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Last updated: Aug 5, 2020 ·
Posted in wiki#notes



grep [options] <pattern> <file> # Basic usage
grep "spam" <file> # Search for lines that contain `spam` in file
grep -v "spam" <file> # Search for lines that do _not_ contain `spam` in file
grep -i "spam" <file> # Case-insentive search
grep -n "spam" <file> # Print line numbers
grep -nr 'string*' . # Recursively search current directory for `string`

Regular expressions

See also: /notes/regex

grep "^eggs" <file> # Find all lines starting with `eggs`
grep "eggs$" <file> # Lines ending with `eggs`
grep "^[A-Z]" <file> # Lines beginning with an uppercase letter
grep "^[[:upper:]]" <file> # Equivalent to above; Using POSIX classes

Extended regular expressions

Along with basic regular expressions (BREs, which is the default), grep also supports extended regular expressions (EREs) by using the -E option or by calling the egrep command.

grep "\(group\)" <file> # Grouping
grep -E "(group)" <file> # Equivalent to above
grep -E "(GPL|General Public License)" <file> # Alternation
grep -E "(copy)?right" <file> # Quantification; Match `copy` zero or one time
grep -E "free[^[:space:]]+" <file> # Match the string `free` plus one or more characters that are not white space characters
grep -E "[AEIOUaeiou]{3}" <file> # Match lines that contain triple-vowels
grep -E "[[:alpha:]]{16,20}" <file> # Match any words that have between 16 and 20 characters


grep . * # cat a bunch of files
  • Find lines in one file that are not in another [*]

    grep -v -f file1 file2


rg -S 'string' # Case-insentive search