sed FAQ, version 014

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Eric Pement

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Archive-name: editor-faq/sed
Posting-Frequency: bimonthly
Last-modified: 2000/04/28
Version: 014
URL: http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sedfaq.html
Maintainer: Eric Pement <epe...@jpusa.chi.il.us>


THE SED FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about
sed, the stream editor

CONTENTS:

1. GENERAL INFORMATION
1.1. Introduction - How this FAQ is organized
1.2. Latest version of the sed FAQ
1.3. FAQ revision information
1.4. How do I add a question/answer to the sed FAQ?
1.5. FAQ abbreviations
1.6. Credits and acknowledgements
1.7. Standard disclaimers

2. BASIC SED
2.1. What is sed?
2.2. What versions of sed are there, and where can I get them?

2.2.1. Free versions

2.2.1.1. Unix platforms
2.2.1.2. OS/2
2.2.1.3. Microsoft Windows (Win3x, Win9x, WinNT, Win2K)
2.2.1.4. MS-DOS
2.2.1.5. CP/M

2.2.2. Shareware and Commercial versions

2.2.2.1. Unix platforms
2.2.2.2. OS/2
2.2.2.3. Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000
2.2.2.4. MS-DOS

2.3. Where can I learn to use sed?

2.3.1. Books
2.3.2. Mailing list
2.3.3. Tutorials, electronic text
2.3.4. General web and ftp sites

3. TECHNICAL
3.1. More detailed explanation of basic sed
3.2. Common one-line sed scripts. How do I . . . ?

- double/triple-space a file?
- convert DOS/Unix newlines?
- delete leading/trailing spaces?
- do substitutions on all/certain lines?
- delete consecutive blank lines?
- delete blank lines at the top/end of the file?

3.3. Addressing and address ranges
3.4. [reserved]
3.5. [reserved]
3.6. Notes about s2p, the sed-to-perl translator
3.7. GNU/POSIX extensions to regular expressions

4. EXAMPLES
4.1. How do I perform a case-insensitive search?
4.2. How do I make changes in only part of a file?
4.3. How do I change only the first occurrence of a pattern?
4.4. How do I make substitutions in every file in a directory, or in a
complete directory tree?

4.4.1 - Perl solution
4.4.2 - Unix solution
4.4.3 - DOS solution

4.5. How do I parse a comma-delimited data file?
4.6. How do I insert a newline into the RHS of a substitution?
4.7. How do I represent control-codes or non-printable characters?
4.8. How do I read environment variables with sed?

4.8.1. - on Unix platforms
4.8.2. - on MS-DOS or 4DOS platforms

4.9. How do I export or pass variables back into the environment?

4.9.1. - on Unix platforms
4.9.2. - on MS-DOS or 4DOS platforms

4.10. How do I handle shell quoting in sed?
4.11. How do I delete a block of text if the block contains a certain
regular expression?
4.12. How do I locate/print a paragraph of text if the paragraph
contains a certain regular expression?
4.13. How do I delete a block of _specific_ consecutive lines?
4.14. How do I read (insert/add) a file at the top of a textfile?
4.15. How do I address all the lines between RE1 and RE2, excluding
the lines themselves?
4.16. How do I replace "/some/UNIX/path" in a substitution?
4.17. How do I replace "C:\SOME\DOS\PATH" in a substitution?
4.18. How do I convert files with toggle characters, like +this+, to
look like [i]this[/i]?
4.19. How do I delete only the first occurrence of a pattern?
4.20. How do I commify a string of numbers?

5. WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?
5.1. Why don't my variables like $var get expanded in my sed script?
5.2. I'm using 'p' to print, but I have duplicate lines sometimes.
5.3. Why does my DOS version of sed process a file part-way through
and then quit?
5.4. My RE isn't matching/deleting what I want it to. (Or, "Greedy vs.
stingy pattern matching")
5.5. What is CSDPMI*B.ZIP and why do I need it?
5.6. Where are the man pages for GNU sed?
5.7. How do I tell what version of sed I am using?
5.8. Does sed issue an exit code?
5.9. The 'r' command isn't inserting the file into the text.
5.10. Why can't I match or delete a newline using the \n escape |
sequence? Why can't I match 2 or more lines using \n? |
5.11. My script aborts with an error message, "event not found". |

6. OTHER ISSUES
6.1. I have a problem that stumps me. Where can I get help?
6.2. How does sed compare with awk, perl, and other utilities?
6.3. When should I use sed?
6.4. When should I NOT use sed?
6.5. When should I ignore sed and use Awk or Perl instead?
6.6. Known limitations among sed versions
6.7. Known bugs among sed versions
6.8. Known incompatibilities between sed versions

6.8.1. Issuing commands from the command line
6.8.2. Using comments (prefixed by the '#' sign)
6.8.3. Special syntax in REs
6.8.4. Word boundaries
6.8.5. Range addressing with GNU sed and HHsed
6.8.6. Commands which operate differently |

------------------------------

1. GENERAL INFORMATION

1.1. Introduction - How this FAQ is organized

This FAQ is organized to answer common (and some uncommon)
questions about sed, quickly. If you see a term or abbreviation in
the examples that seems unclear, see if the term is defined in
section 1.5. If not, write us and we'll try to clarify it for the
next version of the FAQ.

1.2. Latest version of the sed FAQ

The newest version of the sed FAQ is usually here:

http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sedfaq.html
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sedfaq.txt
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/sedfaq.html
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/sedfaq.txt
http://www.ptug.org/sed/sedfaq.html
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/editor-faq/sed
ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/faqs/editor-faq/sed

Another FAQ file on sed by a different author can be found here:

http://www.dreamwvr.com/sed-info/sed-faq.html

1.3. FAQ revision information

Changes to this FAQ since the last version are indicated by a
vertical bar (|) placed in column 78 of the affected lines. To
remove the vertical bars (use double quotes for MS-DOS):

sed 's/ *|$//' sedfaq.txt > sedfaq2.txt

In the HTML version, vertical bars do not appear. New or altered
portions of the FAQ are indicated by printing in dark blue type.

In the text version, words needing emphasis may be surrounded by
the underscore '_' or the asterisk '*'. In the HTML version, these
are changed to italics and boldface, respectively.

1.4. How do I add a question/answer to the sed FAQ?

Word your question succinctly and clearly, and e-mail it Eric
Pement <epe...@jpusa.org>, indicating your proposed addition to
the FAQ. We'll post it on the sed-users mailing list (see section
2.3.2, below) and discuss it there. If some agreement, your
contribution will be included in the next edition of the FAQ.

1.5. FAQ abbreviations:

files = one or more filenames, separated by whitespace
RE = Regular Expressions supported by sed
LHS = the left-hand side ("find" part) of "s/find/repl/" command
RHS = the right-hand side ("replace" part) of "s/find/repl/" cmd.

files: "files" stands for one or more filenames entered on the
command line. The names may include any wildcards your shell
understands (such as ``zork*'' or ``Aug[4-9].let''). Sed will
process each filename passed to it by the shell.

RE: For the syntax of Basic Regular Expressions (BREs), type "man
ed" and read the documentation for regular expressions. A technical
description of BREs from the Single UNIX Specification, Version 2,
by The Open Group (joint committee on Unix) is available online at
<http://www.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/7908799/xbd/re.html#tag_007_003>. |
Sed normally supports BREs plus '\n' to match a newline in the
pattern space and '\xREx' as equivalent to '/RE/', where 'x' is any
character other than another backslash.

Some versions of sed support supersets of BREs, or "extended
regular expressions", which offer additional metacharacters for
increased flexibility. For additional information on extended REs
in GNU sed, see sections 3.7 ("GNU/POSIX extensions to regular
expressions") and 6.8.3 ("Special syntax in REs"), below.

LHS: In sed, the LHS may be a string literal (e.g., "foo") or any
valid regular expression supported by your version of sed. Some
versions of sed support things like \t for TAB, \r for carriage
return, \xNN for direct entry of hex codes, etc. Other versions of
sed do not support this syntax.

RHS: The right-hand side (the replacement part in s/find/replace/)
is almost always a string literal, with no interpolation of the
metacharacters (.), (^), ($), ([), or \(...\) -- with the following
exceptions: \1 through \9 are replaced by the corresponding group,
if grouping \(...\) was used in the LHS. If no grouping was used
in the LHS, then \1 through \9 are replaced by literal digits. '&'
is replaced by the entire expression matched on the LHS. To enter a
literal ampersand or backslash in the RHS, type '\&' or '\\'.

1.6. Credits and acknowledgements

My time spent messing with sed, composing this FAQ, and generally
doing text manipulation which is unrelated to my job description is
due to the kind tolerance of the Christian magazine I work for,
Cornerstone. So, let me say thanks to the mag staff for indulging
this somewhat unusual "ministry." Please visit this site:

http://www.cornerstonemag.com

Many of the ideas for this FAQ were taken from the Awk FAQ
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/computer-lang/awk/faq/
ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/comp.lang.awk/faq

and from the Perl FAQ
http://www.perl.com/perl/FAQ
http://www.perl.com/CPAN/doc/FAQs/FAQ/html/index.html
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/perl/CPAN/doc/FAQs/FAQ

The following individuals have contributed significantly to this
document, and have provided input and wording suggestions for
questions, answers, and script examples. Credit goes to these
contributors (in alphabetical order by last name):

Al Aab <af137@freenet*toronto*on*ca>
Yiorgos Adamopoulos <adamo@softlab*ece*ntua*gr>
Walter Briscoe <walter@wbriscoe*demon*co*uk>
Jim Dennis <jadestar@rahul*net>
Carlos Duarte <cdua@algos*inesc*pt>
Otavio Exel <oexel@economatica*com*br>
Mark Katz <mark@ispc001*demon*co*uk>
Eric Pement <epement@jpusa*org> |
Greg Pfeiffer <gpfeiffe@yahoo*com>
Ken Pizzini <ken@halcyon*com>
Niall Smart <nialls@euristix*ie>
Simon Taylor <staylor@unisolve*com*au>
Greg Ubben <gsu@romulus*ncsc*mil>

Note: Periods (.) are replaced with asterisks (*) to foil e-mail
harvesting and spam-bots.

1.7. Standard disclaimers

While a serious attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the
information presented herein, the contributors and maintainers of
this document do not claim the absence of errors and make no
warranties on the information provided. If you notice any errors or
ambiguous wording, please notify the FAQ maintainer so it can be
fixed for the next edition.

------------------------------

2. BASIC SED

2.1. What is sed?

"sed" stands for Stream EDitor. Sed is a non-interactive editor,
written by the late Lee E. McMahon in 1973 or 1974. A brief history
of sed's origins may be found in an early history of the Unix
tools, at <http://www.columbia.edu/~rh120/ch106.x09>.

Instead of the user altering a file interactively by moving the
cursor on the screen (like with Word Perfect), the user sends a
script of editing instructions to sed, plus the name of the file to
edit (or the text to be edited may come as output from a pipe). In
this sense, sed works like a filter -- deleting, inserting and
changing characters, words, and lines of text. Its range of
activity goes from small, simple changes to very complex ones.

Sed reads its input from stdin (Unix shorthand for "standard
input," i.e., the console) or from files (or both), and sends the
results to stdout ("standard output," normally the console or
screen). Most people use sed first for its substitution features.
Sed is often used as a find-and-replace tool.

sed 's/Glenn/Harold/g' oldfile >newfile

will replace every occurrence of "Glenn" with the word "Harold",
wherever it occurs in the file. The "find" portion is a regular
expression ("RE"), which can be a simple word or may contain
special characters to allow greater flexibility (for example, to
prevent "Glenn" from also matching "Glennon").

My very first use of sed was to add 8 spaces to the left side of a
file, so when I printed it, the printing wouldn't begin at the
absolute left edge of a piece of paper.

sed 's/^/ /' myfile >newfile # my first sed script
sed 's/^/ /' myfile | lp # my next sed script

Then I learned that sed could display only one paragraph of a file,
beginning at the phrase "and where it came" and ending at the
phrase "for all people". My script looked like this:

sed -n '/and where it came/,/for all people/p' myfile

Sed's normal behavior is to print (i.e., display or show on screen)
the entire file, including the parts that haven't been altered,
unless you use the -n switch. The "-n" stands for "no output". This
switch is almost always used in conjunction with a 'p' command
somewhere, which says to print only the sections of the file that
have been specified. The -n switch with the 'p' command allow for
parts of a file to be printed (i.e., sent to the console).

Next, I found that sed could show me only (say) lines 12-18 of a
file and not show me the rest. This was very handy when I needed to
review only part of a long file and I didn't want to alter it.

sed -n 12,18p myfile # the 'p' stands for print

Likewise, sed could show me everything else BUT those particular
lines, without physically changing the file on the disk:

sed 12,18d myfile # the 'd' stands for delete

Sed could also double-space my single-spaced file when it came time
to print it:

sed G myfile >newfile

If you have many editing commands (for deleting, adding,
substituting, etc.) which might take up several lines, those
commands can be put into a separate file and all of the commands in
the file applied to file being edited:

sed -f script.sed myfile # 'script.sed' is the file of commands
# 'myfile' is the file being changed

It is not our intention to convert this FAQ file into a full-blown
sed tutorial (for good tutorials, see section 2.3). Rather, we hope
this gives the complete novice a few ideas of how sed can be used.

2.2. What versions of sed are there, and where can I get them?

2.2.1. Free versions

Note: "Free" does not mean "public domain" nor does it necessarily
mean you will never be charged for it. All versions of sed in this
section except the CP/M versions are based on the GNU general
public license and are "free software" by that standard (for
details, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html). This
means you can get the source code and develop it further.

At the URLs listed in this category, sed binaries or source code
can be downloaded and used without fees or license payments.

2.2.1.1. Unix platforms

GNU sed v3.02.80
Now a,i,c commands can accept a string after them. Range syntax now
supports "/RE/,+n" (next n lines) or "/RE/,~n" (till the next line
which is a multiple of n). NULs permitted in regexes; \n, \t, \a,
\f, \xHH hex codes supported on LHS and RHS; more changes. An alpha
test release which (if found bug-free) will become GNU sed version
3.03. Supersedes GNU sed-3.02a.
ftp://alpha.gnu.org/pub/gnu/sed/sed-3.02.80.tar.gz

GNU sed v3.02a
Interim version with most of what is now gsed-3.02.80 (above),
which supersedes it.

GNU sed v3.02
This is the latest official version of GNU sed
ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/sed/sed-3.02.tar.gz

GNU sed v2.05
This version is superseded by v3.02 and v3.02.80, above.

GNU mirror sites. A list of mirror sites is at:
http://www.ensta.fr/internet/unix/GNU-archives.html

Precompiled versions:

GNU sed v3.02-4
source code and binaries for Debian GNU/Linux
http://www.debian.org/Packages/unstable/base/sed.html

GNU sed v3.02-1
source code and binaries for Debian GNU/Linux
http://www.debian.org/Packages/stable/base/sed.html

The 4.4BSD version of sed is available from any 4.4BSD-Lite2 mirror
site:
ftp://ftp.ntua.gr/pub/bsd/4.4BSD/usr/src/usr.bin/sed/

For some time, the GNU project <http://www.gnu.org> used Eric S.
Raymond's version of sed (ESR sed v1.1), but eventually dropped it
because it had too many built-in limits. In 1991 Howard Helman
modified the GNU/ESR sed and produced a flexible version of sed
v1.5 available at several sites (Helman's version permitted things
like \<...\> to delimit word boundaries, \xHH to enter hex code and
\n to indicate newlines in the replace string). This version did
not catch on with the GNU project and their version of sed has
moved in a similar but different direction.

sed v1.3, by Eric Steven Raymond (released 4 June 1998)
http://earthspace.net/~esr/sed-1.3.tar.gz

Eric Raymond <e...@snark.thyrsus.com> wrote one of the earliest
versions of sed. On his website <http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/> which
also distributes many freeware utilities he has written or worked
on, he describes sed v1.1 this way:

"This is the fast, small sed originally distributed in the GNU
toolkit and still distributed with Minix. The GNU people ditched it
when they built their own sed around an enhanced regex package --
but it's still better for some uses (in particular, faster and less
memory-intensive)." (Version 1.3 fixes an unidentified bug and adds
the L command to hexdump the current pattern space.)

2.2.1.2. OS/2

GNU sed v3.02.80 |
http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~vtgf3mpr/gnu/sed.htm |

GNU sed v2.05 (requires 'emxrt.zip', below)
http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/os2/editors/gnused.zip
http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/os2/emx09c/emxrt.zip

GNU sed v1.06
http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/os2/editors/sed106.zip

2.2.1.3. Microsoft Windows (Win3x, Win9x, WinNT, Win2K)

GNU sed v3.02.80
32-bit binaries and docs, using DJGPP compiler. For details on new
features, see Unix section, above.
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sed3028a.zip # DOS binaries
ftp://alpha.gnu.org/pub/gnu/sed/sed-3.02.80.tar.gz # source

GNU sed v3.02
32-bit binaries and source, using DJGPP compiler. Requires 80386 SX
or better. Also requires 3 CWS*.EXE extenders if run under MS-DOS.
See section 5.5 ("What is CSDPMI*B.ZIP and why do I need it?"),
below. This version will run under Windows or under MS-DOS.

The binary archive (sed302b.zip) contains 2 executables, sed.exe
and gsed.exe. sed.exe was compiled with the DJGPP regex library,
which is POSIX.2-compliant and usually runs faster; gsed.exe was
compiled with the GNU regex library, which though it runs slower
and is almost POSIX.2-compliant, it has a richer set of regexs and
will run faster on certain complex regexs which cause the DJGPP
sed.exe to run extremely slowly.
ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed302b.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/.27/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed302b.zip
ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed302s.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/.27/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed302s.zip

GNU sed v2.05
32-bit binaries, no docs. Requires 80386 DX (SX will not run) and
must be run in a DOS window or in a full screen DOS session under
Microsoft Windows. Will not run in MS-DOS mode (outside Win/Win95).
We recommend using GNU sed v3.02 (above) instead.
http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/win95/prog/gsed205b.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/.27/simtelnet/win95/prog/gsed205b.zip

GNU sed v1.03
modified by Frank Whaley.
ftp://ftp.itribe.net/pub/virtunix/gnused.zip

Again, we recommend avoiding versions of GNU sed other than version
3.02 or 3.02.80. However, this version appears to be built on gsed
v1.03 beta as a base and then augmented farther. The authors did
not give this sed its own version number or name. Gsed v1.03 is
offered in the "Virtually UN*X" set of Win32 utilities at
<http://www.itribe.net/virtunix/>. It supports Win 95/98/NT long
filenames, and runs in a DOS session or DOS window under Microsoft
Windows, but does not run in DOS mode. This version of sed supports
hex, decimal, binary, and octal representation in expressions.

The Cygwin toolkit:
http://sourceware.cygnus.com/cygwin/

Formerly know as "GNU-Win32 tools." According to their home page,
"The Cygwin tools are Win32 ports of the popular GNU development
tools for Windows NT, 95 and 98. They function through the use of
the Cygwin library which provides a UNIX-like API on top of the
Win32 API." The version of sed used is GNU sed v3.02.

Minimalist GNU-Win32 (Mingw32):
ftp://agnes.dida.physik.uni-essen.de/home/janjaap/mingw32/binaries/sed-2.05.zip
http://agnes.dida.physik.uni-essen.de/~janjaap/mingw32/download.html

According to their home page, "The Minimalist GNU-Win32 Package (or
Mingw32) is simply a set of header files and initialization code
which allows a GNU compiler to link programs with one of the C
run-time libraries provided by Microsoft. By default it uses
CRTDLL, which is built into all Win32 operating systems." The
download page says Mingw32 programs "behave like you would expect
from a Windows application. They support drive letters, for
example. A side effect of using CRTDLL is that Mingw32 is
thread-safe, while Cygwin32 is not." The version of sed used is GNU
sed v2.05.

sed v1.5 (a/k/a HHsed), by Howard Helman
Compiled with Mingw32 for 32-bit environments described above. This
version should support Win95 long filenames.
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/sed15.exe
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sed15exe.zip

2.2.1.4. MS-DOS

sed v1.5 (a/k/a HHsed), by Howard Helman
uncompiled source code (Turbo C)
ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15.zip
ftp://oak.oakland.edu/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15.zip
ftp://uiarchive.uiuc.edu/pub/systems/pc/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15.zip

DOS executable and documentation
ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15x.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15x.zip
ftp://oak.oakland.edu/pub/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15x.zip
ftp://uiarchive.uiuc.edu/pub/systems/pc/simtelnet/msdos/txtutl/sed15x.zip

sedmod v1.0, by Hern Chen
http://www.ptug.org/sed/SEDMOD10.ZIP
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sedmod10.zip
ftp://garbo.uwasa.fi/pc/unix/sedmod10.zip
CompuServe DTPFORUM, "PC DTP Tools" library, file SEDMOD.ZIP

GNU sed v3.02.80
See section 2.2.1.3 ("Microsoft Windows"), above.

GNU sed v3.02
See section 2.2.1.3 ("Microsoft Windows"), above.

GNU sed v2.05
Does not run under MS-DOS.

GNU sed v1.18
32-bit binaries and source, using DJGPP compiler. Requires 80386 SX
or better. Also requires 3 CWS*.EXE extenders on the path. See
section 5.5 ("What is CSDPMI*B.ZIP and why do I need it?"), below.
We recommend using GNU sed v3.02 (above) instead.
http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed118b.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed118b.zip
http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed118s.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/sed118s.zip

GNU sed v1.06
16-bit binaries and source. Should run under any MS-DOS system.
http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/gnuish/sed106.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/gnu/gnuish/sed106.zip

2.2.1.5. CP/M

ssed v2.2, by Chuck A. Forsberg
http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/cpm/txtutl/ssed22.lbr

Written for CP/M, ssed (for "small/stupid stream editor) supports
only the a(ppend), c(hange), d(elete) and i(nsert) options, and
apparently doesn't support regular expressions. It does have a -u
option to "unsqueeze" compressed files and was used mainly in
conjunction with dif.com for source code maintenance.

change, by Michael M. Rubenstein
http://oak.oakland.edu/pub/cpm/txtutl/ttools.lbr

Rubenstein probably felt that "sed" was an obscure name, so he
renamed it CHANGE.COM (the TTOOLS.LBR archive member CHANGE.CZM is
a "crunched" file). Unlike ssed, change supports full RE's except
for grouping and backreferences, and its only function is for
global substitution.

2.2.2. Shareware and Commercial versions

2.2.2.1. Unix platforms

** Information needed **

2.2.2.2. OS/2

Hamilton Labs:
http://www.hamiltonlabs.com/cshell.htm

A sizable set of Unix/C shell utilities designed for OS/2. Price is
$350 in the US, $395 elsewhere, with FedEx shipping, unconditional
guarantee, unlimited support and free updates. A demo version of
the suite can be downloaded from this site, but a stand-alone copy
of sed is not available.

2.2.2.3. Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000

Hamilton Labs:
http://www.hamiltonlabs.com/cshell.htm

A sizable set of Unix/C shell utilities designed for Win9x, WinNT,
and Win2K. Price is $350 in the US, $395 elsewhere, with FedEx
shipping, unconditional guarantee, unlimited support and free
updates. A demo version of the suite can be downloaded from this
site, but a stand-alone copy of sed is not available.

Interix:
http://www.interix.com

Interix (formerly known as OpenNT) is advertised as "a complete
UNIX system environment running natively on Microsoft Windows NT",
and is licensed and supported by Softway Systems. It offers over
200 Unix utilities, and supports Unix shells, sockets, networking,
and more. A single-user edition runs about $200. A free demo or
evaluation copy will run for 31 days and then quit; to continue
using it, you must purchase the commercial version.

MKS NuTCRACKER Professional
http://www.datafocus.com/products/nutc/

A different, yet related product line offered by MKS (Mortice Kern
Systems, below); the awkward spelling "NuTCRACKER" is intentional.
Various packages offer hundreds of Unix utilities for Win32
environments. Sed is not available as a separate product.

UnixDos:
http://www.unixdos.com

UnixDos is a suite of 82 Unix utilities ported over to the Windows
environments. There are 16-bit versions for Win 3.1 and 32-bit
versions for WinNT/Win95. It is distributed as uncrippled shareware
for the first 30 days. After the test period, the utilities will
not run and you must pay the registration fee of $50.

Their version of sed supports "\n" in the RHS of expressions, and
increases the length of input lines to 10,000 characters. By
special arrangement with the owners, persons who want a licensed
version of sed *only* (without the other utilities) may pay a
license fee of $10.

U/WIN:
http://www.research.att.com/sw/tools/uwin/

U/WIN is a suite of Unix utilities created for WinNT and Win95
systems. It is owned by AT&T, created by David Korn (author of the
Unix korn shell), and is freely distributed only to educational
institutions, AT&T employees, or certain researchers; all others
must pay a fee after a 90-day evaluation period expires. U/WIN
operates best with the NTFS (WinNT file system) but will run in
degraded mode with the FAT file system and in further degraded mode
under Win95. A minimal installation takes about 25 to 30 megs of
disk space. Sed is not available as a separate file for download,
but comes with the suite.

2.2.2.4. MS-DOS

Mix C/Utilities Toolchest |
http://www.mixsoftware.com/product/utility.htm |

According to their web page, "The C/Utilities Toolchest adds over |
40 powerful UNIX utilities to your MS-DOS operating system. The |
result is an environment very similar to UNIX operating systems, |
yet 100% compatible with MS-DOS programs and commands." The |
toolchest costs $19.95, with source code available for an |
additional fee. Mix C's version of sed is not available separately. |

MKS (Mortice Kern Systems) Toolkit
http://www.mks.com

Sed comes bundled with the MKS Toolkit, which is distributed only
as commercial software; it is not available separately.

Thompson Automation Software
http://www.teleport.com/~thompson/

The Thompson Toolkit contains over 100 familiar Unix utilities,
including a version of the Unix Korn shell. It runs under MS-DOS,
OS/2, Win 3.0/3.1, Win95, and WinNT. Sed is one of the utilities,
though Thompson is better known for its version of awk for DOS,
TAWK. The toolkit runs about $150; sed is not available separately.

2.3. Where can I learn to use sed?

2.3.1. Books

_Sed & Awk, 2d edition_, by Dale Dougherty & Arnold Robbins
(Sebastopol, Calif: O'Reilly and Associates, 1997)
ISBN 1-56592-225-5
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/sed2/noframes.html

About 40 percent of this book is devoted to sed, and maybe 50
percent is devoted to awk. The other 10 percent is given to regular
expressions and concepts which are common to both tools. If you
prefer hard copy, this is definitely the best single place to learn
to use sed, including its advanced features.

The first edition is also very useful. Several typos crept into the
first printing of the first edition (though if you follow the
tutorials closely, you'll recognize them right away). A list of
errors from the first printing of _sed & awk_ is available at
<http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~dzubera/sedawk.txt>, and errors in
the 2nd are at <http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~dzubera/sedawk2.txt>,
though most of these were corrected in later printings. The second
edition tells how POSIX standards have affected these tools and
covers the popular GNU versions of sed and awk. Price is about (US)
$30.00

-----

_Mastering Regular Expressions_, by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
(Sebastopol, Calif: O'Reilly and Associates, 1997)
ISBN 1-56592-257-3
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/regex/
http://enterprise.ic.gc.ca/~jfriedl/regex/index.html

Knowing how to use "regular expressions" is essential to effective
use of most Unix tools. This book focuses on how regular
expressions can be best implemented in utilities such as perl, vi,
emacs, and awk, but also touches on sed as well. Friedl's home page
(above) gives links to other sites which help students learn to
master regular expressions. His site also gives a Perl script for
determining a syntactically valid e-mail address, using regexes:
http://enterprise.ic.gc.ca/~jfriedl/regex/email-opt.pl

-----

_Awk und Sed_, by Helmut Herold. (Bonn: Addison-Wesley, 1994)
ISBN 3-89319-685-4
VVA-Nr. 563-00685-8

The text of this book is in German. Now out of print.

-----

_Linux-Unix-Profitools: awk, sed, lex, yacc und make_, by Helumt
Herold. (Bonn: Addison-Wesley, 1998)
ISBN 3-8273-1448-8

http://www.addison-wesley.de:80/katalog/item.ppml?id=00262

The text of this book is in German. (Comments from German-speaking
reviewers appreciated!)

2.3.2. Mailing list

The informal "seders" mailing list has changed to a Majordomo
mailing list called "sed-users". Regular and digest versions are
available. Average mail volume is 12-25 messages per week. For more
information, address mail to "majo...@jpusa.org" with any subject |
line and the following in the message body: |

info sed-users your...@your.site |

To subscribe, mail to "majo...@jpusa.org" with any subject line |
and one of the following in the message body: |

subscribe sed-users your...@your.site
subscribe sed-users-digest your...@your.site

2.3.3. Tutorials, electronic text

The original users manual for sed, by Lee E. McMahon, from the
7th edition UNIX Manual (1978), with the classic "Kubla Khan"
example and tutorial, in formatted text format:
http://www.urc.bl.ac.yu/manuals/progunix/sed.txt
http://www.softlab.ntua.gr/unix/docs/sed.txt

The source code to the preceding manual. Use "troff -ms sed" to
print this file properly:
http://plan9.bell-labs.com/7thEdMan/vol2/sed
http://cm.bell-labs.com/7thEdMan/vol2/sed

"Do It With Sed", by Carlos Duarte
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/sedtut_1.html

U-SEDIT2.ZIP, by Mike Arst (16 June 1990)
http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/systems/ibmpc/garbo.uwasa.fi/editor/u-sedit2.zip
ftp://ftp.cs.umu.se/pub/pc/u-sedit2.zip
ftp://ftp.uni-stuttgart.de/pub/systems/msdos/util/unixlike/u-sedit2.zip
ftp://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/vol/d2/garbo/pc/editor/u-sedit2.zip
ftp://ftp.sogang.ac.kr/.1/msdos_garbo/editor/u-sedit2.zip

U-SEDIT3.ZIP, by Mike Arst (24 Jan. 1992)
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/u-sedit3.zip
CompuServe DTPFORUM, "PC DTP Utilities" library, file SEDDOC.ZIP

Another sed FAQ
http://www.dreamwvr.com/sed-info/sed-faq.html

sed-tutorial, by Felix von Leitner
http://www.math.fu-berlin.de/~leitner/sed/tutorial.html

"Manipulating text with sed," chapter 14 of the SCO OpenServer
"Operating System Users Guide"
http://dontask.caltech.edu:457/cgi-bin/printchapter/OSUserG/BOOKCHAPTER-14.html
http://www.multisoft.it:457/OSUserG/_Manipulating_text_with_sed.html

"Combining the Bourne-shell, sed and awk in the UNIX environment
for language analysis," by Lothar M. Schmitt and Kiel T.
Christianson. This basic tutorial on the Bourne shell, sed and awk
downloads as a 71-page PostScript file (compressed to 290K with
gzip). You may need to navigate down from the root to get the file.
ftp://ftp.u-aizu.ac.jp/u-aizu/doc/Tech-Report/1997/97-2-007.tar.gz
available upon request from Lothar Schmitt <lot...@u-aizu.ac.jp>

2.3.4. General web and ftp sites

http://seders.icheme.org/ # Casper Boden-Cummins |
http://www.cis.nctu.edu.tw/~gis84806/sed/ # Yao-Jen Chang
http://www.math.fu-berlin.de/~guckes/sed/ # Sven Guckes
http://www.math.fu-berlin.de/~leitner/sed/ # Felix von Leitner
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/ # Yiorgos Adamopoulos
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/ # Eric Pement

http://spacsun.rice.edu/FAQ/sed.html

ftp://algos.inesc.pt/pub/users/cdua/scripts/sed (Carlos Duarte)
ftp://algos.inesc.pt/pub/users/cdua/scripts/sh (sed & shell script)

"Handy One-Liners For Sed", compiled by Eric Pement. A large list
of 1-line sed commands which can be executed from the command line.
http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sed1line.txt
http://www.dbnet.ece.ntua.gr/~george/sed/1liners.html

The Single UNIX Specification, Version 2 (technical man page)
http://www.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/7908799/xcu/sed.html |

Getting started with sed
http://ftp.uni-klu.ac.at/sed/sed.html

Comments in sed
http://www.bluesky.com.au:457/OSUserG/_Comments_in_sed.html

"Using sed"
http://www.multisoft.it:457/OSUserG/_Using_sed_main.html

masm to gas converter
http://www.delorie.com/djgpp/faq/converting/asm2s-sed.html

AltaVista results: "sed script" (744+)
http://www.altavista.com/cgi-bin/query?pg=q&kl=XX&stype=stext&q=%22sed+script%22

Google results: "sed script" (668+)
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22sed+script%22

HotBot results: "sed script" (190+)
http://www.hotbot.com/?MT=%22sed+script%22&SM=MC&DV=0&LG=any&DC=10&DE=2

mail2html.zip
http://hiwaay.net/~crispen/src/mail2html.zip

customize VIM to aid writing sed scripts
http://www.fys.uio.no/~hakonrk/vim/syntax/sed.vim

sample uses of sed in batch files and scripts (Benny Pederson)
http://users.cybercity.dk/~bse26236/batutil/help/SED.HTM

------------------------------

3. TECHNICAL

3.1. More detailed explanation of basic sed

Sed takes a script of editing commands and applies each command, in
order, to each line of input. After all the commands have been
applied to the first line of input, that line is output. A second
input line is taken for processing, and the cycle repeats. Sed
scripts can address a single line by line number or by matching a
/RE pattern/ on the line. An exclamation mark '!' after a regex
('/RE/!') or line number will select all lines that do NOT match
that address. Sed can also address a range of lines in the same
manner, using a comma to separate the 2 addresses.

$d # delete the last line of the file
/[0-9]\{3\}/p # print lines with 3 consecutive digits
5!s/ham/cheese/ # except on line 5, replace 'ham' with 'cheese'
/awk/!s/aaa/bb/ # unless 'awk' is found, replace 'aaa' with 'bb'
17,/foo/d # delete all lines from line 17 up to 'foo'

Following an address or address range, sed accepts curly braces
'{...}' so several commands may be applied to that line or to the
lines matched by the address range. On the command line, semicolons
';' separate each instruction and must precede the closing brace.

sed '/Owner:/{s/yours/mine/g;s/your/my/g;s/you/me/g;}' file

Range addresses operate differently depending on which version of
sed is used (see section 6.8.5, below). For further information on
using sed, consult the references in section 2.3, above. The online
manual ("man pages") on Unix/Linux systems may be helpful (try "man
sed"), but man pages are notoriously obscure for first-time users.

3.2. Common one-line sed scripts

A separate document of over 70 handy "one-line" sed commands is
available at <http://www.cornerstonemag.com/sed/sed1line.txt>. Here
are fourteen of the most common sed commands for one-line use.
MS-DOS users should replace single quotes ('...') with double
quotes ("...") in these examples. A specific filename ("file")
usually follows the script, though the input may also come via
piping ("sort somefile | sed 'somescript'").

# 1. Double space a file
sed G file

# 2. Triple space a file
sed 'G;G' file

# 3. Under UNIX: convert DOS newlines (CR/LF) to Unix format
sed 's/.$//' file # assumes that all lines end with CR/LF
sed 's/^M$// file # in bash/tcsh, press Ctrl-V then Ctrl-M

# 4. Under DOS: convert Unix newlines (LF) to DOS format
sed 's/$//' file # method 1
sed -n p file # method 2

# 5. Delete leading whitespace (spaces/tabs) from front of each line
# (this aligns all text flush left). '^t' represents a true tab
# character. Under bash or tcsh, press Ctrl-V then Ctrl-I.
sed 's/^[ ^t]*//' file

# 6. Delete trailing whitespace (spaces/tabs) from end of each line
sed 's/[ ^t]*$//' file # see note on '^t', above

# 7. Delete BOTH leading and trailing whitespace from each line
sed 's/^[ ^t]*//;s/[ ^]*$//' file # see note on '^t', above

# 8. Substitute "foo" with "bar" on each line
sed 's/foo/bar/' file # replaces only 1st instance in a line
sed 's/foo/bar/4' file # replaces only 4th instance in a line
sed 's/foo/bar/g' file # replaces ALL instances within a line

# 9. Substitute "foo" with "bar" ONLY for lines which contain "baz"
sed '/baz/s/foo/bar/g' file

# 10. Delete all CONSECUTIVE blank lines from file except the first.
# This method also deletes all blank lines from top and end of file.
# (emulates "cat -s")
sed '/./,/^$/!d' file # this allows 0 blanks at top, 1 at EOF
sed '/^$/N;/\n$/D' file # this allows 1 blank at top, 0 at EOF

# 11. Delete all leading blank lines at top of file (only).
sed '/./,$!d' file

# 12. Delete all trailing blank lines at end of file (only).
sed -e :a -e '/^\n*$/{$d;N;};/\n$/ba' file |

# 13. If a line ends with a backslash, join the next line to it.
sed -e :a -e '/\\$/N; s/\\\n//; ta' file

# 14. If a line begins with an equal sign, append it to the
# previous line (and replace the "=" with a single space).
sed -e :a -e '$!N;s/\n=/ /;ta' -e 'P;D' file

3.3. Addressing and address ranges

Sed commands may have an optional "address" or "address range"
prefix. If there is no address or address range given, then the
command is applied to all the lines of the input file or text
stream. Three commands cannot take an address prefix:

- labels, used to branch or jump within the script
- the close brace, '}', which ends the '{' "command"
- the '#' comment character, also technically a "command"

An address can be a line number (such as 1, 5, 37, etc.), a regular
expression (written in the form /RE/ or \xREx where 'x' is any
character other than '\' and RE is the regular expression), or the
dollar sign ($), representing the last line of the file. An
exclamation mark (!) after an address or address range will apply
the command to every line EXCEPT the ones named by the address. A
null regex ("//") will be replaced by the last regex which was
used. Also, some seds do not support \xREx as regex delimiters.

5d # delete line 5 only
5!d # delete every line except line 5
/RE/s/LHS/RHS/g # substitute only if RE occurs on the line
/^$/b label # if the line is blank, branch to ':label'
/./!b label # ... another way to write the same command
\%.%!b label # ... yet another way to write this command
$!N # on all lines but the last, get the Next line

Note that an embedded newline can be represented in an address by
the symbol \n, but this syntax is needed only if the script puts 2
or more lines into the pattern space via the N, G, or other
commands. The \n symbol does *not* match the newline at an
end-of-line because when sed reads each line into the pattern space
for processing, it strips off the trailing newline, processes the
line, and adds a newline back when printing the line to standard
output. To match the end-of-line, use the '$' metacharacter, as
follows:

/tape$/ # matches the word 'tape' at the end of a line
/tape$deck/ # matches the word 'tape$deck' with a literal '$'
/tape\ndeck/ # matches 'tape' and 'deck' with a newline between

The following sed commands usually accept *only* a single address.
All other commands (except labels, '}', and '#') accept both single
addresses and address ranges.

= print to stdout the line number of the current line
a after printing the current line, append "text" to stdout
i before printing the current line, insert "text" to stdout
q quit after the current line is matched
r file prints contents of "file" to stdout after line is matched

Note that we said "usually." If you need to apply the '=', 'a',
'i', or 'r' commands to each and every line within an address
range, this behavior can be coerced by the use of braces. Thus,
"1,9=" is an invalid command, but "1,9{=;}" will print each line
number followed by its line for the first 9 lines (and then print
the rest of the rest of the file normally).

Address ranges occur in the form

<address1>,<address2> or <address1>,<address2>!

where the address can be a line number or a standard /regex/.
<address2> can also be a dollar sign, indicating the end of file.
Under HHsed and gsed302a, <address2> may also be a notation of the
form +num, indicating the next _num_ lines after <address1> is
matched.

Address ranges are:

(1) Inclusive. The range "/From here/,/eternity/" matches all the
lines containing "From here" up to and including the line
containing "eternity". It will not stop on the line just prior to
"eternity". (If you don't like this, see section 4.15.)

(2) Plenary. They always match full lines, not just parts of lines.
In other words, a command to change or delete an address range will
change or delete whole lines; it won't stop in the middle of a
line.

(3) Multilinear. Address ranges normally match 2 lines or more. The
second address will never match the same line the first address
did; therefore a valid address range always spans at least two
lines, with these exceptions which match only one line:

- if the first address matches the last line of the file
- if using the syntax "/RE/,3" and /RE/ occurs only once in the
file at line 3 or below
- if using HHsed v1.5. See section 6.8.5.

(4) Minimalist. In address ranges with /regex/ as <address2>, the
range "/foo/,/bar/" will stop at the first "bar" it finds, provided
that "bar" occurs on a line below "foo". If the word "bar" occurs
on several lines below the word "foo", the range will match all the
lines from the first "foo" up to the first "bar". It will not
continue hopping ahead to find more "bar"s. In other words, address
ranges are not "greedy," like regular expressions.

(5) Repeating. An address range will try to match more than one
block of lines in a file. However, the blocks cannot nest. In
addition, a second match will not "take" the last line of the
previous block. For example, given the following text,

start
stop start
stop

the sed command '/start/,/stop/d' will only delete the first two
lines. It will not delete all 3 lines.

(6) Relentless. If the address range finds a "start" match but
doesn't find a "stop", it will match every line from "start" to the
end of the file. Thus, beware of the following behaviors:

/RE1/,/RE2/ # if /RE2/ is not found, matches from /RE1/ to the
# end-of-file

20,/RE/ # if /RE/ is not found, matches from line 20 to the
# end-of-file

/RE/,30 # if /RE/ occurs any time after line 30, each
# occurrence will be matched in HHsed, sedmod, and
# gsed302. GNU sed v2.05 and 1.18 will match from
# the 2nd occurrence of /RE/ to the end-of-file.

If these behaviors seem strange, remember that they occur because
sed does not look "ahead" in the file. Doing so would stop sed from
being a stream editor and have adverse effects on its efficiency.
If these behaviors are undesirable, they can be circumvented or
corrected by the use of nested testing within braces. The following
scripts work under GNU sed 3.02:

# Execute your_commands on range "/RE1/,/RE2/", but if /RE2/ is
# not found, do nothing.
/RE1/{:a;N;/RE2/!ba;your_commands;}

# Execute your_commands on range "20,/RE/", but if /RE/ is not
# found, do nothing.
20{:a;N;/RE/!ba;your_commands;}

As a side note, once we've used N to "slurp" lines together to test
for the ending expression, the pattern space will have gathered
many lines (possibly thousands) together and concatenated them as a
single expression, with the \n sequence marking line breaks. The
REs *within* the pattern space may have to be modified (e.g., you
must write '/\nStart/' instead of '/^Start/' and '/[^\n]*/' instead
of '/.*/') and other standard sed commands will be unavailable or
difficult to use.

# Execute your_commands on range "/RE/,30", but if /RE/ occurs
# on line 31 or later, do not match it.
1,30{/RE/,$ your_commands;}

For related suggestions on using address ranges, see sections 4.2,
4.15, and 4.19 of this FAQ. Note that HHsed contains a bug or
nonstandard feature in how it implements address ranges; also, GNU
sed 3.02a supports a zero (0) in addressing. For more details, see
section 6.8.5 ("Range addressing with GNU sed and HHsed").

3.4. [reserved]

3.5. [reserved]

3.6. Notes about s2p, the sed-to-perl translator

s2p (sed to perl) is a Perl program to convert sed scripts into the
Perl programming language; it is included with many versions of
Perl. These problems have been found when using s2p:

(1) Doesn't recognize the semicolon properly after s/// commands.

s/foo/bar/g;

(2) Doesn't trim trailing whitespace after s/// commands. Even lone
trailing spaces, without comments, produce an error.

(3) Doesn't handle multiple commands within braces. E.g.,

1,4{=;G;}

will produce perl code with missing braces, and miss the second "G"
command as well. In fact, any commands after the first one are
missed in the perl output script, and the output perl script will
also contain mismatched braces.

3.7. GNU/POSIX extensions to regular expressions

GNU sed supports "character classes" in addition to regular
character sets, such as [0-9A-F]. Like regular character sets,
character classes represent any single character within a set.

"Character classes are a new feature introduced in the POSIX
standard. A character class is a special notation for describing
lists of characters that have a specific attribute, but where the
actual characters themselves can vary from country to country
and/or from character set to character set. For example, the notion
of what is an alphabetic character differs in the USA and in
France." [quoted from the docs for GNU awk v3.0.3]

Though character classes don't generally conserve space on the
line, they help make scripts portable for international use. The
equivalent character sets *for U.S. users* follow:

[[:alnum:]] - [A-Za-z0-9] Alphanumeric characters
[[:alpha:]] - [A-Za-z] Alphabetic characters
[[:blank:]] - [ \x09] Space or tab characters only
[[:cntrl:]] - [\x00-\x19\x7F] Control characters
[[:digit:]] - [0-9] Numeric characters
[[:graph:]] - [!-~] Printable and visible characters
[[:lower:]] - [a-z] Lower-case alphabetic characters
[[:print:]] - [ -~] Printable (non-Control) characters
[[:punct:]] - [!-/:-@[-`{-~] Punctuation characters
[[:space:]] - [ \t\v\f] All whitespace chars
[[:upper:]] - [A-Z] Upper-case alphabetic characters
[[:xdigit:]] - [0-9a-fA-F] Hexadecimal digit characters

Note that [[:graph:]] does not match the space " ", but [[:print:]]
does. Some character classes may (or may not) match characters in
the high ASCII range (ASCII 128-255 or 0x80-0xFF), depending on
which C library was used to compile sed. For non-English languages,
[[:alpha:]] and other classes may also match high ASCII characters.

------------------------------

4. EXAMPLES

4.1. How do I perform a case-insensitive search?

Use GNU sed v3.02 (or higher) with the I flag ("/regex/I" or
"s/LHS/RHS/I"). Or use sedmod with the -i switch on the command
line. With other versions of sed this is not easy to do, so some
people use GNU awk (gawk), mawk, or perl, since these programs have
options for case-insensitive searches. In gawk/mawk, use "BEGIN
{IGNORECASE=1}" and in perl, "/regex/i". For sed, here are three
solutions:

Solution 1: convert everything to upper case and search normally

# sed script, solution 1
h; # copy the original line to the hold space
# convert the pattern space to solid caps
y/abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz/ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ/
# now we can search for the word "CARLOS"
/CARLOS/ {
# add or insert lines. Note: "s/.../.../" will not work
# here because we are searching a modified pattern
# space and are not printing the pattern space.
}
x; # get back the original pattern space
# the original pattern space will be printed

Solution 2: search for both cases

Often, proper names will either start with all lower-case ("unix"),
with an initial capital letter ("Unix") or occur in solid caps
("UNIX"). There may be no need to search for every possibility.

/UNIX/b match
/[Uu]nix/b match

Solution 3: search for all possible cases

# If all else fails, search for any possible combination
/[Ca][Aa][Rr][Ll][Oo][Ss]/...

Bear in mind that as the pattern length increases, this solution
becomes an order of magnitude slower than the one of Solution 1, at
least with some implementations of sed.

4.2. How do I make changes in only part of a file?

Select parts of a file for changing by naming a range of lines
either by number (e.g., lines 1-20), by RE (between the words "foo"
and "bar"), or by some combination of the two. For multiple
changes, put the substitution command between braces {...}.

# replace only between lines 1 and 20
1,20 s/Johnson/White/g

# replace everywhere EXCEPT between lines 1 and 20
1,20 !s/Johnson/White/g

# replace only between words "foo" and "bar"
/foo/,/bar/ { s/Johnson/White/g; s/Smith/Wesson/g; }

# replace only from the words "ENDNOTES:" to the end of file
/ENDNOTES:/,$ { s/Schaff/Herzog/g; s/Kraft/Ebbing/g; }

For technical details on using address ranges, see section 3.3
("Addressing and Address ranges").

4.3. How do I change only the first occurrence of a pattern?

To replace the regex "LHS" with "RHS", do this:

gsed '0,/LHS/s//RHS/' # GNU sed 3.02a
sed -e '1s/LHS/RHS/;t' -e '1,/LHS/s//RHS/' # other seds

If you know the pattern *won't* occur on the first line, omit the
first -e and the statement following it.

4.4. How do I make substitutions in every file in a directory, or in a
complete directory tree?

4.4.1. - Perl solution

(Yes, we know this is a FAQ file for sed, not perl, but the
solution is so simple that it has to be noted. Also, perl and
sed share a very similar syntax here.)

perl -pi.bak -e 's|foo|bar|g' filelist # or
perl -pi.bak -e 's|foo|bar|g' `find /pathname -name "filespec"`

For each file in the filelist, perl renames the source file to
"filename.bak"; the modified file gets the original filename.
Change '-pi.bak' to '-pi' if you don't need backup copies. (Note
the use of s||| instead of s/// here, and in the scripts below.
The vertical bars in the 's' command lets you replace '/some/path'
with '/another/path', accommodating slashes in the LHS and RHS.)

4.4.2. - Unix solution

For all files in a single directory, assuming they end with *.txt
and you have no files named "[anything].txt.bak" already, use a
shell script:

#! /bin/sh
# Source files are saved as "filename.txt.bak" in case of error
# The '&&' after cp is an additional safety feature
for file in *.txt
do
cp $file $file.bak &&
sed 's|foo|bar|g' $file.bak >$file
done

To do an entire directory tree, use the Unix utility find, like so
(thanks to Jim Dennis <jade...@rahul.net> for this script):

#! /bin/sh
# filename: replaceall
find . -type f -name '*.txt' -print | while read i
do
sed 's|foo|bar|g' $i > $i.tmp && mv $i.tmp $i
done

This previous shell script recurses through the directory tree,
finding only files in the directory (not symbolic links, which will
be encountered by the shell command "for file in *.txt", above). To
preserve file permissions and make backup copies, use the 2-line cp
routine of the earlier script instead of "sed ... && mv ...". By
replacing the sed command 's|foo|bar|g' with something like

sed "s|$1|$2|g" ${i}.bak > $i

using double quotes instead of single quotes, the user can also
employ positional parameters on the shell script command tail, thus
reusing the script from time to time. For example,

replaceall East West

would modify all your *.txt files in the current directory.

4.4.3. - DOS solution:

MS-DOS users should use two batch files like this:

@echo off
:: MS-DOS filename: REPLACE.BAT
::
:: Create a destination directory to put the new files.
:: Note: The next command will fail under Novel Netware
:: below version 4.10 unless "SHOW DOTS=ON" is active.
if not exist .\NEWFILES\NUL mkdir NEWFILES
for %%f in (*.txt) do CALL REPL_2.BAT %%f
echo Done!!
:: =======End of the first batch file====

@echo off
:: MS-DOS filename: REPL_2.BAT
::
sed "s/foo/bar/g" %1 > NEWFILES\%1
:: =======End of the second batch file===

When finished, the current directory contains all the original
files, and the newly-created NEWFILES subdirectory contains the
modified *.TXT files. Do not attempt a command like

for %%f in (*.txt) do sed "s/foo/bar/g" %%f >NEWFILES\%%f

under any version of MS-DOS because the output filename will be
created as a literal '%f' in the NEWFILES directory before the
%%f is expanded to become each filename in (*.txt). This occurs
because MS-DOS creates output filenames via redirection commands
before it expands "for..in..do" variables.

To recurse through an entire directory tree in MS-DOS requires a
batch file more complex than we have room to describe. Examine the
file SWEEP.BAT in Timo Salmi's great archive of batch tricks,
TSBAT61.ZIP, located at <ftp://garbo.uwasa.fi/pc/ts/tsbat61.zip>, |
or get an external program designed for directory recursion. Here |
are some recommended programs for directory recursion. The first |
one, FORALL, runs under either OS/2 or DOS. Unfortunately, none of |
these supports Win9x long filenames. |
ftp://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/util/disk/forall72.zip |
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lakes/2414/fortn711.zip
http://garbo.uwasa.fi/pc/filefind/target15.zip

4.5. How do I parse a comma-delimited data file?

Comma-delimited data files can come in several forms, requiring
increasing levels of complexity in parsing and handling:

(a) No quotes, no internal commas

1001,John Smith,PO Box 123,Chicago,IL,60699
1002,Mary Jones,320 Main,Denver,CO,84100,

(b) Like (a), with quotes around each field

"1003","John Smith","PO Box 123","Chicago","IL","60699"
"1004","Mary Jones","320 Main","Denver","CO","84100"

(c) Like (b), with embedded commas

"1005","Tom Hall, Jr.","61 Ash Ct.","Niles","OH","44446"
"1006","Bob Davis","429 Pine, Apt. 5","Boston","MA","02128"

(d) Like (c), with embedded commas and quotes

"1007","Sue "Red" Smith","19 Main","Troy","MI","48055"
"1008","Joe "Hey, guy!" Hall","POB 44","Reno","NV","89504"

In each example above, we have 7 fields and 6 commas which function
as field separators. Case (c) is a very typical form of these data
files, with double quotes used to enclose each field and to protect
internal commas (such as "Tom Hall, Jr.") from interpretation as
field separators. However, many times the data may include both
embedded quotation marks as well as embedded commas, as seen by
case (d), above.

Before handling a comma-delimited data file, make sure that you
fully understand its format and check the integrity of the data.
Does each line contain the same number of fields? Should certain
fields be composed only of numbers or of two-letter state
abbreviations in all caps? Sed (or awk or perl) should be used to
validate the integrity of the data file before you attempt to alter
it or extract particular fields from the file.

After ensuring that each line has a valid number of fields, use sed
to locate and modify individual fields, using the \(...\) grouping
command where needed.

In case (a):

sed 's/^[^,]*,[^,]*,[^,]*,[^,]*,/.../'
^ ^ ^
| | |_ 3rd field
| |_______ 2nd field
|_____________ 1st field

# Unix script to delete the second field for case (a)
sed 's/^\([^,]*\),[^,]*,/\1,,/' file

# Unix script to change field 1 to 9999 for case (a)
sed 's/^[^,]*,/9999,/' file

In cases (b) and (c):

sed 's/^"[^"]*","[^"]*","[^"]*","[^"]*",/.../'
1st-- 2nd-- 3rd-- 4th--

# Unix script to delete the second field for case (c)
sed 's/^\("[^"]*"\),"[^"]*",/\1,"",/' file

# Unix script to change field 1 to 9999 for case (c)
sed 's/^"[^"]*",/"9999",/' file

In case (d):

One way to parse such files is to replace the 3-character field
separator "," with an unused character like the tab or vertical
bar. (Technically, the field separator is only the comma while the
fields are surrounded by "double quotes", but the net _effect_ is
that fields are separated by quote-comma-quote, with quote
characters added to the beginning and end of each record.) Search
your datafile _first_ to make sure that your character appears
nowhere in it!

sed -n '/|/p' file # search for any instance of '|'
# if it's not found, we can use the '|' to separate fields

Then replace the 3-character field separator and parse as before:

# sed script to delete the second field for case (d)
s/","/|/g; # global change of "," to bar
s/^\([^|]*\)|[^|]|/\1||/; # delete 2nd field
s/|/","/g; # global change of bar back to ","

# sed script to change field 1 to 9999 for case (d)
# Remember to accommodate leading and trailing quote marks
s/","/|/g;
s/^[^|]*|/"9999|/;
s/|/","/g;

Note that this technique works only if _each_ and _every_ field is
surrounded with double quotes, including empty fields. If your
datafile does not look like case (d), above, or if it omits quote
marks around empty fields or numeric values, then the complexity of
the script would probably not be worth the effort to write it in
sed. For such a case, you should use perl. This question is
addressed in the Perl FAQ, at question 4.28: "How can I split a
[character] delimited string except when inside [character]?"

4.6. How do I insert a newline into the RHS of a substitution?

Six versions of sed permit '\n' to be typed directly into the RHS,
which is then converted to a newline on output: gsed-3.02.80,
gsed-3.02a, gsed103 (with the -x switch), HHsed (a/k/a sed14),
sedmod, and UnixDOS sed. The _easiest_ solution is to use one of
these versions.

For other versions of sed, try one of the following:

(a) Insert an unused character and pipe the output through tr:

echo twolines | sed 's/two/& new=/' | tr "=" "\n" # produces
two new
lines

(b) Use two backslashes (\\) from the shell prompt. Using bash:

[bash-prompt]$ echo twolines | sed "s/two/& new\\
>/"
two new
lines
[bash-prompt]$

(c) Write a multi-line script and use the backslash (\) in the
middle of the "replace" portion:

sed -f newline.sed files

# newline.sed
s/twolines/two new\
lines/g

Some versions of sed may not need the trailing backslash. If so,
remove it.

(d) Use the "G" command:

G appends a newline, plus the contents of the hold space to the end
of the pattern space. If the hold space is empty, a newline is
appended anyway. The newline is stored in the pattern space as "\n"
where it can be addressed by grouping "\(...\)" and moved in the
RHS. Thus, to change the "twolines" example used earlier, the
following script will work:

sed '/twolines/{G;s/\(two\)\(lines\)\(\n\)/\1\3\2/;}'

(e) Inserting full lines, not breaking lines up:

If one is not *changing* lines but only inserting complete lines
before or after a pattern, the procedure is much easier. Use the
"i" (insert) or "a" (append) command, making the alterations by an
external script. To insert "This line is new" BEFORE each line
matching a regex:

/RE/i This line is new # HHsed, sedmod, gsed 3.02a
/RE/{x;s/.*/This line is new/;G;} # other seds

To append "This line is new" AFTER each line matching a regex:

/RE/a This line is new # HHsed, sedmod, gsed 3.02a
/RE/{G;s/$/This line is new/;} # other seds

To append 2 blank lines after each line matching a regex:

/RE/{G;G;} # assumes the hold space is empty

To replace each line matching a regex with 5 blank lines:

/RE/{s/.*//;G;G;G;G;} # assumes the hold space is empty

(f) Use the "y///" command if possible:

On some Unix versions of sed (not GNU sed!), though the s///
command won't accept '\n' in the RHS, the y/// command does. If
your Unix sed supports it, a newline after "aaa" can be inserted
this way (which is not portable to GNU sed or other seds):

s/aaa/&~/; y/~/\n/; # assuming no other '~' is on the line!

4.7. How do I represent control-codes or nonprintable characters?

GNU sed v3.02.80, GNU sed v1.03, and HHsed v1.5 by Howard Helman
all support all support the notation \xNN, where "NN" are two valid
hex numbers, 00-FF.

sed is not intended to process binary or object code, and files
which contain nulls (0x00) will usually generate errors in most
versions of sed (GNU sed 3.02a is an exception; it allows nulls in
the input files and also in regexes).

On Unix platforms, the 'echo' command may allow insertion of octal
or hex values, e.g., `echo "\0nnn"` or `echo -n "\0nnn"`. The echo
command may also support syntax like '\\b' or '\\t' for backspace
or tab characters. Check the man pages to see what syntax your
version of echo supports. Some versions support the following:

# replace 0x1A (32 octal) with ASCII letters
sed 's/'`echo "\032"`'/Ctrl-Z/g'

# note the 3 backslashes in the command below
sed "s/.`echo \\\b`//g"

4.8. How do I read environment variables with sed?

4.8.1. - on Unix platforms

In Unix, environment variables are words which begin with a dollar
sign, such as $TERM, $HOME, $user, or $path. In sed, the dollar
sign is used to indicate the last line of the input file, the end
of a line (in the LHS), or a literal symbol (in the RHS). Sed
cannot access variables directly, so one must pay attention to
shell quoting requirements to expand the variables properly.

To ALLOW the Unix shell to interpret the dollar sign (replacing it
with an environment variable), put the script in double quotes:

sed "s/_terminal-type_/$TERM/g" input.file >output.file

To PREVENT the Unix shell from interpreting the dollar sign
(letting sed define its meaning), put the script in single quotes:

sed 's/.$//' DOS.file >Unix.file

To use BOTH Unix $environment_vars and sed /end-of-line$/ pattern
matching, use single quotes to bracket the sed part 'like so', then
follow immediately with double quotes "$HERE" when you want the
shell to substitute the variable, and resume with single quotes
again where 'sed should set the meaning'. There must be NO SPACE
between the closing single quotes and the opening double quotes. To
demonstrate with the example two sentences above:

sed 'like so'"$HERE"'sed should set the meaning' # rough idea
sed "s/$user"'$/root/' input.file >output.file # sample use

In the sample use above, we search for the user's name (which is
stored as an environment variable) when it occurs at the end of the
line ($), and we substitute the word "root" in all these occasions.

In writing shell scripts, we likewise begin with single quote marks
('), close them upon encountering the variable, enclose the
variable name in double quotes ("), and resume with single quotes,
closing them at the end of the sed script. Example:

#! /bin/sh
# lower to upper, that could be changed
FROM='abcdefgh'
TO='ABCDEFGH'
... misc commands that pipe data into a longer sed script.
sed '
...
# do the conversion
y/'"$FROM"'/'"$TO"'/
# some more commands go here . . .
# last line is a single quote mark
'

Thus, each variable named $FROM is replaced by $TO, and the single
quotes are used to glue the multiple lines together in the script.
(See also section 4.10, "How do I handle shell quoting in sed?")

4.8.2. - on MS-DOS and 4DOS platforms

Under 4DOS and MS-DOS version 7.0 (Win95) or 7.10 (Win95 OSR2),
environment variables can be accessed from the command prompt.
Under MS-DOS 6.22 and below, environment variables can only be
accessed from within batch files. Environment variables should be
enclosed between percent signs and are case-insensitive; i.e.,
%USER% or %user% will display the USER variable. To generate a true
percent sign, just enter it twice.

DOS versions of sed require that sed scripts be enclosed by double
quote marks "..." (not single quotes!) if the script contains
embedded tabs, spaces, redirection arrows or the vertical bar. In
fact, if the input for sed comes from piping, a sed script should
not contain a vertical bar, even if it is protected by double
quotes (this seems to be bug in the normal MS-DOS syntax). Thus,

echo blurk | sed "s/^/ |foo /" # will cause an error
sed "s/^/ |foo /" blurk.txt # will work as expected

Using DOS environment variables which contain DOS path statements
(such as a TMP variable set to "C:\TEMP") within sed scripts is
discouraged because sed will interpret the backslash '\' as a
metacharacter to "quote" the next character, not as a normal
symbol. Thus,

sed "s/^/%TMP% /" somefile.txt

will not prefix each line with (say) "C:\TEMP ", but will prefix
each line with "C:TEMP "; sed will discard the backslash, which is
probably not what you want. Other variables such as %PATH% and
%COMSPEC% will also lose the backslash within sed scripts.

Environment variables which do not use backslashes are usually
workable. Thus, all the following should work without difficulty,
if they are invoked from within DOS batch files:

sed "s/=username=/%USER%/g" somefile.txt
echo %FILENAME% | sed "s/\.TXT/.BAK/"
grep -Ei "%string%" somefile.txt | sed "s/^/ /"

while from either the DOS prompt or from within a batch file,

sed "s/%%/ percent/g" input.fil >output.fil

will replace each percent symbol in a file with " percent" (adding
the leading space for readability).

4.9. How do I export or pass variables back into the environment?

4.9.1. - on Unix platforms

Suppose that line #1, word #2 of the file 'terminals' contains a
value to be put in your TERM environment variable. Sed cannot
export variables directly to the shell, but it can pass strings to
shell commands. To set a variable in the Bourne shell:

TERM=`sed 's/^[^ ][^ ]* \([^ ][^ ]*\).*/\1/;q' terminals`;
export TERM

If the second word were "Wyse50", this would send the shell command
"TERM=Wyse50".

4.9.2. - on MS-DOS or 4DOS platforms

Sed cannot directly manipulate the environment. Under DOS, only
batch files (.BAT) can do this, using the SET instruction, since
they are run directly by the command shell. Under 4DOS, special
4DOS commands (such as ESET) can also alter the environment.

Under DOS or 4DOS, sed can select a word and pass it to the SET
command. Suppose you want the 1st word of the 2nd line of MY.DAT
put into an environment variable named %PHONE%. You might do this:

@echo off
sed -n "2 s/^\([^ ][^ ]*\) .*/SET PHONE=\1/p;3q" MY.DAT > GO_.BAT
call GO_.BAT
echo The environment variable for PHONE is %PHONE%
:: cleanup
del GO_.BAT

The sed script assumes that the first character on the 2nd line is
not a space and uses grouping \(...\) to save the first string of
non-space characters as \1 for the RHS. In writing any batch files,
make sure that output filenames such as GO_.BAT don't overwrite
preexisting files of the same name.

4.10. How do I handle Unix shell quoting in sed?

To embed a literal single quote (') in a script, use (a) or (b):

(a) If possible, put the script in double quotes:

sed "s/cannot/can't/g" file

(b) If the script must use single quotes, then close-single-quote
the script just before the SPECIAL single quote, prefix the single
quote with a backslash, and use a 2nd pair of single quotes to
finish marking the script. Thus:

sed 's/cannot$/can'\''t/g' file

Though this looks hard to read, it breaks down to 3 parts:

's/cannot$/can' \' 't/g'
--------------- -- -----

To embed a literal double quote (") in a script, use (a) or (b):

(a) If possible, put the script in single quotes. You don't need to
prefix the double quotes with anything. Thus:

sed 's/14"/fourteen inches/g' file

(b) If the script must use double quotes, then prefix the SPECIAL
double quote with a backslash (\). Thus,

sed "s/$length\"/$length inches/g" file

To embed a literal backslash (\) into a script, enter it twice:

sed 's/C:\\DOS/D:\\DOS/g' config.sys

4.11. How do I delete a block of text if the block contains a certain
regular expression?

The following deletes the block between 'start' and 'end'
inclusively, if and only if the block contains the string
(optionally a pattern) 'regex'. Written by Russell Davies
<r...@itntl.bhp.com.au>, with comments by the FAQ maintainer:

:t
/start/,/end/ { # For each line between these block markers..
/end/!{ # If we are not at the /end/ marker
$!{ # nor the last line of the file, |
N; # add the Next line to the pattern space
bt
} # and branch (loop back) to the :t label.
} # This line matches the /end/ marker. |
/regex/d; # If /regex/ matches, delete the block. |
} # Otherwise, the block will be printed.

4.12. How do I locate/print a paragraph of text if the paragraph
contains a certain regular expression?

Assume that paragraphs are separated by blank lines. For regexes
that are single terms, use the following script:

sed -e '/./{H;$!d;}' -e 'x;/regex/!d'

To print paragraphs only if they contain 3 specific regular
expressions (RE1, RE2, and RE3), in any order in the paragraph:

sed -e '/./{H;$!d;}' -e 'x;/RE1/!d;/RE2/!d;/RE3/!d'

With this solution and the preceding one, if the paragraphs are
excessively long (more than 4k in length), you may overflow sed's
internal buffers. If using HHsed, you must add a "G;" command
immediately after the "x;" in the scripts above to defeat a bug
in HHsed (see section 6.7.F(5), below, for a description).

4.13. How do I delete a block of _specific_ consecutive lines?

If the block of lines always looks like this (with '^' and '$'
representing the beginning and end of line, respectively):

^able$
^baker$
^charlie$
^delta$

and if there is never any deviation from this format (e.g., "able"
*always* is followed by "baker", etc.), this will work fine:

sed '/^able$/,/^delta$/d' files # most seds
sed '/^able$/,+3d' files # HHsed, sedmod, gsed 3.02.80

However, if the top line sometimes appears alone or is followed by
other lines, if the block may have additional lines in the middle,
or if a partial block could possibly occur somewhere in the file, a
more explicit script is needed.

The following scripts show how to delete blocks of specific
consecutive lines. Only an exact match of the block is deleted, and
partial matches of the block are left alone.

# sed script to delete 2 consecutive lines: /^RE1\nRE2$/
$b
/^RE1$/ {
$!N
/^RE1\nRE2$/d
P;D
}
#---end of script---


# sed script to delete 3 consecutive lines. (This script
# fails under GNU sed earlier than version 3.02.)
: more
$!N
s/\n/&/2;
t enough
$!b more
: enough
/^RE1\nRE2\nRE3$/d
P;D
#---end of script---

For example, to delete a block of 5 consecutive lines, the previous
script must be altered in only two places:

(1) Change the 2 in "s/\n/&/2;" to a 4 (the trailing semicolon is
needed to work around a bug in HHsed v1.5).

(2) Change the regex line to "/^RE1\nRE2\nRE3\nRE4\nRE5$/d",
modifying the expression as needed.

Suppose we want to delete a block of two blank lines followed by
the word "foo" followed by another blank line (4 lines in all).
Other blank lines and other instances of "foo" should be left
alone. After changing the '2' to a '3' (always one number less than
the total number of lines), the regex line would look like this:
"/^\n\nfoo\n$/d". (Thanks to Greg Ubben for this script.)

As an alternative for older versions of GNU sed, the following
script will delete 4 consecutive lines:

# sed script to delete 4 consecutive lines (gsed-2.05 and below)
/^RE1$/!b
$!N
$!N
:a
$b
N
/^RE1\nRE2\nRE3\nRE4$/d
P
s/^.*\n\(.*\n.*\n.*\)$/\1/
ba
#---end of script---

Its drawback is that it must be modified in 3 places instead of 2
to adapt it for more lines, and as additional lines are added, the
's' command is forced to work harder to match the regexes. On the
other hand, it avoids a problem with gsed-2.05 and shows another
way to solve the problem of deleting consecutive lines.

4.14. How do I read (insert/add) a file at the top of a textfile?

Given a textfile, file1, one may wish to prepend or insert an
external file, fileT, to the top of it before processing the file.
Normally, this should be done from the Unix or DOS shell before
passing file1 on to sed (MS-DOS 5.0 or lower needs 3 commands to do
this; for DOS 6.0 or higher, the MOVE command is available):

copy fileT+file1 temp # MS-DOS command 1
echo Y | copy temp file1 # MS-DOS command 2
del temp # MS-DOS command 3
cat fileT file1 >temp; mv temp file1 # Unix commands

However, if inserting the file must be done from within sed, there
is a way. The expected sed command "1 r fileT" will not work; it
first prints line 1 and then inserts fileT between lines 1 and 2.
The following two-line sed script solves this problem, although
there must be at least 2 lines in file1 for the script to work
properly:

1{ h; r fileT; D; }
2{ x; G; }

4.15. How do I address all the lines between RE1 and RE2, excluding
the lines themselves?

Normally, to address the lines between two regular expressions, RE1
and RE2, one would do this: '/RE1/,/RE2/{commands;}'. Excluding
those lines takes an extra step. To put 2 arrows before each line
between RE1 and RE2, except for those lines:

sed '1,/RE1/!{ /RE2/,/RE1/!s/^/>>/; }' input.fil

The preceding script, though short, may be difficult to follow. It
also requires that /RE1/ cannot occur on the first line of the
input file. The following script, though it's not a one-liner, is
easier to read and it permits /RE1/ to appear on the first line:

/RE1/,/RE2/{
/RE1/b
/RE2/b
s/^/>>/
}

Contents of input.fil: Output of sed script:
aaa aaa
bbb bbb
RE1 RE1
aaa >>aaa
bbb >>bbb
ccc >>ccc
RE2 RE2
end end

4.16. How do I replace "/some/UNIX/path" in a substitution?

Technically, the normal meaning of the slash can be disabled by
prefixing it with a backslash. Thus,

sed 's/\/some\/UNIX\/path/\/a\/new\/path/g' files

But this is hard to read and write. There is a better solution.
The s/// substitution command allows '/' to be replaced by any
other character (including spaces or alphanumerics). Thus,

sed 's|/some/UNIX/path|/a/new/path|g' files

and if you are using variable names in a Unix shell script,

sed "s|$OLDPATH|$NEWPATH|g" oldfile >newfile

4.17. How do I replace "C:\SOME\DOS\PATH" in a substitution?

For MS-DOS users, every backslash must be doubled. Thus, to replace
"C:\SOME\DOS\PATH" with "D:\MY\NEW\PATH" --

sed "s|C:\\SOME\\DOS\\PATH|D:\\MY\\NEW\\PATH|g" infile >outfile

Remember that DOS pathnames are not case sensitive and can appear
in upper or lower case in the input file. If this concerns you, use
gsed v3.02 with the "i" flag or sedmod with the -i switch to ignore
case on the LHS:

@echo off
:: sample MS-DOS batch file to alter path statements
set old=C:\\SOME\\DOS\\PATH
set new=D:\\MY\\NEW\\PATH
gsed "s|%old%|%new%|gi" infile >outfile
:: or
:: sedmod -i "s|%old%|%new%|g" infile >outfile
set old=
set new=

Also, remember that under Win95 long filenames may be stored in two
formats: e.g., as "C:\Program Files" or as "C:\PROGRA~1".

4.18. How do I convert files with toggle characters, like +this+, to
look like [i]this[/i]?

Input files, especially message-oriented text files, often contain
toggle characters for emphasis, like ~this~, *this*, or =this=. Sed
can make the same input pattern produce alternating output each
time it is encountered. Typical needs might be to generate HMTL
codes or print codes for boldface, italic, or underscore. This
script accomodates multiple occurrences of the toggle pattern on
the same line, as well as cases where the pattern starts on one
line and finishes several lines later, even at the end of the file:

# sed script to convert +this+ to [i]this[/i]
:a
/+/{ x; # If "+" is found, switch hold and pattern space
/^ON/{ # If "ON" is in the (former) hold space, then ..
s///; # .. delete it
x; # .. switch hold space and pattern space back
s|+|[/i]|; # .. turn the next "+" into "[/i]"
ba; # .. jump back to label :a and start over
}
s/^/ON/; # Else, "ON" was not in the hold space; create it
x; # Switch hold space and pattern space
s|+|[i]|; # Turn the first "+" into "[i]"
ba; # Branch to label :a to find another pattern
}
#---end of script---

This script uses the hold space to create a "flag" to indicate
whether the toggle is ON or not. We have added remarks to
illustrate the script logic, but in most versions of sed remarks
are not permitted after 'b'ranch commands or labels.

If you are sure that the +toggle+ characters never cross line
boundaries (i.e., never begin on one line and end on another), this
script can be reduced to one line:

s|+\([^+][^+]*\)+|[i]\1[/i]|g

If your toggle pattern contains regex metacharacters (such as * and
+, in the case of HHsed), remember to quote them with backslashes.

4.19. How do I delete only the first occurrence of a pattern?

To delete only the first line that contains the pattern RE, where
"RE" is any regular expression, but leave all other lines
containing RE alone, do this:

gsed '0,/RE/{//d}' file # GNU sed 3.02.80
sed '/RE/{x;/Y/!{s/^/Y/;h;d;};x;}' file # other seds

And if you *know* the pattern will not occur on line 1 and you
don't use GNU sed, this will work:

sed '1,/RE/{/RE/d;}' file

4.20. How do I commify a string of numbers?

Use the simplest script necessary to accomplish your task. As
variations of the line increase, the sed script must become more
complex to handle additional conditions. Whole numbers are
simplest, followed by decimal formats, followed by embedded words.

Case 1: simple strings of whole numbers separated by spaces or
commas, with an optional negative sign. To convert this:

4381, -1222333, and 70000: - 44555666 1234567890 words
56890 -234567, and 89222 -999777 345888777666 chars

to this:

4,381, -1,222,333, and 70,000: - 44,555,666 1,234,567,890 words
56,890 -234,567, and 89,222 -999,777 345,888,777,666 chars

use one of these one-liners:

sed ':a;s/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/;ta' # GNU sed
sed -e :a -e 's/\(.*[0-9]\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)/\1,\2/;ta' # other seds

Case 2: strings of numbers which may have an embedded decimal
point, separated by spaces or commas, with an optional negative
sign. To change this:

4381, -6555.1212 and 70000, 7.18281828 44906982.071902
56890 -2345.7778 and 8.0000: -49000000 -1234567.89012

to this:

4,381, -6,555.1212 and 70,000, 7.18281828 44,906,982.071902
56,890 -2,345.7778 and 8.0000: -49,000,000 -1,234,567.89012

use the following command for GNU sed:

sed ':a;s/\(^\|[^0-9.]\)\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)/\1\2,\3/g;ta'

and for other versions of sed:

sed -f case2.sed files

# case2.sed
s/^/ /; # add space to start of line
:a
s/\( [-0-9]\{1,\}\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)/\1,\2/g
ta
s/ //; # remove space from start of line
#---end of script---

------------------------------

5. WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?

5.1. Why don't my variables like $var get expanded in my sed script?

Because your sed script uses 'single quotes' instead of "double
quotes". Unix shells never expand $variables in single quotes.

This is probably the most frequently-asked sed question. For more
info on using variables, see section 4.8.

5.2. I'm using 'p' to print, but I have duplicate lines sometimes.

Sed prints the entire file by default, so the 'p' command might
cause the duplicate lines. If you want the whole file printed,
try removing the 'p' from commands like 's/foo/bar/p'. If you want
part of the file printed, run your sed script with -n flag to
suppress normal output, and rewrite the script to get all output
from the 'p' comand.

If you're still getting duplicate lines, you are probably finding
several matches for the same line. Suppose you want to print lines
with the words "Peter" or "James" or "John", but not the same line
twice. The following command will fail:

sed -n '/Peter/p; /James/p; /John/p' files

Since all 3 commands of the script are executed for each line,
you'll get extra lines. A better way is to use the 'd' (delete) or
'b' (branch) commands, like so (with GNU sed):

sed '/Peter/b; /James/b; /John/b; d' files # one way
sed -n '/Peter/{p;d;};/James/{p;d;};/John/p' files # a 2nd way
sed -n '/Peter/{p;b;};/James/{p;b;};/John/p' files # a 3rd way
sed '/Peter\|James\|John/!d' files # best way :-)

On standard seds, these must be broken down with -e commands:

sed -e '/Peter/b' -e '/James/b' -e '/John/b' -e d files
sed -n -e '/Peter/{p;d;}' -e '/James/{p;d;}' -e '/John/p' files

The 3rd line would require too many -e commands to fit on one line,
since standard versions of sed require an -e command after each 'b'
and also after each closing brace '}'.

5.3. Why does my DOS version of sed process a file part-way through
and then quit?

First, look for errors in the script. Have you used the -n switch
without telling sed to print anything to the console? Have you
read the docs to your version of sed to see if it has switches or a
syntax you may have misused? If you are sure your sed script is
valid, a probable cause is an end-of-file (EOF) marker embedded in
the file. An EOF marker (a/k/a SUB) is a Control-Z character, with
the values of 1A hex or 026 decimal. As soon as any DOS version of
sed encounters a Ctrl-Z character, sed stops processing.

To locate the EOF character, use Vern Buerg's shareware file viewer
LIST.COM <http://www.buerg.com/list.html>. In text mode, look for a
right-arrow symbol; in hex mode (Alt-H), look for a 1A code. With
Unix utilities ported to DOS, use 'od' (octal dump) to display
hexcodes in your file, and then use sed to locate the offending
character:

od -txC badfile.txt | sed -n "/ 1a /p; / 1a$/p"

Then edit the input file to remove the offending character(s).

If you would rather NOT edit the input file, there is still a fix.
It requires the DJGPP 32-bit port of 'tr', the Unix translate
program, ver 1.22. This version is included as one of the GNU text
utilities, available at
http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2gnu/txt122b.zip
It is important to get the DJGPP version of 'tr' because other
versions ported to DOS will stop processing when they encounter the
EOF character. Use the -d (delete) command:

tr -d \32 < badfile.txt | sed -f myscript.sed

5.4. My RE isn't matching/deleting what I want it to. (Or, "Greedy vs.
stingy pattern matching")

The two most common causes for this problem are: (1) misusing the
'.' metacharacter, and (2) misusing the '*' metacharacter. The RE
'.*' is designed to be "greedy" (i.e., matching as many characters
as possible). However, sometimes users need an expression which is
"stingy," matching the shortest possible string.

(1) On single-line patterns, the '.' metacharacter matches any
single character on the line. ('.' cannot match the newline at the
end of the line because the newline is removed when the line is put
into the pattern space; sed adds a newline automatically when the
pattern space is printed.) On multi-line patterns obtained with the
'N' or 'G' commands, '.' _will_ match a newline in the middle of the
pattern space. If there are 3 lines in the pattern space, "s/.*//"
will delete all 3 lines, not just the first one (leaving 1 blank
line, since the trailing newline is added to the output).

Normal misuse of '.' occurs in trying to match a word or bounded
field, and forgetting that '.' will also cross the field limits.
Suppose you want to delete the first word in braces:

echo {one} {two} {three} | sed 's/{.*}/{}/' # fails
echo {one} {two} {three} | sed 's/{[^}]*}/{}/' # succeeds

's/{.*}/{}/' is not the solution, since the regex '.' will match
any character, including the close braces. Replace the '.' with
'[^}]', which signifies a negated character set '[^...]' containing
anything other than a right brace. FWIW, we know that 's/{one}/{}/'
would also solve our question, but we're trying to illustrate the
use of the negated character set: [^anything-but-this].

A negated character set should be used for matching words between
quote marks, for fields separated by commas, etc. See also section
4.5 ("How do I parse a comma-delimited data file?"), above.

(2) The '*' metacharacter represents zero or more instances of the
previous expression. The '*' metacharacter looks for the leftmost
possible match first and will match zero characters. Thus,

echo foo | sed 's/o*/EEE/'

will generate 'EEEfoo', not 'fEEE' as one might expect. This is
because /o*/ matches the null string at the beginning of the word.

After finding the leftmost possible match, the '*' is GREEDY; it
always tries to match the longest possible string. When two or
three instances of '.*' occur in the same RE, the leftmost instance
will grab the most characters. Consider this example, which uses
grouping '\(...\)' to save patterns:

echo bar bat bay bet bit | sed 's/^.*\(b.*\)/\1/'

What will be displayed is 'bit', never anything longer, because
the leftmost '.*' took the longest possible match. Remember this
rule: "leftmost match, longest possible string, zero also matches."

5.5. What is CSDPMI*B.ZIP and why do I need it?

If you boot to MS-DOS instead of Windows and try to use GNU sed
v1.18 or 3.02, you may encounter the following error message:

no DPMI - Get csdpmi*b.zip

"DPMI" stands for DOS Protected Mode Interface; it's basically a
means of running DOS in Protected Mode (as opposed to Real Mode),
which allows programs to share resources in extended memory without
conflicting with one another. Running HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE is
not enough. The "CSDPMI*B.ZIP" refers to files written by Charles
Sandmann to provide DPMI services for 32-bit computers (i.e.,
386SX, 386DX, 486SX, etc.). Download this file:

http://www.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2misc/csdpmi4b.zip
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/simtelnet/gnu/djgpp/v2misc/csdpmi4b.zip

and extract CWSDPMI.EXE, CWSDPR0.EXE and CWSPARAM.EXE from the ZIP
file. Put all 3 CWS*.EXE files in the same directory as GSED.EXE
and you're all set. There are DOC files enclosed, but they're
nearly incomprehensible for the average computer user. (Another
case of user-vicious documentation.)

If you're running Windows and you normally use a DOS session to run
GNU sed (i.e., you get to a DOS prompt with a resizable window or
you press Alt-Enter to switch to full-screen mode), you don't need
the CWS*.EXE files at all, since Windows uses DPMI already.

5.6. Where are the man pages for GNU sed?

Prior to GNU sed v3.02, there weren't any. Until recently, man
pages distributed with gsed were borrowed from old sources or from
other compilations. None of them were "official." Even the man and
info pages distributed with gsed 3.02 are incomplete. For example,
they omit special regexes recognized by GNU sed not in most seds;
see section 6.8.3 ("Special syntax in REs"), below.

5.7. How do I tell what version of sed I am using?

Try entering "sed" all by itself on the command line, followed by
no arguments or parameters. Also, try "sed --version". In a
pinch, you can also try this:

strings sed | grep -i ver

Your version of 'strings' must be a version of the Unix utility of
this name. It should not be the DOS utility STRINGS.COM by Douglas
Boling.

5.8. Does sed issue an exit code?

Most versions of sed do not, but check the documentation that came
with whichever version you are using. GNU sed issues an exit code
of 0 if the program terminated normally, 1 if there were errors in
the script, and 2 if there were errors during script execution.

5.9. The 'r' command isn't inserting the file into the text.

On most versions of sed (except HHsed and gsed-3.02), the 'r'
(read) and 'w' (write) commands must be followed by exactly one
space, then the filename, and then terminated by a newline. Any
additional characters before or after the filename are interpreted
as being part of the filename. Thus "/RE/r insert.me" would try to
locate a file called ' insert.me' (note the leading space!). If the
file was not found, sed says nothing -- not even an error message.

When sed scripts are used on the command line, every 'r' and 'w'
must be the last command in that part of the script. Thus,

sed -e '/regex/{r insert.file;d;}' source # will fail |
sed -e '/regex/{r insert.file' -e 'd;}' source # will succeed |

5.10. Why can't I match or delete a newline using the \n escape |
sequence? Why can't I match 2 or more lines using \n? |

The \n will never match the newline at the end-of-line because the |
newline is always stripped off before the line is placed into the |
pattern space. To get 2 or more lines into the pattern space, use |
the 'N' command or something similar (such as 'H;...;g;'). |

Sed works like this: sed reads one line at a time, chops off the |
terminating newline, puts what is left into the pattern space where |
the sed script can address or change it, and when the pattern space |
is printed, appends a newline to stdout (or to a file). If the |
pattern space is entirely or partially deleted with 'd' or 'D', the |
newline is *not* added in such cases. Thus, scripts like |

sed 's/\n//' file # to delete newlines from each line |
sed 's/\n/foo\n/' file # to add a word to the end of each line |

will NEVER work, because the trailing newline is removed _before_ |
the line is put into the pattern space. To perform the above tasks, |
use one of these scripts instead: |

tr -d '\n' < file # use tr to delete newlines |
sed ':a;N;$!ba;s/\n//g' file # GNU sed to delete newlines |
sed 's/$/ foo/' file # add "foo" to end of each line |

Since versions of sed other than GNU sed have limits to the size of |
the pattern buffer, the Unix 'tr' utility is to be preferred here. |
If the last line of the file contains a newline, GNU sed will add |
that newline to the output but delete all others, whereas tr will |
delete all newlines. |

To match a block of two or more lines, there are 3 basic choices: |
(1) use the 'N' command to add the Next line to the pattern space; |
(2) use the 'H' command at least twice to append the current line |
to the Hold space, and then retrieve the lines from the hold space |
with x, g, or G; or (3) use address ranges (see section 3.3, above) |
to match lines between two specified addresses. |

Choices (1) and (2) will put an \n into the pattern space, where it |
can be addressed as desired ('s/ABC\nXYZ/alphabet/g'). One example |
of using 'N' to delete a block of lines appears in section 4.13 |
("How do I delete a block of _specific_ consecutive lines?"). This |
example can be modified by changing the delete command to something |
else, like 'p' (print), 'i' (insert), 'c' (change), 'a' (append), |
or 's' (substitute). |

Choice (3) will not put an \n into the pattern space, but it _does_ |
match a block of consecutive lines, so it may be that you don't |
even need the \n to find what you're looking for. Since GNU sed |
version 3.02.80 now supports this syntax: |

sed '/start/,+4d' # to delete "start" plus the next 4 lines, |

in addition to the traditional '/from here/,/to there/{...}' range |
addresses, it may be possible to avoid the use of \n entirely. |

5.11. My script aborts with an error message, "event not found". |

This error is generated by the csh or tcsh shells, not by sed. The |
exclamation mark (!) is special to csh/tcsh, and if you use it in |
command-line or shell scripts--even within single quotes--it must |
be preceded by a backslash. Thus, under the csh/tcsh shell: |

sed '/regex/!d' # will fail |
sed '/regex/\!d' # will succeed |

The exclamation mark should not be prefixed with a backslash when |
the script is called from a file, as "-f script.file". |

------------------------------

6. OTHER ISSUES

6.1. I have a certain problem that stumps me. Where can I get help?

Newsgroups:

- alt.comp.editors.batch (best choice)
- comp.editors
- comp.unix.questions
- comp.unix.shell

Send e-mail to: owner-s...@jpusa.chi.il.us

Your question will be posted on the "sed-users" mailing list, where
many sed users will be able to see your question. Sending your
question will not automatically subscribe you to the list.

6.2. How does sed compare with awk, perl, and other utilities?

Awk is a much richer language with many features of a programming
language, including variable names, math functions, arrays, system
calls, etc. Its command structure is similar to sed:

address { command(s) }

which means that for each line or range of lines that matches the
address, execute the command(s). In both sed and awk, an address
can be a line number or a RE somewhere on the line, or both.

In program size, awk is 3-10 times larger than sed. Awk has most
of the functions of sed, but not all. Notably, sed supports
backreferences (\1, \2, ...) to previous expressions, and awk does
not have any comparable function or syntax.

Perl is a general-purpose programming language, with many features
beyond text processing and interprocess communication, taking it
well past awk or other scripting languages. Perl supports every
feature sed does and has its own set of extended regular
expressions, which give it extensive power in pattern matching and
processing. (Note: the standard perl distribution comes with 's2p',
a sed-to-perl conversion script. See section 3.6 for more info.)
Like sed and awk, perl scripts do not need to be compiled into
binary code. Like sed, perl can also run many useful "one-liners"
from the command line, though with greater flexibility; see
question 4.3 ("How do I make substitutions in every file in a
directory, or in a complete directory tree?").

On the other hand, the current version of perl is from 8 to 35
times larger than sed in its executables alone (perl's library
modules and allied files not included!). Further, for most simple
tasks such as substitution, sed executes more quickly than either
perl or awk. All these utilities serve to process input text,
transforming it to meet our needs . . . or our arbitrary whims.

6.3. When should I use sed?

When you need a small, fast program to modify words, lines, or
blocks of lines in a textfile.

6.4. When should I NOT use sed?

You should not use sed when you have "dedicated" tools which can do
the job faster or with an easier syntax. Do not use sed when you
only want to:

- delete individual characters. Instead of "s/[abcd]//g", use

tr -d "[a-d]"

- squeeze sequential characters. Instead of "s/ee*/e/g", use

tr -s "{character-set}"

- change individual characters. Instead of "y/abcdef/ABCDEF/", use

tr "[a-f]" "[A-F]"

- print individual lines, based on patterns within the line itself.
Instead, use "grep".

- print blocks of lines, with 1 or more lines of context above
and/or below a specific regular expression. Instead, use the GNU
version of grep as follows:

grep -A{number} -B{number}

- remove individual lines, based on patterns within the line
itself. Instead, use "grep -v".

- print line numbers. Instead, use "nl" or "cat -n".

- reformat lines or paragraphs. Instead, use "fold", "fmt" or "par".

Though sed can perfectly emulate certain functions of cat, grep,
nl, rev, sort, tac, tail, tr, uniq, and other utilities, producing
identical output, the native utilities are usually optimized to do
the job more quickly than sed.

6.5. When should I ignore sed and use Awk or Perl instead?

If you can write the same script in Awk or Perl and do it in less
time, then use Perl or Awk. There's no reason to spend an hour
writing and debugging a sed script if you can do it in Perl in 10
minutes (assuming that you know Perl already) and if the processing
time or memory use is not a factor. Don't hunt pheasants with a .22
if you have a shotgun at your side . . . unless you simply enjoy
the challenge!

Specifically, if you need to:

- heavily comment what your scripts do. Use GNU sed, awk, or perl.
- do case insensitive searching. Use gsed302, sedmod, awk or perl.
- count fields (words) in a line. Use awk.
- count lines in a block or objects in a file. Use awk.
- check lengths of strings or do math operations. Use awk or perl.
- handle very long lines or need very large buffers. Use gsed or perl.
- handle binary data (control characters). Use perl (binmode).
- loop through an array or list. Use awk or perl.
- test for file existence, filesize, or fileage. Use perl or shell.
- treat each paragraph as a line. Use awk or perl.
- indicate /alternate|options/ in regexes. Use gsed, awk or perl.
- use syntax like \xNN to match hex codes. Use gsed-3.02.80 or perl.
- use (nested (regexes)) with backreferences. Use perl.

Perl lovers: I know that perl can do everything awk can do, but
please don't write me to complain. Why heft a shotgun when a .45
will do? As we all know, "There is more than one way to do it."

6.6. Known limitations among sed versions

Limits on distributed versions, although source code for most
versions of free sed allows for modification and recompilation.
The term "no limit" when used below means there is no "fixed"
limit. Limits are actually determined by one's hardware, memory,
operating system, and which C library is used to compile sed.

6.6.1. Maximum line length

GNU sed 3.02: no limit
GNU sed 2.05: no limit
sedmod 1.0: 4096 bytes
HHsed: 4000 bytes

6.6.2. Maximum size for all buffers (pattern space + hold space)

GNU sed 3.02: no limit
GNU sed 2.05: no limit
sedmod 1.0: 4096 bytes
HHsed: 4000 bytes

6.6.3. Maximum number of files that can be read with read command

GNU sed 3.02: no limit
GNU sed 2.05: total no. of r and w commands may not exceed 32
sedmod 1.0: total no. of r and w commands may not exceed 20

6.6.4. Maximum number of files that can be written with 'w' command

GNU sed 3.02: no limit (but typical Unix is 253)
GNU sed 2.05: total no. of r and w commands may not exceed 32
sedmod 1.0: 10
HHsed: 10

6.6.5. Limits on length of label names

BSD sed: 8 characters
GNU sed 3.02: no limit
GNU sed 2.05: no limit
HHsed: no limit

6.6.6. Limits on length of write-file names

BSD sed: 40 characters
GNU sed 3.02: no limit
GNU sed 2.05: no limit
HHsed: no limit

6.6.7. Limits on branch/jump commands

HHsed: 50

As a practical consequence, this means that HHsed will not read
more than 50 lines into the pattern space via an N command, even if
the pattern space is only a few hundred bytes in size. HHsed exits
with an error message, "infinite branch loop at line {nn}".

6.7. Known bugs among sed versions

A. GNU sed v3.02.80

(1) N does not discard the contents of the pattern space upon |
reaching the end of file; not a bug. See section 6.8.6, below. |

B. GNU sed v3.02

(1) Affects only v3.02 binaries compiled with DJGPP for MS-DOS and
MS-Windows: 'l' (list) command does not display a lone carriage
return (0x0D, ^M) embedded in a line.

(2) The expression "\<" causes problems when attempting the
following types of substitutions, which should print "+aaa +bbb":

echo aaa bbb | sed 's/\</+/g' # prints "+a+a+a +b+b+b"
echo aaa bbb | sed 's/\<./+&/g' # prints "+a+a+a +b+b+b"

(3) The N command no longer discards the contents of the pattern |
space upon reaching the end of file. This is not a bug, it's a |
feature. See section 6.8.6 "Commands which operate differently". |

C. GNU sed v2.05

(1) If a number follows the substitute command (e.g., s/f/F/10) and
the number exceeds the possible matches on the pattern space, the
command 't label' _always_ jumps to the specified label. 't' should
jump only if the substitution was successful (or returned "true").

(2) 'l' (list) command does not convert the following characters to
hex values, but passes them through unchanged: 0xF7, 0xFB, 0xFC,
0xFD, 0xFE.

(3) A range address like "/foo/,14d" should delete every line from
the first occurrence of "foo" until line 14, inclusive, and then if
/foo/ occurs thereafter, delete only those lines. In gsed 2.05, if
a second "foo" occurs in the file, that line and everything to the
end of file will be deleted (since gsed is looking for line 14 to
occur again!).

(4) The regex /\'/ is not interpreted as an apostrophe or a single
quote mark, as it should be. Instead, it is interpreted as $,
representing the end-of-line! This can be proven by these tests:

echo hello | gsed "/\'/d" # entire line is deleted!
echo hello | gsed "s/\'/YYY/" # 'YYY' appended to string

(5) Multiple occurrences of the 'w' command fail, as shown here,
given that both "aaa" and "bbb" occur within the file:

gsed -e "/aaa/w FILE" -e "/bbb/w FILE" input.txt

(6) The expression "\<" causes problems when attempting the
following type of substitution, which should print "+aaa +bbb":

echo aaa bbb | sed 's/\</+/g' # sed hangs up with no output

The syntax 's/\<./+&/g' issues the proper output.

D. GNU sed v1.18

(1) same as #1 for GNU sed v2.05, above.

(2) The following command will lock the computer under Win95. Echos
is an echo command that does not issue a trailing newline:

echos any_word | gsed "s/[ ]*$//"

(3) same as #3 for GNU sed v2.05, above.

E. GNU sed v1.03 (by Frank Whaley)

(1) The \w and \W escape sequences both match only nonword
characters. \w is misdefined and should match word characters.

(2) The underscore is defined as a nonword character; it should be
defined as a word character.

(3) same as #3 for GNU sed v2.05, above.

F. HHsed v1.5 (by Howard Helman)

(1) If a number follows the substitute command (e.g., s/foo/bar/2),
in a sed script entered from the command line, two semicolons must
follow the number, or they must be separated by an -e switch.
Normally, only 1 semicolon is needed to separate commands.

echo bit bet | HHsed "s/b/n/2;;s/b/B/" # solution 1
echo bit bet | HHsed -e "s/b/n/2" -e "s/b/B" # solution 2

(2) If the substitute command is followed by a number and a "p"
flag, when the -n switch is used, the "p" flag must occur first.

echo aaa | HHsed -n "s/./B/3p" # bug! nothing prints
echo aaa | HHsed -n "s/./B/p3" # prints "aaB" as expected

(3) The following commands will cause HHsed to lock the computer
under MS-DOS or Win95. Note that they occur because of malformed
regular expressions which will match no characters.

sed -n "p;s/\<//g;" file
sed -n "p;s/[char-set]*//g;" file

(4) The range command '/RE1/,/RE2/' in HHsed will match one line if
both regexes occur on the same line (see section 6.8.5, below).
Though this could be construed as a feature, it should probably be
considered a bug since its operation differs from every other
version of sed. For example, '/----/,/----/{s/^/>>/;}' should put
two angle brackets ">>" before every line which is sandwiched
between a row of 4 or more hyphens. With HHsed, this command will
only prefix the hyphens themselves with the angle brackets.

(5) If the hold space is empty, the H command copies the pattern
space to the hold space but fails to prepend a leading newline. The
H command is supposed to add a newline, followed by the contents of
the pattern space, to the hold space at all times. A workaround is
"{G;s/^\(.*\)\(\n\)$/\2\1/;H;s/\n$//;}", but it requires knowing
that the hold space is empty and using the command only once.
Another alternative is to use the G or the A command alone at key
points in the script.

(6) If grouping is followed by an '*' or '+' operator, HHsed does
not match the pattern, but issues no warning. See below:

echo aaa | HHsed "/\(a\)*/d" # nothing is deleted
echo aaa | HHsed "/\(a\)+/d" # nothing is deleted
echo aaa | HHsed "s/\(a\)*/\1B/" # nothing is changed
echo aaa | HHsed "s/\(a\)+/\1B/" # nothing is changed

(7) If grouping is followed by an interval expression, HHsed halts
with the error message "garbled command", in all of the following
examples:

echo aaa | HHsed "/\(a\)\{3\}/d"
echo aaa | HHsed "/\(a\)\{1,5\}/d"
echo aaa | HHsed "s/\(a\)\{3\}/\1B/"

(8) In interval expressions, 0 is not supported. E.g., \{0,3\)

G. sedmod v1.0 (by Hern Chen)

Technically, the following are limits (or features?) of sedmod, not
bugs, since the docs for sedmod do not claim to support these
missing features.

(1) sedmod does not support standard range arguments \{...\}
present in nearly all versions of sed.

(2) If grouping is followed by an '*' or '+' operator, sedmod gives
a "garbled command" message. However, if the grouped expressions
are strings literals with no metacharacters, a partial workaround
can be done like so:

\(string\)\1* # matches 1 or more instances of 'string'
\(string\)\1+ # matches 2 or more instances of 'string'

(3) sedmod does not support a numeric argument after the s///
command, as in 's/a/b/3', present in nearly all versions of sed.

The following are bugs in sedmod v1.0:

(4) When the -i (ignore case) switch is used, the '/regex/d'
command is not properly obeyed. Sedmod may miss one or more lines
matching the expression, regardless of where they occur in the
script. Workaround: use "/regex/{d;}" instead.

H. HP-UX sed

(1) Versions of HP-UX sed up to and including version 10.20 are
buggy. According to the README file, which comes with the GNU cc
at <ftp://ftp.ntua.gr/pub/gnu/sed-2.05.bin.README>:

"When building gcc on a hppa*-*-hpux10 platform, the `fixincludes'
step (which involves running a sed script) fails because of a bug
in the vendor's implementation of sed. Currently the only known
workaround is to install GNU sed before building gcc. The file
sed-2.05.bin.hpux10 is a precompiled binary for that platform."

I. SunOS 4.1 sed

(1) Bug occurs in RE pattern matching when a non-null '[char-set]*'
is followed by a null '\NUM' pattern recall, illustrated here and
reported by Greg Ubben:

s/\(a\)\(b*\)cd\1[0-9]*\2foo/bar/ # between '[0-9]*' and '\2'
s/\(a\{0,1\}\).\{0,1\}\1/bar/ # between '.\{0,1\}' and '\1'

Workaround: add a do-nothing 'X*' expression which will not match
any characters on the line between the two components. E.g.,

s/\(a\)\(b*\)cd\1[0-9]*X*\2foo/bar/
s/\(a\{0,1\}\).\{0,1\}X*\1/bar/

J. SunOS 5.6 sed

(1) If grouping is followed by an asterisk, SunOS sed does not match
the null string, which it should do. The following command:

echo foo | sed 's/f\(NO-MATCH\)*/g\1/'

should transform "foo" to "goo" under normal versions of sed.

K. Ultrix 4.3 sed

(1) If grouping is followed by an asterisk, Ultrix sed replies with
"command garbled", as shown in the following example:

echo foo | sed 's/f\(NO-MATCH\)*/g\1/'

(2) If grouping is followed by a numeric operator such as \{0,9\},
Ultrix sed does not find the match.

L. Digital Unix sed

(1) The following comes from the man pages for sed distributed with
new, 1998 versions of Digital Unix (reformatted to fit our
margins):

[Digital] The h subcommand for sed does not work properly. When
you use the h subcommand to place text into the hold area, only
the last line of the specified text is saved. You can use the H
subcommand to append text to the hold area. The H subcommand and
all others dealing with the hold area work correctly.

(2) "$d" command issues an error message, "cannot parse". Reported
by Carlos Duarte on 8 June 1998.

6.8. Known incompatibilities between sed versions

6.8.1. Issuing commands from the command line

Most versions of sed permit multiple commands to issued on the
command line, separated by a semicolon (;). Thus,

sed 'G;G' file

should triple-space a file. However, certain commands REQUIRE
separate expressions on the command line. These include:

- all labels (':a', ':more', etc.)
- all branching instructions ('b', 't')
- commands to read and write files ('r' and 'w')
- any closing brace, '}'

If these commands are used, they must be the LAST commands of an
expression. Subsequent commands must use another expression
(another -e switch plus arguments). E.g.,

sed -e :a -e 's/^.\{1,77\}$/ &/;ta' -e 's/\( *\)\1/\1/' files

GNU sed and HHsed v1.5 allow these commands to be followed by a
semicolon, and the previous script can be written like this:

sed ':a;s/^.\{1,77\}$/ &/;ta;s/\( *\)\1/\1/' files

Versions differ in implementing the 'a' (append), 'c' (change), and
'i' (insert) commands:

sed "/foo/i New text here" # HHsed/sedmod/gsed-30280
gsed -e "/foo/i\\" -e "New text here" # GNU sed
sed1 -e "/foo/i" -e "New text here" # one version of sed
sed2 "/foo/i\ New text here" # another version

6.8.2. Using comments (prefixed by the '#' sign)

Most versions of sed permit comments to appear in sed scripts only
on the first line of the script. Comments on line 2 or thereafter
are not recognized and will generate an error like "unrecognized
command" or "command [bad-line-here] has trailing garbage".

GNU sed, HHsed, sedmod, and HP-UX sed permit comments to appear on
any line of the script, except after labels and branching commands
(b,t), *provided* that a semicolon (;) occurs after the command
itself. This syntax makes sed similar to awk and perl, which use a
similar commenting structure in their scripts. Thus,

# GNU style sed script
$!N; # except for last line, get next line
s/^\([0-9]\{5\}\).*\n\1.*//; # if first 5 digits of each line
# match, delete BOTH lines.
t skip
P; # print 1st line only if no match
:skip
D; # delete 1st line of pattern space and loop
#---end of script---

is a valid script for GNU sed and Helman's sed, but is unrecognized
for most other versions of sed.

6.8.3. Special syntax in REs

A. GNU sed v2.05 and higher versions

BEGIN~STEP selection: GNU sed can select a series of lines in the
form M~N, where M and N are integers (with gsed v2.05, M must be
less than N). Beginning at line M (M may equal 0), every Nth line
is selected. Thus,

gsed '1~3d' file # delete every 3d line, starting with line 1
# deletes lines 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, ...

gsed -n '2~5p' file # print every 5th line, starting with line 2
# prints lines 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27, ...

With gsed v3.02, M may be any valid line number. With gsed v2.05,
if M is greater than or equal to N (the STEP value), nothing will
be selected, except in one pointless case, 0~0, which selects every
line.

The following expressions can be used for /RE/ addresses or in the
LHS side of a substitution:

\` - matches the beginning of the pattern space (same as "^")
\' - matches the end of the pattern space (same as "$")
\? - 0 or 1 occurrences of previous character: same as \{0,1\}
\+ - 1 or more occurrences of previous character: same as \{1,\}
\| - matches the string on either side, e.g., foo\|bar
\b - boundary between word and nonword chars (reversible)
\B - boundary between 2 word or between 2 nonword chars
\n - embedded newline (usable after N, G, or similar commands)
\w - any word character: [A-Za-z0-9_]
\W - any nonword char: [^A-Za-z0-9_]
\< - boundary between nonword and word character
\> - boundary between word and nonword character

On \b, \B, \<, and \>, see section 6.8.4 ("Word boundaries"),
below.

Beginning with version 3.02.80, the following escape sequences can
now be used on both sides of a "s///" substitution:

\a "alert" beep (BEL, Ctrl-G, 0x07)
\f formfeed (FF, Ctrl-L, 0x0C)
\n newline (LF, Ctrl-J, 0x0A)
\r carriage-return (CR, Ctrl-M, 0x0D)
\t horizontal tab (HT, Ctrl-I, 0x09)
\v vertical tab (VT, Ctrl-K, 0x0B)
\oNNN a character with the octal value NNN
\dNNN a character with the decimal value NNN
\xNN a character with the hexadecimal value NN

Note that gsed does not have any syntax for designating characters
in octal or hex notation. Traditionally, \ooo or \hh or \xhh have
been used by the GNU project to do this, but they are not (yet)
implemented in gsed. Note that GNU sed also supports "character
classes", a POSIX extension to regexes, described in section 3.7,
above.

B. GNU sed v1.03 (by Frank Whaley)

When used with the -x (extended) switch on the command line, or
when '#x' occurs as the first line of a script, Whaley's gsed103
supports the following expressions in both the LHS and RHS of a
substitution:

\| matches the expression on either side
? 0 or 1 occurrences of previous RE: same as \{0,1\}
+ 1 or more occurrence of previous RE: same as \{1,\}
\a "alert" beep (BEL, Ctrl-G, 0x07)
\b backspace (BS, Ctrl-H, 0x08)
\f formfeed (FF, Ctrl-L, 0x0C)
\n newline (LF, Ctrl-J, 0x0A)
\r carriage-return (CR, Ctrl-M, 0x0D)
\t horizontal tab (HT, Ctrl-I, 0x09)
\v vertical tab (VT, Ctrl-K, 0x0B)
\bBBB binary char, where BBB are 1-8 binary digits, [0-1]
\dDDD decimal char, where DDD are 1-3 decimal digits, [0-9]
\oOOO octal char, where OOO are 1-3 octal digits, [0-7]
\xXX hex char, where XX are 1-2 hex digits, [0-9A-F]

In normal mode, with or without the -x switch, the following escape
sequences are also supported in regex addressing or in the LHS of a
substitution:

\` matches beginning of pattern space: same as /^/
\' matches end of pattern space: same as /$/
\B boundary between 2 word or 2 nonword characters
\w any nonword character [*BUG!* should be a word char]
\W any nonword character: same as /[^A-Za-z0-9]/
\< boundary between nonword and word char
\> boundary between word and nonword char

C. HHsed v1.5 (by Howard Helman)

The following expressions can be used for /RE/ addresses or in the
LHS and RHS side of a substitution:

+ - 1 or more occurrences of previous RE: same as \{1,\}
\a - bell (ASCII 07, 0x07)
\b - backspace (ASCII 08, 0x08)
\e - escape (ASCII 27, 0x1B)
\f - formfeed (ASCII 12, 0x0C)
\n - newline (printed as 2 bytes, 0D 0A or ^M^J, in DOS)
\r - return (ASCII 13, 0x0D)
\t - tab (ASCII 09, 0x09)
\v - vertical tab (ASCII 11, 0x0B)
\xhh - the ASCII character corresponding to 2 hex digits hh.
\< - boundary between nonword and word character
\> - boundary between word and nonword character

D. sedmod v1.0 (by Hern Chen)

The following expressions can be used for /RE/ addresses in the LHS
of a substitution:

+ - 1 or more occurrences of previous RE: same as \{1,\}
\a - any alphanumeric: same as [a-zA-Z0-9]
\A - 1 or more alphas: same as \a+
\d - any digit: same as [0-9]
\D - 1 or more digits: same as \d+
\h - any hex digit: same as [0-9a-fA-F]
\H - 1 or more hexdigits: same as \h+
\l - any letter: same as [A-Za-z]
\L - 1 or more letters: same as \l+
\n - newline (read as 2 bytes, 0D 0A or ^M^J, in DOS)
\s - any whitespace character: space, tab, or vertical tab
\S - 1 or more whitespace chars: same as \s+
\t - tab (ASCII 09, 0x09)
\< - boundary between nonword and word character
\> - boundary between word and nonword character

The following expressions can be used in the RHS of a substitution.
"Elements" refer to \1 .. \9, &, $0, or $1 .. $9:

& - insert regexp defined on LHS
\e - end case conversion of next element
\E - end case conversion of remaining elements
\l - change next element to lower case
\L - change remaining elements to lower case
\n - newline (printed as 2 bytes, 0D 0A or ^M^J, in DOS)
\t - tab (ASCII 09, 0x09)
\u - change next element to upper case
\U - change remaining elements to upper case
$0 - insert pattern space BEFORE the substitution
$1-$9 - match Nth word on the pattern space

E. UnixDos sed

The following expressions can be used in text, LHS, and RHS:

\n - newline (printed as 2 bytes, 0D 0A or ^M^J, in DOS)

6.8.4. Word boundaries

GNU sed, HHsed, and sedmod use certain symbols to define the
boundary between a "word character" and a nonword character. A word
character fits the regex "[A-Za-z0-9_]". Note: a word character
includes the underscore "_" but not the hyphen, probably because
the underscore is permissible as a label in sed and in other
scripting languages. (In gsed103, a word character did NOT include
the underscore; it included alphanumerics only.)

These symbols include '\<' and '\>' (gsed, HHsed, sedmod) and '\b'
and '\B' (gsed only). Note that the boundary symbols do not
represent a character, but a position on the line. Word boundaries
are used with literal characters or character sets to let you match
(and delete or alter) whole words without affecting the spaces or
punctuation marks outside of those words. They can only be used in
a "/pattern/" address or in the LHS of a 's/LHS/RHS/' command. The
following table shows how these symbols may be used in HHsed and
GNU sed. Sedmod matches the syntax of HHsed.

Match position Possible word boundaries HHsed GNU sed
---------------------------------------------------------------
start of word [nonword char]^[word char] \< \< or \b
end of word [word char]^[nonword char] \> \> or \b
middle of word [word char]^[word char] none \B
outside of word [nonword char]^[nonword char] none \B
---------------------------------------------------------------

6.8.5. Range addressing with GNU sed and HHsed

When addressing a range of lines, as in the following example to
delete all lines between /RE1/ and /RE2/,

sed '/RE1/,/RE2/d' file

if /RE1/ and /RE2/ both occur on the *same* line, HHsed will delete
that single line and then look forward in the file for the next
occurrence of /RE1/ to attempt the deletion. GNU sed will match the
first line containing /RE1/ but will look forward to the next and
succeeding lines to match /RE2/. If /RE1/ and /RE2/ cannot be found
on two different lines, nothing will be deleted.

GNU sed v2.05 has a bug in range addressing (see section 6.7.C(3),
above). This was fixed in gsed v3.02.

GNU sed v3.02.80 supports 0 in range addressing, which means that
the range "0,/RE/" will match every line from the top of the file
to the first line containing /RE/, inclusive, and if /RE/ occurs on
the first line of the file, only line 1 will be matched.

6.8.6. Commands which operate differently |

A. GNU sed version 3.02 and 3.02.80 |

The N command no longer discards the contents of the pattern space |
upon reaching the end of file. This is not a bug, it's a feature. |
However, it breaks certain scripts which relied on the older |
behavior of N. |

'N' adds the Next line to the pattern space, enabling multiple |
lines to be stored and acted upon. Upon reaching the last line of |
the file, if the N command was issued again, the contents of the |
pattern space would be silently deleted and the script would abort |
(this has been the traditional behavior). For this reason, sed |
users generally wrote: |

$!N; # to add the Next line to every line but the last one. |

However, certain sed scripts relied on this behavior, such as the |
script to delete trailing blank lines at the end of a file (see |
script #12 in section 3.2, "Common one-line sed scripts", above). |
Also, classic textbooks such as Dale Dougherty and Arnold Robbins' |
_sed & awk_ documented the older behavior. |

The GNU sed maintainer felt that despite the portability problems |
this would cause, changing the N command to print (rather than |
delete) the pattern space was more consistent with one's intuitions |
about how a command to "append the Next line" _ought_ to behave. |
Another fact favoring the change was that "{N;command;}" will |
delete the last line if the file has an odd number of lines, but |
print the last line if the file has an even number of lines. |

To convert scripts which used the former behavior of N (deleting |
the pattern space upon reaching the EOF) to scripts compatible with |
all versions of sed, change a lone "N;" to "$d;N;". |

[end-of-file]


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