SORT(1) General Commands Manual SORT(1)
sort - sort or merge files
sort [ -_________x ] [ +pos1 [ -pos2 ] ] ... [ -o name ] [ -T direc-
tory ] [ name ] ...
Sort sorts lines of all the named files together and writes the result
on the standard output. The name `-' means the standard input. If no
input files are named, the standard input is sorted.
The default sort key is an entire line. Default ordering is lexico-
graphic by bytes in machine collating sequence. The ordering is
affected globally by the following options, one or more of which may
b Ignore leading blanks (spaces and tabs) in field comparisons.
d `Dictionary' order: only letters, digits and blanks are signifi-
cant in comparisons.
f Fold upper case letters onto lower case.
i Ignore characters outside the ASCII range 040-0176 in nonnumeric
n An initial numeric string, consisting of optional blanks, optional
minus sign, and zero or more digits with optional decimal point,
is sorted by arithmetic value. Option n implies option b.
r Reverse the sense of comparisons.
tx `Tab character' separating fields is x.
The notation +pos1 -pos2 restricts a sort key to a field beginning at
pos1 and ending just before pos2. Pos1 and pos2 each have the form
m.n, optionally followed by one or more of the flags bdfinr, where m
tells a number of fields to skip from the beginning of the line and n
tells a number of characters to skip further. If any flags are present
they override all the global ordering options for this key. If the b
option is in effect n is counted from the first nonblank in the field;
b is attached independently to pos2. A missing .n means .0; a missing
-pos2 means the end of the line. Under the -tx option, fields are
strings separated by x; otherwise fields are nonempty nonblank strings
separated by blanks.
When there are multiple sort keys, later keys are compared only after
all earlier keys compare equal. Lines that otherwise compare equal are
ordered with all bytes significant.
These option arguments are also understood:
c Check that the input file is sorted according to the ordering
rules; give no output unless the file is out of sort.
m Merge only, the input files are already sorted.
o The next argument is the name of an output file to use instead of
the standard output. This file may be the same as one of the
T The next argument is the name of a directory in which temporary
files should be made.
u Suppress all but one in each set of equal lines. Ignored bytes
and bytes outside keys do not participate in this comparison.
Examples. Print in alphabetical order all the unique spellings in a
list of words. Capitalized words differ from uncapitalized.
sort -u +0f +0 list
Print the password file (passwd(5)) sorted by user id number (the 3rd
sort -t: +2n /etc/passwd
Print the first instance of each month in an already sorted file of
(month day) entries. The options -um with just one input file make the
choice of a unique representative from a set of equal lines pre-
sort -um +0 -1 dates
/usr/tmp/stm*, /tmp/*: first and second tries for temporary files
uniq(1), comm(1), rev(1), join(1)
Comments and exits with nonzero status for various trouble conditions
and for disorder discovered under option -c.
Very long lines are silently truncated.