In bash read builtin has -d for us to specify line delimiter other than newline

Does readarray provide some way to specify line delimiter?

  • Is it correct that it has no an option for that purpose?
  • Is there a shell default variable for that purpose, similar to IFS for field delimiter?


After I saw steeldriver's comment,

$ bash --version
GNU bash, version 4.4.19(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)
Copyright (C) 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>

This is free software; you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

$ help readarray
readarray: readarray [-n count] [-O origin] [-s count] [-t] [-u fd] [-C callback] [-c quantum] [array]
    Read lines from a file into an array variable.

    A synonym for `mapfile'.

but later I discovered:

$ help mapfile
mapfile: mapfile [-d delim] [-n count] [-O origin] [-s count] [-t] [-u fd] [-C callback] [-c quantum] [array]
    Read lines from the standard input into an indexed array variable.

    Read lines from the standard input into the indexed array variable ARRAY, or
    from file descriptor FD if the -u option is supplied.  The variable MAPFILE
    is the default ARRAY.

      -d delim  Use DELIM to terminate lines, instead of newline
  • 1
    It depends how recent a version of bash (it was introduced in 4.4 IIRC) - a simple perusal of the manpage should indicate whether yours does (-d delim) – steeldriver Nov 17 '18 at 16:30
  • 1
    @JeffSchaller "What happened when you tried?" – Tim Nov 17 '18 at 16:39

Since bash version 4.4, yes it does. From the release announcement Bash-4.4 Release Available:

The most notable new features are mapfile's ability to use an arbitrary record delimiter;

(readarray being a synonym for mapfile). The description in man bash is

          -d     The first character of delim is used  to  terminate  each
                 input line, rather than newline.
  • Thanks. Does delimiter mean the same as a separator and thus is to be removed? I have a file whose content is 1 2 3. and readarray -d "2" myarr < f1 and echo "${myarr[0]}" outputs 1 2 and echo "${myarr[1]}" outputs 3. – Tim Nov 17 '18 at 16:49
  • @Tim you can add -t if you want to "Remove a trailing DELIM" - exactly as you would for the default (newline) delimiter – steeldriver Nov 17 '18 at 16:55
  • In 1 2 3, 2 isn't trailing however. What does "trailing" mean? – Tim Nov 17 '18 at 17:07
  • 1
    @Tim To remove the trailing delimiter means to remove the delimiter from each element of the array. In your case, that would result in the two elements 1 and 3 (the 1 would have a space after it and the 3 would be preceded by a space and probably followed by a newline). – Kusalananda Nov 17 '18 at 17:36
  • 2
    @Tim There is no mentioning of "separator". The delimiter (newline, or the character specified with -d) is included in the data unless -t is also used. See also When to use the terms "delimiter," "terminator," and "separator" – Kusalananda Nov 17 '18 at 17:44

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