Linux cut command FAQ: Can you share some Linux cut command examples?
The Linux cut command is a really great command filter to know. You can use it to do all sorts of cool things when processing text files and text in command pipelines.
For a first cut command example, I'll use the /etc/passwd file on my Unix system. I use this file because fields in the file are separated by the ":" character, which make it very easy to work with.
Using that file, here's a Linux cut command that prints the first field (first column) of every line in that file:
cut -f1 -d: /etc/passwd
This cut command can be read as:
The output of this command will vary by Unix and Linux systems, but it will be the first field of your /etc/passwd file, which contains the name of the users on your system. This will look something like:
nobody alvin george fred
and so on.
You can also use the cut command in a Unix/Linux command pipeline. For example, although you can get this information in other ways, you can use the cut command with the ls command to get a list of filenames in the current directory, like this:
ls -al | cut -c44-
Notice that in this command I'm using the cut command "-c" option. This command can be read as:
As you can see, the -c option lets you deal with columns or character positions. In this example I wanted all the output from each line starting in column 44 and going to the end of the line, but if I wanted only columns 40 through 50, I could have specified that like this instead:
ls -al | cut -c44-50
That particular command doesn't make much sense in the real world, since filenames can all be different lengths, but it does show how to use a range of columns with the Linux cut command.
There are many other uses of the Unix cut command, but I wanted to share these with you to get started. The cut command is a great Unix shell script tool, and I highly recommend being familiar with it.
If you have questions about the Unix/Linux cut command, or have other cut command examples you'd like to share, just leave a note in the Comments section below.