|Original author(s)||AT&T Bell Laboratories|
|Developer(s)||Various open-source and commercial developers|
|Initial release||February 1985|
|Operating system||Unix, Unix-like, IBM i|
cut is a command line utility on Unix and Unix-like operating systems which is used to extract sections from each line of input — usually from a file. It is currently part of the GNU coreutils package and the BSD Base System.
Extraction of line segments can typically be done by bytes (
-b), characters (
-c), or fields (
-f) separated by a delimiter (
-d — the tab character by default). A range must be provided in each case which consists of one of
N to the end of the line), or
-M (beginning of the line to
M), where N and M are counted from 1 (there is no zeroth value). Since version 6, an error is thrown if you include a zeroth value. Prior to this the value was ignored and assumed to be 1.
cut is part of the X/Open Portability Guide since issue 2 of 1987. It was inherited into the first version of POSIX.1 and the Single Unix Specification. It first appeared in AT&T System III UNIX in 1982.
The version of
cut bundled in GNU coreutils was written by David M. Ihnat, David MacKenzie, and Jim Meyering. The command is available as a separate package for Microsoft Windows as part of the UnxUtils collection of native Win32 ports of common GNU Unix-like utilities. The cut command has also been ported to the IBM i operating system.
Assuming a file named "
file" containing the lines:
foo:bar:baz:qux:quux one:two:three:four:five:six:seven alpha:beta:gamma:delta:epsilon:zeta:eta:theta:iota:kappa:lambda:mu the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
To output the fourth through tenth characters of each line:
$ cut -c 4-10 file :bar:ba :two:th ha:beta quick
To output the fifth field through the end of the line of each line using the colon character as the field delimiter:
$ cut -d ":" -f 5- file quux five:six:seven epsilon:zeta:eta:theta:iota:kappa:lambda:mu the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
(note that because the colon character is not found in the last line the entire line is shown)
-d specified a single character delimiter (in the example above it is a colon) which serves as field separator. Option
-f which specifies range of fields included in the output (here fields range from five till the end). Option
-d presupposes usage of option
To output the third field of each line using space as the field delimiter:
$ cut -d " " -f 3 file foo:bar:baz:qux:quux one:two:three:four:five:six:seven alpha:beta:gamma:delta:epsilon:zeta:eta:theta:iota:kappa:lambda:mu brown
(Note that because the space character is not found in the first three lines these entire lines are shown.)
To separate two words having any delimiter:
$ line=process.processid $ cut -d "." -f1 <<< $line process $ cut -d "." -f2 <<< $line processid
cut [-b list] [-c list] [-f list] [-n] [-d delim] [-s] [file]
Flags which may be used include:
cut -b1-66would return the first 66 bytes of a line. NB If used in conjunction with -n, no multi-byte characters will be split. NNB. -b will only work on input lines of less than 1023 bytes
cut -c1-66would return the first 66 characters of a line