Linux / Unix: Add Line Numbers To Files

I know how to display line numbers using vim text editor. How do display line numbers in the left side for any text file under Unix or Linux operating systems?

You can use any one of the following commands to display line numbers:

[a] cat command

[b] nl command – Display each FILE to standard output (screen), with line numbers added.

[c] Gnu less command – Less is a program similar to more , but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement

[d] awk command

[e] perl or python


The cat command syntax is:

cat -n file
cat -n /etc/hosts

The nl command syntax is:

nl file
nl /etc/hosts

Sample outputs:

     1 localhost
     2	# wks01.WAG160N
     3	wks01
     4	# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
     5	::1 ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
     6	fe00::0 ip6-localnet
     7	ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
     8	ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
     9	ff02::2 ip6-allrouters
    10 v.b1 homerouter
    11 v.b2
    12 v.txvip1

The less command syntax is:

less -N file
less -N /etc/hosts

The awk command syntax is:

awk '{ print FNR " " $0 }' file
awk '{ print FNR " " $0 }' /etc/hosts
awk '{ print FNR "t" $0 }' /etc/hosts

The perl syntax is:

perl -pe '$_ = "$. $_"' file
perl -pe '$_ = "$. $_"' /etc/hosts

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


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