Linux Command Library
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Tips

sort

sort lines of text files

- Sort a file in ascending order:
sort [filename]

- Sort a file in descending order:
sort -r [filename]

- Sort a file using numeric rather than alphabetic order:
sort -n [filename]

- Sort the passwd file by the 3rd field, numerically:
sort -t: -k 3n /etc/passwd

- Sort a file preserving only unique lines:
sort -u [filename]

sort [,OPTION/]... [,FILE/]... sort [,OPTION/]... ,--files0-from=F/

Write sorted concatenation of all FILE(s) to standard output.

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

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

-b, --ignore-leading-blanks
ignore leading blanks
-d, --dictionary-order
consider only blanks and alphanumeric characters
-f, --ignore-case
fold lower case to upper case characters
-g, --general-numeric-sort
compare according to general numerical value
-i, --ignore-nonprinting
consider only printable characters
-M, --month-sort
compare (unknown) < 'JAN' < ... < 'DEC'
-h, --human-numeric-sort
compare human readable numbers (e.g., 2K 1G)
-n, --numeric-sort
compare according to string numerical value
-R, --random-sort
shuffle, but group identical keys. See shuf(1)
--random-source=,FILE/
get random bytes from FILE
-r, --reverse
reverse the result of comparisons
--sort=,WORD/
sort according to WORD: general-numeric -g, human-numeric -h, month -M, numeric -n, random -R, version -V
-V, --version-sort
natural sort of (version) numbers within text

Other options:

--batch-size=,NMERGE/
merge at most NMERGE inputs at once; for more use temp files
-c, --check, --check=,diagnose-first/
check for sorted input; do not sort
-C, --check=,quiet/, --check=,silent/
like -c, but do not report first bad line
--compress-program=,PROG/
compress temporaries with PROG; decompress them with PROG -d
--debug
annotate the part of the line used to sort, and warn about questionable usage to stderr
--files0-from=,F/
read input from the files specified by NUL-terminated names in file F; If F is - then read names from standard input
-k, --key=,KEYDEF/
sort via a key; KEYDEF gives location and type
-m, --merge
merge already sorted files; do not sort
-o, --output=,FILE/
write result to FILE instead of standard output
-s, --stable
stabilize sort by disabling last-resort comparison
-S, --buffer-size=,SIZE/
use SIZE for main memory buffer
-t, --field-separator=,SEP/
use SEP instead of non-blank to blank transition
-T, --temporary-directory=,DIR/
use DIR for temporaries, not $TMPDIR or ,/tmp/; multiple options specify multiple directories
--parallel=,N/
change the number of sorts run concurrently to N
-u, --unique
with -c, check for strict ordering; without -c, output only the first of an equal run
-z, --zero-terminated
line delimiter is NUL, not newline
--help
display this help and exit
--version
output version information and exit

KEYDEF is F[.C][OPTS][,F[.C][OPTS]] for start and stop position, where F is a field number and C a character position in the field; both are origin 1, and the stop position defaults to the line's end. If neither -t nor -b is in effect, characters in a field are counted from the beginning of the preceding whitespace. OPTS is one or more single-letter ordering options [bdfgiMhnRrV], which override global ordering options for that key. If no key is given, use the entire line as the key. Use --debug to diagnose incorrect key usage.

SIZE may be followed by the following multiplicative suffixes: % 1% of memory, b 1, K 1024 (default), and so on for M, G, T, P, E, Z, Y.

*** WARNING *** The locale specified by the environment affects sort order. Set LC_ALL=C to get the traditional sort order that uses native byte values.

Written by Mike Haertel and Paul Eggert.

GNU coreutils online help: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/> Report sort translation bugs to <http://translationproject.org/team/>

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

shuf(1), uniq(1)

Full documentation at: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/sort> or available locally via: info '(coreutils) sort invocation'

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