Programming Tutorials

cut in Mac OS X

By: Strauss K in macos Tutorials on 2011-02-03  

cut is a command-line tool in Mac OS X and other Unix-based operating systems that allows you to extract sections from each line of a file or from piped input. It can be used to select specific columns or fields from a file or to remove certain characters or sections from each line.

The basic syntax of the cut command is as follows:

cut options filename

Here, options specifies the operation to be performed on the input file, and filename is the name of the file to be processed. If you don't specify a filename, cut will read from standard input (i.e., data piped from another command).

Here are some common options you can use with the cut command:

  • -c or --characters: Extracts specific characters or byte ranges from each line.

  • -f or --fields: Extracts specific fields or columns from a delimited file.

  • -d or --delimiter: Specifies the delimiter character used in a delimited file.

  • -s or --only-delimited: Suppresses lines that don't contain the delimiter character.

For example, to extract the first five characters from each line of a file called file.txt, you can use the following command:

cut -c 1-5 file.txt

This will display the first five characters of each line in file.txt.

To extract specific fields from a delimited file, you can use the following command:

cut -f 1,3 -d , file.csv

This will display the first and third fields from each line in a comma-separated value (CSV) file called file.csv.

For more information on how to use cut and its various options, you can refer to the manual page by running the following command in the Terminal:

man cut

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