I am trying to retrieve 2 lines of text with sed, every 10 lines (10, 11, 20, 21, 30, 31, ...).

For lines 10 and 11 I could use sed -n '10,11p' file or sed -n '10,+1p' file. And for the range (lines 10, 20, 30, ...) sed -n '10,~10p' file. But is it possible to combine somehow both things?

sed -n '10,~10,+1p' file is not working.

I assume this is a duplicate, but I can't find any reference. Thanks!


Use the ADDR1,ADDR2 with FIRST~STEP as ADDR1 and +OFFSET as ADDR2, so:

$ seq 30 | sed '10~10,+1!d'

In anycase, note that both ~ and + are non-standard GNU extensions.

See info sed 'line selection' and info sed 'range of lines' on a GNU system for details.

POSIXly, you'd use:

seq 30 | sed -n '1n;n;n;n;n;n;n;n;n;p;n;p'
  • beautiful! thanks. I just understood how I misused ~ – manolius Oct 30 '20 at 12:00

How about an awk solution?

awk '(FNR>1) && (FNR%10<2)' file
  • FNR is awks automatically updated per-file line-counter
  • Any condition outside of a "rule block" ({ ... }) that evaluates to "true" (and be it the string 1) will instruct awk to print the current line, including all modifications made so far.
  • So, (FNR>1) && (FNR%10<2) will print the current line, if it is not the first line, and if the line number is an integer multiple of 10 (or +1 from such a multiple at most). This is equivalent to "every 10th and line and the following".
  • I assumed awk was an option, but I am not able to learn it. I end up wasting so much time every time. Thanks! – manolius Oct 30 '20 at 12:01
  • @manolius I know, awk has quite a learning curve. For me it turned out worthwile, but it depends a lot on what your tasks look like. – AdminBee Oct 30 '20 at 12:03
  • @manolius I have added some in-depth explanation; perhaps it can serve as starting point for learning awk ... ;) – AdminBee Oct 30 '20 at 12:27
  • You could also make use of getline ex. awk '!(FNR%10){print; if(getline > 0) print}' - which perhaps makes the intent clearer – steeldriver Oct 30 '20 at 15:03
  • 1
    @steeldriver Nice suggestion, but for users not acquainted should probably step back from getline. – Quasímodo Oct 30 '20 at 15:37

Using awk we can do as shewn. NR is line number in awk parlance.

$ awk 'NR ~ /.[10]$/'  file

With sed we could do as shown below where we increment the hold space till we hit the 10 count of newlines.

$ sed -nE 'x
' file
$ perl -ne '$.%10||print($_.<>)' file

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