The grep command in Linux is used for searching and matching a text file that contains a particular regular expression. The full form of grep command is “global regular expression print”. It is the preinstalled command in every Linux distribution, so you don’t need to install it. In this Article, we will discuss various grep command in Linux.

grep command in Unix/Linux

$ grep "string" file name

For example, If we have a file called welcome.txt that contains the following content:

Linux is one of the famous operating system. 
It is free and opensource. 
It is widely used by developers over the glob.
Linux is powerful and easy to learn. 

So we use  the grep command as follows:

$ grep "Linux" welcome.txt


The output is following:

grep command

As you see, grep command print the lines those contain the searched pattern “Linux”. We can also use option with grep command in following format.


For example:

$ grep -i Linux welcome.txt 

We can use following options at grep command. PATTERNS can contain multiple patterns separated by newlines.

Pattern selection and interpretation:
-E, --extended-regexp PATTERNS are extended regular expressions
-F, --fixed-strings PATTERNS are strings
-G, --basic-regexp PATTERNS are basic regular expressions
-P, --perl-regexp PATTERNS are Perl regular expressions
-e, --regexp=PATTERNS use PATTERNS for matching
-f, --file=FILE take PATTERNS from FILE
-i, --ignore-case ignore case distinctions
-w, --word-regexp match only whole words
-x, --line-regexp match only whole lines
-z, --null-data a data line ends in 0 byte, not newline

-s, --no-messages suppress error messages
-v, --invert-match select non-matching lines
-V, --version display version information and exit
--help display this help text and exit

Output control:
-m, --max-count=NUM stop after NUM selected lines
-b, --byte-offset print the byte offset with output lines
-n, --line-number print line number with output lines
--line-buffered flush output on every line
-H, --with-filename print file name with output lines
-h, --no-filename suppress the file name prefix on output
--label=LABEL use LABEL as the standard input file name prefix
-o, --only-matching show only nonempty parts of lines that match
-q, --quiet, --silent suppress all normal output
--binary-files=TYPE assume that binary files are TYPE;
TYPE is 'binary', 'text', or 'without-match'
-a, --text equivalent to --binary-files=text
-I equivalent to --binary-files=without-match
-d, --directories=ACTION how to handle directories;
ACTION is 'read', 'recurse', or 'skip'
-D, --devices=ACTION how to handle devices, FIFOs and sockets;
ACTION is 'read' or 'skip'
-r, --recursive like --directories=recurse
-R, --dereference-recursive likewise, but follow all symlinks
--include=GLOB search only files that match GLOB (a file pattern)
--exclude=GLOB skip files and directories matching GLOB
--exclude-from=FILE skip files matching any file pattern from FILE
--exclude-dir=GLOB skip directories that match GLOB
-L, --files-without-match print only names of FILEs with no selected lines
-l, --files-with-matches print only names of FILEs with selected lines
-c, --count print only a count of selected lines per FILE
-T, --initial-tab make tabs line up (if needed)
-Z, --null print 0 byte after FILE name

Context control:
-B, --before-context=NUM print NUM lines of leading context
-A, --after-context=NUM print NUM lines of trailing context
-C, --context=NUM print NUM lines of output context
-NUM same as --context=NUM
--colour[=WHEN] use markers to highlight the matching strings;
WHEN is 'always', 'never', or 'auto'
-U, --binary do not strip CR characters at EOL (MSDOS/Windows)

When FILE is '-', read standard input. With no FILE, read '.' if
recursive, '-' otherwise. With fewer than two FILEs, assume -h.
Exit status is 0 if any line (or file if -L) is selected, 1 otherwise;
if any error occurs and -q is not given, the exit status is 2.


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