix to differentiate it from the original file, while preserving the original file.

I know that I can use

sed -n '100013,200013p' outfile_nXXX.csv > ptally_outfile_nXXX.csv

to do this to a single file, but I need a way to automate this for large batches of files. I can get close by using the -i option in sed to do so:

sed -iptally_* -n '100013,200013p' outfile_nXXX.csv > ptally_outfile_nXXX.csv

but this writes the extracted lines to outfile_nXXX.csv, and leaves the original file renamed as ptally_outfile_nXXX.csv, as this is the purpose of -i.

Likewise, brace expansion in bash won't do the trick, as brace expansion and wildcards don't mix:

sed --n 10013,20013p *.csv > {,ptally_}*.csv

Any elegant ways to combine the extraction and renaming into a simpler process? Currently, I'm using a bash script to perform the swap between the outfile_nXXX.csv and ptally_outfile_nXXX.csv filenames, but I would prefer a more straightforward workflow. Thanks!


2 Answers 2


Use a for loop.

for f in outfile_n???.csv; do
  sed -n '100013,200013p' "$f" > ptally_"$f"

Alternatively, depending on your exact actual requirements, it may be more applicable to use csplit. Some of the GNU extensions extend its power considerably.

  • 3
    Or simply sed -n "100013,200013w ptally_$f" "$f" inside the loop
    – Philippos
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 5:47
  • Works perfectly, just what I needed! I had tried a few variations on a for loop, but hadn't gotten it quite right. Thanks!
    – avoyles
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 18:42

Not sed, but quite elegant way:

awk 'NR >= 100013 && NR <= 200013 {print > "ptally_" FILENAME}' outfile_nXXX.csv

For bulk extracting to new, appropriate files do:

awk 'FNR >= 100013 && FNR <= 200013 {print > "ptally_" FILENAME}' outfile_n*

Also, you can store filename into the variable before passing it to the sed:


sed -n '100013,200013p' "$filename" > "ptally_$filename"
  • 1
    XXX is a placeholder, not part of the actual name of the file. Your last example with storing it in a variable doesn't make sense at all given that there are around 300 files to be handled.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 4:24
  • @Wildcard It was just example, not working solution. Idea. Sure, it should be for loop, iterating through all 300 files. And outfile_nXXX.csv is representing the general file name. Anyway, awk solution is more elegant, so I didn't developing bash way far enough :)
    – MiniMax
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 10:06

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