How can I match the first column from file1 according to the numbers in the second column to the file 2?

File file1

k002  25
k004  54
k003  23

File file2

25 h
23 j
54 hg

Desired output

k002 25 h
k003 23 j
k004 54 hg

I have no idea how to do that, and I did not find similar questions.

awk 'matching {print ... $1, $2}' file1 file2 > file_des
  • Please edit the tags on your question to tell us which shell you're using.
    – Ed Morton
    May 28, 2021 at 18:16

3 Answers 3


You could perhaps do something like this:

awk 'NR == FNR { x[$2]=$1; next} { print x[$1], $0 }' file1 file2


  • FNR: The input record number in the current input file.
  • NR : The total number of input records seen so far.

Note that this will read entire file1 into memory.


If you don't care about preserving original file order you can use join:

# sort the first file:
sort -k2 file1 > nfile1

# Sort the second file:
sort file2 > nfile2

join -1 2 -2 1 -o 1.1,1.2,2.2 nfile1 nfile2 > joined_file

Or as suggested by @Ed Morton, if you use bash or any other shell that support process sobstitution, you can avoid creating temporary files in this way:

join -1 2 -2 1 -o 1.1,1.2,2.2 <(sort -k2 file1) <(sort file2)

Using awk:

awk 'NR==FNR{ar[$2]=$0;next}($1 in ar){print ar[$1],$2}' file1 file2

In this command NR==FNR ensures that {ar[$2]=$0;next} will work for first file only because after reading first file FNR would be set to zero. In expression {ar[$2]=$0;next} an array ar indexed on $2 is created and with next no further actions are taken.

The expression ($1 in ar) sees if $1 (first field of second file) is present in indices of array ar. If present, then this prints ar and second field of second file by this statement {print ar[$1],$2}.

($1 in ar) is important because this means whether $1 of second file matches indices of ar. And ar is indexed on $2 of first file. So this checks if $1 of second file matches $2 of first file.

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