Introduction to UNIX for Web Developers The "cut" Utility The cut utility allows you to cut a specified bit of data from a file. The most common usage is to split delimited lines such that the command returns a given field for each row.

The "cut" utility follows the basic syntax shown below:

cut -c[character_position] filelist
or
cut -f[fields] -d[field separator] filelist

Consider the cut operation applied to the password file in which we direct the utility to return the 3rd field as delimited by the colon character.

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[cut Example]

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Options Description
-c[character_position] Specifies the character positions to cut out. It can be a comma delimited list, a dash specified range, or both such as 1,2,3 6-10,18
-f[fields] Specifies the fields that should be cut out provided you also specify a delimiter. this does not work with the -c option and vice versa.
-d[delimiter] The character that delimits fields
-s Specifies that if the specified delimiter does not appear in the line, that the line should not be included im the cut.

Below are some more examples of using cut. Notice that by default cut expects a tab character or space as a delimiter so no delimiter need be specified if your file is already delimited by a space character or tab.

[cut Example]

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