Appendix C. A Sed and Awk Micro-Primer

Table of Contents
C.1. Sed
C.2. Awk

This is a very brief introduction to the sed and awk text processing utilities. We will deal with only a few basic commands here, but that will suffice for understanding simple sed and awk constructs within shell scripts.

sed: a non-interactive text file editor

awk: a field-oriented pattern processing language with a C-style syntax

For all their differences, the two utilities share a similar invocation syntax, use regular expressions , read input by default from stdin, and output to stdout. These are well-behaved UNIX tools, and they work together well. The output from one can be piped to the other, and their combined capabilities give shell scripts some of the power of Perl.


One important difference between the utilities is that while shell scripts can easily pass arguments to sed, it is more cumbersome for awk (see Example 36-5 and Example 28-2).