I have many text files prepended with digits like this:

12 some text here
some text here
some text here

Or sometimes like this:

123 text here

some more not-so-interesting text here

some text here

even more not-so-interesting text here

And I need them to appear like so:


some text here
some text here
some text here

Is this possible using sed or awk or some command line tool? I just need the digits to be on a new line, isolated from the other text on the line.


Just remember the number and replace the space after it with a newline:

sed 's/^\([0-9][0-9]*\) /\1\n/'

If your sed supports it, you can use an extended regex to improve readability:

sed -E 's/^([0-9]+) /\1\n/'
  • [0-9] matches a digit
  • * means "zero or more times"
  • + means "at least once"
  • \(...\) or (...) create a "capture group", the first capture group can be referenced as \1, etc.
  • \n represents a newline

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