The variable v has \n and, hm, another type newline??

v='ab\n cd
printf '%b' "$v"
printf '%s' "$v"
ab\n cd
printf '%s' "$v" | xxd
00000000: 6162 5c6e 2063 640a 2065 660a            ab\n cd. ef.
printf '%b' "$v" | xxd
00000000: 6162 0a20 6364 0a20 6566 0a              ab. cd. ef.

printf '%b' shows both newlines as the ASCII 10 character.

My function removes both type newlines but it uses different processes for each type.

remove() {
  local str="$1" chr='\\n\\t\\r' idx
  for (( idx=0; idx<${#chr}; idx+=$((${#chr} / 3)) )); do   
  printf "${str}"

Is there a better way to handle both with a single process using only Bash?

I'm using GNU bash 4.4.19.

2 Answers 2


There aren't really two types of newlines; \n is just a character sequence until you pass it to printf '%b' or some other command such as echo -e that interprets it as a backslash escape sequence.

So you could use printf '%b' to convert any \n sequences to newlines, then remove all the newlines using parameter substitution and a bash C-string:

v='ab\n cd                     
printf -v w '%b' "$v"; printf '%s\n' "${w//$'\n'}"
ab cd ef
  • Using printf is simpler and avoids my duplicate process, thanks!
    – Buoy
    Mar 10, 2018 at 18:32

You can simply use echo. Whithout -e and ", echo see \n as string and you can remove it using parameter substitution.

echo ${v//\\n}
  • This is a simpler approach and does remove both reps of newline but I've been stumped trying to put \\n in a variable such that it will still remove both reps of newline. Is there a way to make a variable of \\n work?
    – Buoy
    Mar 13, 2018 at 13:36
  • Not sure I understand well. If you have var='test\\ntry', you can catch \\n like that : echo ${var//\\\\n}
    – ctac_
    Mar 13, 2018 at 15:27
  • I was mistaken. If I don't include ${v//\\n} in double quotes then echo replaces the actual newline with a space. If in double quotes then echo does not replace the actual newline in $v, only the newline symbol \n. I am looking for v='ab\n cd ef' with both representations of newline and rep='\\n' such that "${v//${rep}} will remove both representations of newline.
    – Buoy
    Mar 13, 2018 at 19:11
  • Unfortunately this note feature eats the pasted in newline but the variable in the question above shows both reps of newline being entered into v.
    – Buoy
    Mar 13, 2018 at 19:19

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