Linux Command Library


number lines of files

- Number non-blank lines in a file:
nl [file]

- Read from standard output:
cat [file] | nl [options] -

- Number only the lines with printable text:
nl -t [file]

- Number all lines including blank lines:
nl -b a [file]

- Number only the body lines that match a basic regular expression (BRE) pattern:
nl -b p'FooBar[0-9]' [file]

nl [,OPTION/]... [,FILE/]...

Write each FILE to standard output, with line numbers added.

With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-b, --body-numbering=,STYLE/
use STYLE for numbering body lines
-d, --section-delimiter=,CC/
use CC for logical page delimiters
-f, --footer-numbering=,STYLE/
use STYLE for numbering footer lines
-h, --header-numbering=,STYLE/
use STYLE for numbering header lines
-i, --line-increment=,NUMBER/
line number increment at each line
-l, --join-blank-lines=,NUMBER/
group of NUMBER empty lines counted as one
-n, --number-format=,FORMAT/
insert line numbers according to FORMAT
-p, --no-renumber
do not reset line numbers for each section
-s, --number-separator=,STRING/
add STRING after (possible) line number
-v, --starting-line-number=,NUMBER/
first line number for each section
-w, --number-width=,NUMBER/
use NUMBER columns for line numbers
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

By default, selects -v1 -i1 -l1 -sTAB -w6 -nrn -hn -bt -fn. CC are two delimiter characters used to construct logical page delimiters, a missing second character implies :. Type \\ for \. STYLE is one of:

number all lines
number only nonempty lines
number no lines
number only lines that contain a match for the basic regular expression, BRE

FORMAT is one of:

left justified, no leading zeros
right justified, no leading zeros
right justified, leading zeros

Written by Scott Bartram and David MacKenzie.

GNU coreutils online help: <> Report nl translation bugs to <>

Copyright © 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>. This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Full documentation at: <> or available locally via: info '(coreutils) nl invocation'

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