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Powerful usage of sort command in Unix - column wise sorting
04-24-2010, 01:08 PM
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Powerful usage of sort command in Unix - column wise sorting


We know that sort can sort the lines of a file alphabetically.
But here is another more powerful usage of sort. It can sort a file as columns, just like we sort columns in excel.

Let's say below is your file content (test)

A,1
JHH,100
B,3
C,4
B,10
A,20



You want to sort it based on the first column alphabetically and then by second column numerically. Columns are divided by , (comma)
Below is the sort command to do that

sort -t, -k1,1 -k2,2g test

-t specifies the delimiter for columns
-k1,1 specifies that column 1 should be sorted (default sorting alphanetically)
-k2,2g specifies that column 2 should be sorted numerically. (g for general-numeric-sort)

The output would be as below.

A,1
A,20
B,3
B,10
C,4
JHH,100


Hope this helps.


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