I would like to display the contents of a text file on the command line. The file only contains 5-6 characters. Is there an easy way to do this?
Since your file is short, you can use
If you have to view the contents of a longer file, you can use a pager such as
You can make
less behave like
cat when invoked on small files and behave
normally otherwise by passing it the
less -FX filename
I have an alias for
less -FX. You can make one yourself like so:
alias aliasname='less -FX'
If you add the alias to your shell configuration, you can use it forever.
If your file contains strange or unprintable characters, you can use
od to examine the characters. For example,
$ cat file (ÐZ4 ?o=÷jï $ od -c test 0000000 202 233 ( 320 K j 357 024 J 017 h Z 4 240 ? o 0000020 = 367 \n 0000023
Even though everybody uses
cat filename to print a files text to the standard output first purpose is concatenating.
From cat's man page:
cat - concatenate files and print on the standard output
Now cat is fine for printing files but there are alternatives:
echo "$(<filename)" or printf "%s" "$(<filename)"
( ) return the value of an expression, in this case the content of filename which then is expanded by
This does exactly what you want and is easy to remember.
Here is an example that lets you select a file in a menu and then prints it.
#!/bin/bash select fname in *; do # Don't forget the "" around the second part, else newlines won't be printed printf "%s" "$(<$fname)" break done
If its a large file, and you want to search some specific part, you can use
cat filename | grep text_to_search -ni
Also you can use more interactive Vim editor (or vi editor if you do not have Vim):
vim filename Or vi filename
Vim/vi is a great editor, can also be used as a reader in "Normal Mode" or using -R option, it has many features that will help you in browsing through the file.