I want to write a bash script that monitors a file for new lines and then potentially writes that new line to a different file if it passes a certain condition. This script needs to run continuously to monitor the file and constantly pipe these lines to the condition. I have been using tail -f filename.txt to monitor the file for growth, but I am unsuccessful in the latter two parts. Is this possible to do?

  • You should add more detail. What are the conditions? – guillermo chamorro Sep 19 at 20:57
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    Have you considered, directly processing the output of the process that created the file. – ctrl-alt-delor Sep 19 at 21:04
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    What have you tried in the latter two parts (you say that you were unsuccessful)? – ctrl-alt-delor Sep 19 at 21:05

Depending on how complicated your input to output is going to be you could use a script that handles each line like this:

tail -f 'filename' | xargs -L1 'script'

'script' would then be executed for each line with the line as arguments to it(accessed by "$@" in the script).

Rich in the comments suggested using grep or sed in the following way:

tail -f 'filename' | grep -e 'expr1' -e 'expr2' >> 'newfile'


tail -f 'filename' | sed 's/Conditions for line./Line that goes to new file./g' >>'newfile'

  • Could be simpler: tail -F filename|grep -e expr1 -e expr2>>output – Rich Sep 19 at 23:26
  • True, depends on what the poster needs it to do. I understood it to need more processing, but I added grep and sed options. – Pedro Sep 19 at 23:47
  • Thanks for incorporating my suggestion! I didn't draw attention to it, but I'm actually saying -F, which follows a file path which may be absent when tail is run, or become absent, or be replaced. Seems a better strategy for arbitrary stuff like this. I like your sed option - and sure, we could imagine all sorts of others like a perl or awk or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – Rich Sep 20 at 0:13

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