4

Let's suppose I want to find all .txt files and search for some string. I would do:

find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" -exec egrep -iH 'something' '{}' \;

What if I want to do a more complex filtering, like this:

egrep something file.txt | egrep somethingelse | egrep other

Inside find -exec? (or similar)

Please keep in mind that I'm searching for a solution that I could easily type when I need it. I know that this could be done with a few lines using a shell script, but that isn't what I'm looking for.

10

If you must do it from within find, you need to call a shell:

find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" -exec sh -c 'grep -EiH something "$1" | grep -E somethingelse | grep -E other' sh {} \;

Other alternatives include using xargs instead:

find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" | 
    xargs -I{} grep -EiH something {} | 
        grep -EiH somethingelse | 
            grep -EiH other

Or, much safer for arbitrary filenames (assuming your find supports -print0):

find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" -print0 | 
    xargs -0 grep -EiH something {} | 
        grep -Ei somethingelse | 
            grep -Ei other

Or, you could just use a shell loop instead:

find ./ -type f -name "*.txt" -print0 | 
    while IFS= read -d '' file; do 
        grep -Ei something "$file" | 
            grep -Ei somethingelse | 
                grep -Ei other
    done
  • The first one is exactly what I was looking for. Extremely simple and small enough to type depending on my needs. Thanks. – 1nt3rn3t Mar 18 at 16:57
  • 1
    ... and xargs could also be used as xargs -I {} sh -c '...' sh {}, if one wanted to (it makes it possible to run parallel jobs with -P if one wanted to). – Kusalananda Mar 18 at 17:23
1

Edit: This answer is not preferred, but is left here for comparison and illustration of potentially dangerous pitfalls in bash scripting.


You can put bash (or another shell) as your -exec command:

find -type -f -name "*.txt" -exec bash -c 'egrep -iH something "{}" | egrep somethingelse | egrep other' \;

One of the downsides of doing it this way is that it creates more potential for nested quoting issues as your commands get more complex. If you want to avoid that, you can break it out into a for-loop:

for i in $(find -type -f -name "*.txt"); do
  if egrep -iH something "$i" | egrep somethingelse | egrep other; then 
    echo "Found something: $i"
  fi
done
  • 1
    The first one is exactly what I was looking for. Extremely simple and small enough to type depending on my needs. Thanks. – 1nt3rn3t Mar 18 at 16:59
  • 1
    That for loop is a very bad idea.Also known as bash pitfall #1. – terdon Mar 18 at 17:04
  • 1
    This "{}" in your first command may even lead to code injection. Imagine you got files from me and there's a file literally named " & rm -rf ~ & : ".txt. Luckily for you -type -f is invalid, it just saved your home directory. Fix the typo and try again. :) terdon did it right: find … -exec sh -c '… "$1" …' foo {} \;. – Kamil Maciorowski Mar 18 at 17:55
  • Thanks for the information! Yeah, the -type -f is a typo I make constantly when using find, and I didn't notice it in my answer. Whoops. terdon's answer is better, but I'll leave this for comparative purposes. – trobinson Mar 18 at 20:20
  • @terdon: tx for referencing the mywiki.wooledge.org page. It's nice to have a bunch of GPs neatly summarized in one place. – Cbhihe Mar 19 at 8:03

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