echo(1) User Commands echo(1)
echo - echo arguments
The echo utility writes its arguments, separated by BLANKs and termi-
nated by a NEWLINE, to the standard output. If there are no arguments,
only the NEWLINE character will be written.
echo is useful for producing diagnostics in command files, for sending
known data into a pipe, and for displaying the contents of environment
The C shell, the Korn shell, and the Bourne shell all have echo built-
in commands, which, by default, will be invoked if the user calls echo
without a full pathname. See shell_builtins(1). sh's echo, ksh's echo,
and /usr/bin/echo understand the back-slashed escape characters, except
that sh's echo does not understand \a as the alert character. In addi-
tion, ksh's echo, does not have an -n option. sh's echo and
/usr/bin/echo only have an -n option if the SYSV3 environment variable
is set (see ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES below). If it is, none of the back-
slashed characters mentioned above are available. csh's echo and
/usr/ucb/echo, on the other hand, have an -n option, but do not under-
stand the back-slashed escape characters.
The following operand is supported:
string A string to be written to standard output. If any operand is
"-n", it will be treated as a string, not an option. The fol-
lowing character sequences will be recognized within any of
\a Alert character.
\c Print line without new-line. All characters following
the \c in the argument are ignored.
\r Carriage return.
\v Vertical tab.
\0n Where n is the 8-bit character whose ASCII code is
the 1-, 2- or 3-digit octal number representing that
Portable applications should not use -n (as the first argument) or
The printf(1) utility can be used portably to emulate any of the tradi-
tional behaviors of the echo utility as follows:
o The Solaris 2.6 operating environment or compatible version's
/usr/bin/echo is equivalent to:
printf "%b\n" "$*"
o The /usr/ucb/echo is equivalent to:
if [ "X$1" = "X-n" ]
printf "%s" "$*"
printf "%s\n" "$*"
New applications are encouraged to use printf instead of echo.
Example 1: Finding how far below root your current directory is located
You can use echo to determine how many subdirectories below the root
directory (/) is your current directory, as follows:
o Echo your current-working-directory's full pathname.
o Pipe the output through tr to translate the path's embedded slash-
characters into space-characters.
o Pipe that output through wc -w for a count of the names in your
example% /usr/bin/echo $PWD | tr '/' ' ' | wc -w
See tr(1) and wc(1) for their functionality.
Below are the different flavors for echoing a string without a NEWLINE:
Example 2: /usr/bin/echo
example% /usr/bin/echo "$USER's current directory is $PWD\c"
Example 3: sh/ksh shells
example$ echo "$USER's current directory is $PWD\c"
Example 4: csh shell
example% echo -n "$USER's current directory is $PWD"
Example 5: /usr/ucb/echo
example% /usr/ucb/echo -n "$USER's current directory is $PWD"
See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables
that affect the execution of echo: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES,
SYSV3 This environment variable is used to provide compatibility
with INTERACTIVE UNIX System and SCO UNIX installation
scripts. It is intended for compatibility only and should not
be used in new scripts.
The following error values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
>>0 An error occurred.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
tab() allbox; cw(2.750000i)| cw(2.750000i) lw(2.750000i)|
lw(2.750000i). ATTRIBUTE TYPEATTRIBUTE VALUE AvailabilitySUNWcsu
CSIenabled Interface StabilityStandard
echo(1B), printf(1), shell_builtins(1), tr(1), wc(1), ascii(5),
attributes(5), environ(5), standards(5)
When representing an 8-bit character by using the escape convention
\0n, the n must always be preceded by the digit zero (0).
For example, typing: echo 'WARNING:\07' will print the phrase WARNING:
and sound the "bell" on your terminal. The use of single (or double)
quotes (or two backslashes) is required to protect the "\" that pre-
cedes the "07".
Following the \0, up to three digits are used in constructing the octal
output character. If, following the \0n, you want to echo additional
digits that are not part of the octal representation, you must use the
full 3-digit n. For example, if you want to echo "ESC 7" you must use
the three digits "033" rather than just the two digits "33" after the
tab(); lw(1.375000i) lw(1.375000i) lw(1.375000i) lw(1.375000i).
2 digitsIncorrect:echo"0337 | od -xc produces:df0a(hex)
337(ascii) 3 digitsCorrect:echo "00337" | od -xc produces:lb37
0a00(hex) 033 7(ascii)
For the octal equivalents of each character, see ascii(5).
SunOS 5.10 20 Jan 2000 echo(1)