Here is the issue, I would like to count the number of jobs I have in the hpc, but it is not one of the readily provided features. So I made this simple script

squeue -u user_name | wc -l

where squeue prints all the jobs like the following

> squeue -u user_name
 8840441    theory cteq      fxm PD       0:00      1 (Resources)
 8840442    theory cteq      fxm PD       0:00      1 (Priority)
 8840443    theory cteq      fxm PD       0:00      1 (Priority)
 8840444    theory cteq      fxm PD       0:00      1 (Priority)

which would be piped to wc and the number of lines would be counted. However, the first line is not an entry of the job. How may I instruct wc to skip the first line when counting? Or should I just take the output of wc and minus one to it?

Thanks in advance!

  • Referring to this answer, you would do squeue -u user_name | sed '1d' | wc -l. Although, there are many very nice solutions in the answers of this question.
    – zyy
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 14:46

4 Answers 4


You can supress the header line from squeue with the -h-option. That would eliminate the need to remove the first row.

From the man page of squeue:

-h, --noheader
    Do not print a header on the output.
  • 6
    Or add an option to squeue like -n to simply output the count directly.
    – Scot
    Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 4:30
  • 2
    @Scot you should make that an answer. I would upvote.
    – Bex
    Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 13:08
  • Thanks, @Bex - think it’s too much a derivative of your answer. Maybe if there was code present, I’d make an answer to add the code to do so, but without that, I’ll leave it as a comment on yours...
    – Scot
    Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 6:57

There are many many ways to do this, the first I thought of was:

squeue -u user_name | tail -n +2 | wc -l

From the man page for tail:

-n, --lines=[+]NUM            output the last NUM lines, instead of the last 10;
                              or use -n +NUM to output starting with line NUM

So fo you -n +2 should skip the first line.

You can also use the sort form of tail: tail +2

  • 3
    tail crossed my mind, but don't remember having seen or considered the +n option. For both the idea+explanation and reference: Good one!
    – Mr. Donutz
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:04
  • 2
    @Mr.Donutz head has a similar + flag that leaves off some number of rows. I always have a hard time remembering which does what though. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 20:09
  • 3
    I prefer sed 1d bc i have a hard time remembering the counting directions of head and tail Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 19:29
  • 1
    @Ben: Great call. The OP didn't say which OS. I have some AIX boxes and tail -n +2 doesn't work on them. sed 1d does.
    – Scottie H
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 3:54

Just for fun. You can subract 1 from the wc output

echo $(( $(squeue -u user_name|wc -l)-1 ))


squeue -u user_name|wc -l|awk '{print $0-1}'

When you use awk you can count the lines with awk and so avoid wc

squeue -u user_name|awk 'END{print NR-1}'

END means, that the following block is executed after all lines are read and NR means the number of lines read so far.


Actually there are a couple of ways to achieve the same result. One other way is to pipe the output of the sequence command to sed, just like below

squeue -u user_name | sed '1d' | wc -l

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