Linux Cat Command With Examples

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Concatenate or simply cat is very useful command in Linux and Unix systems. Cat have the ability to create files, concatenate files or redirect output. In this tutorial we will look different useful examples for daily usage for system administrators.

Syntax

Syntax of Linux cat command is standard like most of the Linux tools.

Man and Help

Man page can be get like below. As we can see cat command provides a lot of features.

Man and Help
Man and Help

Print Content

The most popular way to use cat command is printing contents of a file. cat command will read given file line by line and print to the terminal or shell accordingly. In this example we will print file named myshell.sh  which is a bash script.

Print Content
Print Content

Print Content of Multiple Files

cat command accepts multiple parameters as file name to print all contents of provided files. In this example we will print file contents named myshell.sh  and myscan in a row.

Create File

An empty file will be created when cat output is directed to the file name like below. After redirect  control character should be send to close file.

And then

Create File
Create File

Use With More and Less Commands

While working more than one text file with more or less commands cat provides practical solution to pipe all files contents.

Display Line Numbers

While printing file contents with cat the line numbers can be shown to direct line specification.If we need specific line numbers it will be very helpful especially using with grep  command. We will use -n as option to enable line number printing.

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Display Line Numbers
Display Line Numbers

Display $ as End Of  Line

If we want to put delimiter at the end of each line we can use -e option. This will put $ to the end of each line.

Display $ End Of Line
Display $ End Of Line

Display Tab Separated Lines

There is also an option to separate tabbed lines with -T parameter like below. ^|  will be used as tab sign to show as characters.

Display Tab Separated Lines
Display Tab Separated Lines

Redirect With Cat

Redirect will used to provide standard output content to the next command standard input. Cat prints files content and following file will get content of the previous file.

Keep in mind this operation will overwrite all yourshell.sh content with new content

Append To File With Cat

While redirecting outputs previous content will be overwrite. to prevent overwrite and add new content to the existing content >> operator can be used.

Append To File With Cat
Append To File With Cat

Redirect Standard Input

Another useful usage of cat command is redirecting standard input. Generally the content of a file is the standard input.

Redirect Standard Input
Redirect Standard Input

Concatenate Multiple File Into One File

One of the most funny usage of cat command is adding multiple files into single file with a single shot.

Concatenate Multiple File Into One File
Concatenate Multiple File Into One File

Use With Sort

Using cat with sort command is an other useful scenario. All content of files are piped to the sort and sort will sort all content accordingly.

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Use With Sort
Use With Sort

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