I have these long IDs which consist of four sections:


I want to put the numbers in new line and remove the third comma.




How can I do this?

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  • 3
    Hello Simon Q. What have you tried so far? – roaima Oct 11 at 20:08
  • 1
    @roaima I tried sed and awk but failed, I spent four hours on this! – Simon Q Oct 12 at 0:05
  • @SimonQ, 4 hours, ouch! Anyway, for next time please remember that it helps other learners (among whom are many good people also) to see the failed code. It helps shows them what to avoid. – agc Oct 12 at 11:15
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Using GNU sed:

sed "s/,/\n/3; G" file



sed stands for stream editor..sed has the following syntax:

substitute/match(or pattern)/replacement/position file

In the above command, s substitute the third , by a new line \n.

G is to append a new line to the contents of the pattern space and then append the contents of the hold space to the pattern space.

awk -F, -vOFS=, '{print $1,$2,$3; print $4; print ""}' file

will produce your desired output

A few Perl approaches:

$ perl -pe 's/,([^,]+)$/\n$1\n/' file



The -p means "read the input file line by line and print each line after applying the script given by -e to it". The s/foo/bar/ is the substitution operator which will replace foo with bar. Here, we are matching a comma followed by one or more non-comma characters ([^,]+) until the end of the line ($). The parentheses around the ([^,]+) will "capture" whatever is matched so we can refer to it as $1 on the right hand side of the operator. Therefore, this will replace the text after the last comma with a newline, then the matched text and then another newline.

If you can't be sure the third comma is the last one, you can do:

perl -pe 's/([^,]+,){3}\K(.+)/\n$2\n/' file


perl -pe 's/(.+?,.+?,.+?),(.+)/$1\n$2\n/' file

And here are some more, just for fun:

perl -pe 's/([^,]+,){3}\K(.+)/\n$2\n/' file
perl -F, -pe '$k=pop(@F); $_=join(",", @F)."\n$k\n"' file
perl -F, -le 'print join ",", @F[0..2],"\n@F[3..$#F]\n"' file
awk -F, '{print $1, $2, $3,"\n"$4}'
  • 2
    You'd need to set OFS=, as well in order to preserve the other delimiters – steeldriver Oct 11 at 17:00
  • @steeldriver but it will not remove the third comma as requested? – TNT Oct 11 at 17:03
  • ... then change the last part to a simple concatenation $3 "\n" $4 – steeldriver Oct 11 at 17:04
  • This removes all commas, replacing them with spaces and doesn't add the extra newline between records. Please make sure your output is the same as the desired output shown in the question. – terdon Oct 12 at 8:08

Alternative less succinct sed code:

sed 's/,\([^,]*\)/\n\1\n/3' file

...which can be used if the hold buffer were needed for some other purpose, (supposing some additional requirement). If you need portable code (the above is gnu sed syntax) use literal newlines in the RHS:

sed 's/,\([^,]*\)/\
/3' file

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