paste(1p) — Linux manual page


PASTE(1P)               POSIX Programmer's Manual              PASTE(1P)

PROLOG         top

       This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual.  The
       Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the
       corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior),
       or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

NAME         top

       paste — merge corresponding or subsequent lines of files

SYNOPSIS         top

       paste [-s] [-d list] file...

DESCRIPTION         top

       The paste utility shall concatenate the corresponding lines of
       the given input files, and write the resulting lines to standard

       The default operation of paste shall concatenate the
       corresponding lines of the input files. The <newline> of every
       line except the line from the last input file shall be replaced
       with a <tab>.

       If an end-of-file condition is detected on one or more input
       files, but not all input files, paste shall behave as though
       empty lines were read from the files on which end-of-file was
       detected, unless the -s option is specified.

OPTIONS         top

       The paste utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of
       POSIX.1‐2017, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

       The following options shall be supported:

       -d list   Unless a <backslash> character appears in list, each
                 character in list is an element specifying a delimiter
                 character. If a <backslash> character appears in list,
                 the <backslash> character and one or more characters
                 following it are an element specifying a delimiter
                 character as described below. These elements specify
                 one or more delimiters to use, instead of the default
                 <tab>, to replace the <newline> of the input lines. The
                 elements in list shall be used circularly; that is,
                 when the list is exhausted the first element from the
                 list is reused. When the -s option is specified:

                  *  The last <newline> in a file shall not be modified.

                  *  The delimiter shall be reset to the first element
                     of list after each file operand is processed.

                 When the -s option is not specified:

                  *  The <newline> characters in the file specified by
                     the last file operand shall not be modified.

                  *  The delimiter shall be reset to the first element
                     of list each time a line is processed from each

                 If a <backslash> character appears in list, it and the
                 character following it shall be used to represent the
                 following delimiter characters:

                 \n    <newline>.

                 \t    <tab>.

                 \\    <backslash> character.

                 \0    Empty string (not a null character). If '\0' is
                       immediately followed by the character 'x', the
                       character 'X', or any character defined by the
                       LC_CTYPE digit keyword (see the Base Definitions
                       volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Chapter 7, Locale), the
                       results are unspecified.

                 If any other characters follow the <backslash>, the
                 results are unspecified.

       -s        Concatenate all of the lines from each input file into
                 one line of output per file, in command line order. The
                 <newline> of every line except the last line in each
                 input file shall be replaced with a <tab>, unless
                 otherwise specified by the -d option. If an input file
                 is empty, the output line corresponding to that file
                 shall consist of only a <newline> character.

OPERANDS         top

       The following operand shall be supported:

       file      A pathname of an input file. If '-' is specified for
                 one or more of the files, the standard input shall be
                 used; the standard input shall be read one line at a
                 time, circularly, for each instance of '-'.
                 Implementations shall support pasting of at least 12
                 file operands.

STDIN         top

       The standard input shall be used only if one or more file
       operands is '-'.  See the INPUT FILES section.

INPUT FILES         top

       The input files shall be text files, except that line lengths
       shall be unlimited.


       The following environment variables shall affect the execution of

       LANG      Provide a default value for the internationalization
                 variables that are unset or null. (See the Base
                 Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Section 8.2,
                 Internationalization Variables the precedence of
                 internationalization variables used to determine the
                 values of locale categories.)

       LC_ALL    If set to a non-empty string value, override the values
                 of all the other internationalization variables.

       LC_CTYPE  Determine the locale for the interpretation of
                 sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for
                 example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte
                 characters in arguments and input files).

                 Determine the locale that should be used to affect the
                 format and contents of diagnostic messages written to
                 standard error.

       NLSPATH   Determine the location of message catalogs for the
                 processing of LC_MESSAGES.



STDOUT         top

       Concatenated lines of input files shall be separated by the <tab>
       (or other characters under the control of the -d option) and
       terminated by a <newline>.

STDERR         top

       The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES         top




EXIT STATUS         top

       The following exit values shall be returned:

        0    Successful completion.

       >0    An error occurred.


       If one or more input files cannot be opened when the -s option is
       not specified, a diagnostic message shall be written to standard
       error, but no output is written to standard output. If the -s
       option is specified, the paste utility shall provide the default
       behavior described in Section 1.4, Utility Description Defaults.

       The following sections are informative.


       When the escape sequences of the list option-argument are used in
       a shell script, they must be quoted; otherwise, the shell treats
       the <backslash> as a special character.

       Conforming applications should only use the specific
       <backslash>-escaped delimiters presented in this volume of
       POSIX.1‐2017. Historical implementations treat '\x', where 'x' is
       not in this list, as 'x', but future implementations are free to
       expand this list to recognize other common escapes similar to
       those accepted by printf and other standard utilities.

       Most of the standard utilities work on text files. The cut
       utility can be used to turn files with arbitrary line lengths
       into a set of text files containing the same data. The paste
       utility can be used to create (or recreate) files with arbitrary
       line lengths. For example, if file contains long lines:

           cut -b 1-500 -n file > file1
           cut -b 501- -n file > file2

       creates file1 (a text file) with lines no longer than 500 bytes
       (plus the <newline>) and file2 that contains the remainder of the
       data from file.  Note that file2 is not a text file if there are
       lines in file that are longer than 500 + {LINE_MAX} bytes. The
       original file can be recreated from file1 and file2 using the

           paste -d "\0" file1 file2 > file

       The commands:

           paste -d "\0" ...
           paste -d "" ...

       are not necessarily equivalent; the latter is not specified by
       this volume of POSIX.1‐2017 and may result in an error. The
       construct '\0' is used to mean ``no separator'' because
       historical versions of paste did not follow the syntax
       guidelines, and the command:

           paste -d"" ...

       could not be handled properly by getopt().

EXAMPLES         top

        1. Write out a directory in four columns:

               ls | paste - - - -

        2. Combine pairs of lines from a file into single lines:

               paste -s -d "\t\n" file

RATIONALE         top




SEE ALSO         top

       Section 1.4, Utility Description Defaults, cut(1p), grep(1p),

       The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Chapter 7, Locale,
       Chapter 8, Environment Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax

COPYRIGHT         top

       Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic
       form from IEEE Std 1003.1-2017, Standard for Information
       Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The
       Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, 2018 Edition, Copyright
       (C) 2018 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
       Engineers, Inc and The Open Group.  In the event of any
       discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The
       Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group
       Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be
       obtained online at .

       Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page
       are most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of
       the source files to man page format. To report such errors, see .

IEEE/The Open Group               2017                         PASTE(1P)

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