I have a CSV file like:

Daniel Dvorkin,28,Some Address St. 1234
(... N ...)
Foo Bar,90,Other Address Av. 3210

And I have a command that take this parameters:

./mycommand --name="Daniel Dvorkin" --age=28 --address="Some Address St. 1234"

What is the easiest way to run mycommand for each line of the CSV?

  • Do you want name, age and address also from the CSV file? – Bernhard Jun 25 '12 at 17:28
  • nop. Just the data. – MZAweb Jun 25 '12 at 17:31

That's pretty easy:

sed '1d;s/\([^,]*\),\([^,]*\),\([^,]*\)/.\/mycommand --name="\1" --age="\2" --address="\3"/e' file.csv

1d will delete caption line. s command will modify the string like in your example e in the end of s command will execute the string. this is GNU extension, so if you don't have GNU sed, you can use xargs instead e:

sed '1d;s/\([^,]*\),\([^,]*\),\([^,]*\)/.\/mycommand --name="\1" --age="\2" --address="\3"/' file.csv | xargs
  • Is it possible that you're missing a close quote? – MZAweb Jun 25 '12 at 17:48
  • Oh, sorry. I did. But right now it is fixed. Thank you. – rush Jun 25 '12 at 19:19

If your CSV is simple CSV with no quoting mechanism (hence commas cannot appear in a field), you can do the parsing in the shell.

  read line  # ignore the header line
  while read -r name age address; do
    ./mycommand --name="$name" --age="$age" --address="$address"
} <input.csv

If fields can be quoted, you need a real CSV parser. Use Perl, Python, R, Ruby or other languages.

  • How are you passing the file contents to this? – MZAweb Jun 26 '12 at 0:20
  • @MZAweb Oh, yeah. Redirect the input of that shell snippet from the file or pipe containing your data. See my edit. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jun 26 '12 at 0:25
  • +1 for the ‘simple CSV’ proviso. CSV is much harder to parse from the shell than its acronym would have you believe. – Alexios Jun 28 '12 at 19:20
  • I like this one much more than the sed magic in accepted answer, as it is actually readable (i.e. usable). – JaakL May 19 '17 at 7:52

Besides sed, there is awk...

awk -F, 'NR > 1 { system("./mycommand --name=\\\"" $1 "\\\" --age=" $2 " --address=\\\"" $3 "\\\"") }' < file.csv
  • Love the simplicity of this one. Thanks!! Will test ASAP. – MZAweb Jun 26 '12 at 1:18
  • 1
    could you please explain what \\\ mean – Vasily802 Aug 21 '17 at 18:42

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