|Original author(s)||Joe Ossanna|
(AT&T Bell Laboratories)
|Developer(s)||Various open-source and commercial developers|
|Initial release||November 3, 1971|
|Operating system||Unix, Unix-like, V, Plan 9, Inferno, MSX-DOS, IBM i|
|License||Plan 9: MIT License|
wc (short for word count) is a command in Unix, Plan 9, Inferno, and Unix-like operating systems. The program reads either standard input or a list of computer files and generates one or more of the following statistics: newline count, word count, and byte count. If a list of files is provided, both individual file and total statistics follow.
Sample execution of wc:
$ wc foo bar 40 149 947 foo 2294 16638 97724 bar 2334 16787 98671 total
The first column is the count of newlines, meaning that the text file
foo has 40 newlines while
bar has 2294 newlines- resulting in a total of 2334 newlines. The second column indicates the number of words in each text file showing that there are 149 words in
foo and 16638 words in
bar – giving a total of 16787 words. The last column indicates the number of characters in each text file, meaning that the file
foo has 947 characters while
bar has 97724 characters – 98671 characters all in all.
Newer versions of
wc can differentiate between byte and character count. This difference arises with Unicode which includes multi-byte characters. The desired behaviour is selected with the
Through a pipeline, it can also be used to preview the output size of a command with a potentially large output, without it printing the text into the console:
$ grep -r "example" |wc 1071 23337 101349
wc 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 appeared in Version 1 Unix.
wc used to be part of the GNU textutils package; it is now part of GNU coreutils. The version of
wc bundled in GNU coreutils was written by Paul Rubin and David MacKenzie.
wc command is also part of ASCII's MSX-DOS2 Tools for MSX-DOS version 2.
The command is available as a separate package for Microsoft Windows as part of the GnuWin32 project and the UnxUtils collection of native Win32 ports of common GNU Unix-like utilities.
The wc command has also been ported to the IBM i operating system.
wc -c <filename>prints the byte count
wc -l <filename>prints the line count
wc -m <filename>prints the character count
wc -w <filename>prints the word count
wc -L <filename>prints the length of the longest line (GNU extension)
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