I have a data file with rows of comma-separated fields like this:

United Kingdom, GB, +44

and I want to produce the following output for each line in the file:

<option value="GB">United Kingdom +44</option>

I got as far as follows with awk, but after adding the angle brackets I am getting mangled output:

    print "<option value=\"" $2 "\">";                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


2 Answers 2


awk's printf function can be easier to use when it comes to embedded quotes.

awk -F, '{printf("<option value=\"%s\">%s %s</option>\n", $2, $1, $3)}'

The problem with that is that you also have whitespace between each field. We can use the gsub function to trim each field.

awk -F, '{gsub(/^ +| +$/,"", $2); printf("<option value=\"%s\">%s %s</option>\n", $2, $1, $3)}'

Or what's easier is to change our field separator: awk -F' *, *' '{printf("%s %s\n", $2, $1, $3)}'

If you need to trim multiple fields then it might be better to use a loop or a function (depending on the situation). See https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9985528/how-can-i-trim-white-space-from-a-variable-in-awk for more info.

  • I don't get the correct output with this. The "</option>" at the end does not appear at the end of each line. It only appears on the last line e.g. </option>alue="+260">Zambia ZM <option value="+263">Zimbabwe ZW</option>
    – M.K.
    May 29, 2019 at 18:25
  • 2
    @M.K. looks like your csv has CRLF line delimiters, convert to unix first with dos2unix. May 29, 2019 at 18:30
  • @StéphaneChazelas thanks, that was the problem!
    – M.K.
    May 29, 2019 at 19:44


awk -F "," '{print "<option value="$2">United Kingdom "$3"</option>"}' filename| sed 's/GB/"&"/g'


<option value= "GB">United Kingdom  +44</option>
  • unfortunately, this hardcodes (in the sed statement) the GB value in column 2; shouldn't it surround the option value no matter what it is?
    – Jeff Schaller
    Jun 3, 2019 at 17:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.