I have a file which has some stats and counters stored for some ACL rules. I want to design a shell script to read that file and parse those counters.

I have done the similar thing in c programming language where I have opened and stored the content of the file in some buffer and with sscanf, I have parsed the output of the file

Below is the content of files

vlan_id: 0
HITS    ACL rules:
0   0: allow icmp src dst mask,
0   1: deny icmp dst,
0   2: deny icmp src,
0   3: deny tcp src port 3210,
0   4: deny tcp src,
0   5: deny udp src port 432,
0   6: deny udp src,
0   7: deny tcp src port 435,
0   8: deny udp dst port 554,
22  9: deny all,
the number of passed packets: 0
the number of dropped packets: 22

In c programming language, I have wrote the below code to parse it

   //Read atmost 127 characters or till it encounter comma(,).
   num = sscanf(line, "%d %d: %127[^,\n]",&hits,&n,&rule[0]);
   if (num ==  3)
       g_list_of_rules[i].hits = hits;
                 ACL_MAX_STR_LEN, rule,


Similar thing I want to accomplish in the shell script.

I mean this sscanf functionality ( sscanf(line, "%d %d: %127[^,\n]",&hits,&n,&rule[0]); ) where I am parsing and storing three values in three different variables. So similar kind of functionality I am looking in shell script or in any other linux utility like sed or grep

For example, for the below rule,

0 0: allow icmp src dst mask,

all three values I want in separate variables. So if I do echo $n1, $n2, $str then n1 should print 0, n2 should print 0 and n3 should print allow icmp src dst mask

if someone has idea or thoughts, please share it.

1 Answer 1


You can try this with awk

awk -F': ' -v OFS="," '{split($1,a," "); split($2,b,","); print a[1],a[2],b[1]}' input_file

This will put in variable a[1] the first zero, in a[2] the second zero and in b[1] the rest of the line (w/o comma)

  • Thank you for response. I have a question, how to display it in console?. When I execute the above command it does not print anything
    – vivek
    May 10, 2022 at 11:45
  • @vivek, will edit my answer and give you example output you can modify depend of your requirements. May 10, 2022 at 11:57

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