How to use grep command in Unix and Linux with examples

grep command Means – globally search regular expression. It is very useful while searching for strings in Unix  and Linux operating system. Here we would be taking  a look on grep command in Unix with examples,Linux grep examples,grep command options,egrep command in Unix

grep command in unix with examples

grep command in unix with examples

How to use grep command in Unix

The grep utility searches text file.txt for a pattern and prints all lines that contain that pattern.

Syntax: grep [ -options ] limited-regular-expression [filename … ]

grep options or grep command options

-c Print only a count of the lines that contain the pattern.
-i Ignore upper/lower case distinction during comparisons.
-l Print only the names of file.txt with matching lines,separated by NEWLINE characters. Does not repeat the names of file.txt when the pattern is found more than once.
-n Precede each line by its line number in the file (first line is 1).
-v Print all lines except those that contain the pattern.
-r It recursively search the pattern in all the file.txt in the current directory and all it’s sub-directory.
-w It searches the exact word

Unix grep command examples

  1. To find all uses of the word “top” (in any case) in the multiples file like x*, and write with line numbers:
    grep -i -n top x*

    grep line number command example

  2. search ‘tmpfile’ for ‘CAT’ anywhere in a line
    grep CAT tmpfile

    grep command in unix with examples

  3. grep case insensitive command . By default grep command is case sensitive. You can use option grep -i to make it case insensitive.  We can use grep -w option for searching the specific work not sub-string . The below example  searches adpatch.log for word failure in any case
    grep -i -w failure adpatch.log

    grep case insensitive command

  4. find ‘run time’ or ‘run-time’ in all txt in file.txt
    grep run[- ]time *.txt
  5. pipe who to grep, look for appmmgr
    who | grep appmmgr
  6.    grep recursive option .It search for oracle string in current directory files and all the files in sub directory
    grep -r "oracle" *

    grep recursive command

  7.   Grep exclude option (grep -v) . We can use grep -v to exclude the search item item. It will not show the lines which has oracle string in it
    ps -ef|grep -v oracle

Understanding Regular Expressions:

^ (Caret) match expression at the start of a line, as in ^A.
$ (Question) match expression at the end of a line, as in A$.
\ (Back Slash) turn off the special meaning of the next character, as in \^. To look for a Caret “^” at the start of a line, the expression is ^\^.
[ ] (Brackets) match any one of the enclosed characters, as in [aeiou]. Use Hyphen “-” for a range, as in [0-9].
[^ ] match any one character except those enclosed in [ ], as in [^0-9].
. (Period) match a single character of any value, except end of line. So b.b will match “bob”, “bib”, “b-b”, etc.
* (Asterisk) match zero or more of the preceding character or expression. An asterisk matches zero or more of what precedes it. Thus [A-Z]* matches any number of upper-case letters, including none, while [A-Z][A-Z]* matches one or more upper-case letters.

grep regex examples

  1. search file.txt for lines with ‘kite’
    grep kite file.txt
  2. ‘kite’ at the start of a line
    grep '^kite' file.txt

    grep regex command

  3. ‘kite’ at the end of a line
    grep 'kite$' file.txt

    grep regex examples

  4. lines containing only ‘kite’
    grep '^kite$' file.txt
  5. lines starting with ‘^s’, “\” escapes the ^
    grep '\^s' file.txt
  6. search for ‘kite’ or ‘Kite’
    grep '[Kk]ite' file.txt
  7. search for TOM, Tom, TOm or ToM
    grep 'T[oO][mM]' file.txt
  8. search for blank lines
    grep '^$' file.txt
  9. search for pairs of numeric digits
    grep '[0-9][0-9]' file
  10. list your mail
    grep '^From: ' /usr/mail/$USER
  11. any line with at least one letter
    grep '[a-zA-Z]' 1.txt
  12. anything not a letter or number
    grep '[^a-zA-Z0-9]'
  13. lines with exactly one character
    grep '^.$'
  14. ‘kite’ within double quotes
    grep '"kite"'
  15. ‘kite’, with or without quotes
    grep '"*kite"*'
  16. any line that starts with a Period “.”
    grep '^\.'
  17. line start with “.” and 2 lower case letters} letters
     grep '^\.[a-z][a-z]'

egrep command in Unix

If you want to search multiple words in the same grep command ,then use egrep command in UNIX
It search all the three words in the file

egrep  'cat|bad|sat'  file.txt

It discarded all the lines having any of these three word from the output of ps -ef

ps -ef|  egrep  -v  'cat|bad|sat'    :

egrep command in Unix

grep with pipe command

pipe command in Linux let u input the output of the one command to the another command.


ps -ef|grep python

Here output of “ps -ef” command is input for the grep command

grep pipe command example

Some more Important Grep commands

    1. Sometimes we just want the grep to show out only the file names which matched the given pattern then we use the -l (lower-case L) option. if multiple files are there. This will simply print all the file names
      grep -l ORA-0600 *.trc
    2. Suppose you want to count that how many lines matches the given pattern/string, then use the option -c
      grep -c "TOM" 1.txt
    3.   When you are searching error using grep on a huge file, it may be useful to see some lines around the match.
      Lines before the match
      grep -A 10 "TOM" 1.txt
      Lines after the match
      grep -B 10 "TOM" 1.txt
      Lines around the match
      grep -C 10 "TOM" 1.txt
    4. When we want to show the line number of the matched pattern with in the file.we can use grep -n
       grep -n "ORA-0600" alert.log
    5. Grep exclude directory in recursive search. Some time we want to exclude one directory from grep recursive search
       grep -r  --exclude-dir=log "TOM" *


grep is a very useful command for search word,expression in the Unix operation system. Hope you like this post on  grep command in Unix with examples

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