I have financial price data in a csv file, a typical line of which looks like this:

2012-06-06 18:00:00,2012-06-06 19:00:00,4,2012-06-06 14:00:00,4,1644.8005,1644.8,1631.232,1632.266,7353,TRUE

and I would like to conditionally replace, in this particular example, the contents of column 7 with that of column 6 such that columns 6 and 7 both contain the same value.

The file line numbers on which such conditional operations should be completed are to be read from a separate text file ( let's call it "line_index_file" which is output from another program, Octave ) and this looks, for example, like this:


which means the above operations should only be applied to lines 100 and 125 of the original data file.

How would I do this with either sed or awk?


3 Answers 3


You can try this awk

awk 'BEGIN{FS=OFS=","}NR==FNR{a[$0];next}FNR in a {$7=$6}1' line_index_file file.csv

Try this

 for i in `cat line_index_file`
     echo -e "`awk -v b=$i -F ',' 'BEGIN{OFS = ","} NR!=b{$7=$6};{print $0}' file.csv`" > file.csv
  • NR!=b ignore the line numbers for the condition
  • This is not working for me. If I run it once only there are no problems, but if I then run a similar bash script with different values in a different line_index_file_2 and replacing different column's values, e.g. NR!=b{$8=$6}, the new values in the line_index_file_2 seem to be ignored and the original line_index_file values are used. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 11:28

You may use the sed editor to do this task also:

cmds=$(< line_index_file xargs -l printf '\t%sba\n')

sed -e "
    ;# skip these
" input.csv


  • First create a shell variable, cmds, holding the branching to the label :a information for the lines mentioned in the line_index_file.
  • Skip processing the other lines, that is those lines that are not mentioned in line_index_file.
  • Place a marker \n (since a newline is guaranteed to not be found in the pattern space of sed in our case) at the ending of 5th, 6th, and 7th fields.
  • Then perform the operation to place the contents of the 6th field into the 7th.

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