Is there a way to put little awk scriptoids on the path?

For example, I have this really useful collation operation:

// collate-csv.awk
FNR > 1 || NR == 1

And I can use it in all sorts of great ways:

xargs -a $(find * -name *.csv) awk -F',' -f collate-csv.awk | ...

The only problem is I don't have a way to call my awk tools from anywhere. With an executable shell script, I can drop it into a bin folder on the path. Is there a mechanism in linux where I can make these non-executable awk source files available from anywhere I go in the filesystem?

(with the qualification that the "mechanism" is not a "why don't you just hit it with a hammer"-style kludge)


2 Answers 2


In addition to @Roamia's answer you can use AWKPATH variable for a list of directory where to look for collate-csv.awk

export AWKPATH
xargs -a $(find * -name *.csv) awk -f collate-csv.awk -F',' | ...

please note

  • .awk extension is not mandatory, just be consistent,
  • shebang line e.g. #!/usr/bin/awk -f is mandatory when script is used standalone as a script (no awk -f call),
  • you will have to use awk -f (and awk know how to use AWKPATH, bash don't)
  • 1
    You should mention that AWKPATH is an extension to POSIX that's supported by GNU awk, idk about any others. I don't see anything in your script that'd make a shebang mandatory.
    – Ed Morton
    Sep 18, 2020 at 15:23

Create an executable awk script and add it to your $PATH

mkdir -p "$HOME/bin"
cat >"$HOME/bin/collate-csv <<'x'
#!/usr/bin/awk -f
# collate-csv.awk
NR == 1 { print }
FNR == 1 { next }

chmod a+x "$HOME/bin/collate-csv"
export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/bin"

Now you can use collate-csv just as you would any other command

xargs -a $(find * -name *.csv) collate-csv -F',' | ...
  • suppose i created a ${HOME}/include/awk and dropped my awk source code in there for more advanced tools. Does awk need any coercion to link the source code to the executables?
    – Chris
    Sep 18, 2020 at 13:53
  • @Chris my proposal is that the awk scripts become executable. So you can put them in any directory you like, add that directory to your $PATH, and they'll be available exactly as any other command. I've chosen "$HOME/bin" because that's what I use everywhere for all my personal scripts and programs. You could just as easily use "$HOME/include/awk"
    – roaima
    Sep 18, 2020 at 14:22

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