Use grep Command in Linux
The grep command used to find a particular string or pattern in one or multiple patterns. Grep stands for “Global Regular Expression Print”. Grep is the most powerful command in Linux used most commonly. It can be also used to read Standard Output from another command. In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to use grep command in Linux.
Basic Syntax for grep Command
Following is the basic syntax for command
grep [OPTIONS] PATTERN [FILES]
OPTIONS: Grep options are used to change the behavior of the command.
- -i : Used for ignoring matching case.
- -c: It prints count of lines matching.
- -l : Displays list of filenames.
- -n : Number of matched lines and their line numbers.
- -v : Number of lines that do not match the pattern.
- -w : Match the whole word
PATTERN: Provide the search pattern.
FILE: Input file names.
Grep command to find a particular string inside the file
Grep command mostly used for searching string in the file. You can also search string inside file case sensitively.
Run the command below to search a string
grep John names.txt
If you want to search
John case insensitively then run the
grep command with
option -i .
grep -i John names.txt
If string you want to search includes spaces then enclose them inside single or double quotes. In the below example, it will search
John Hanks in
grep -i "John Hanks" names.txt
Display Number Of Matching Lines
You can display number of matching lines using grep command with
-c option. Run following command to find count of string
grep -c John names.txt
Invert Match in Grep Command
Invert match (
-v ) option is used to invert the grep output. The command will display the lines which do not match the given pattern.
To display the lines which do not match string
John inside names.txt file run following command.
grep -v John names.txt
To search given string inside all the files inside a directory
-r –recursive option is used.
In below example string “John” will be searched in all files inside
grep -r John /Documents/colleges
By using option
-R you can also search symbolic link files inside directories:
grep -R John /Documents/colleges
To search string in all directories you can run the following command:
grep -r "John" *
Search String in Standard Output
If you want to search string inside a command output, you can do so by combining grep command with another command or commands.
To find the string
inet6 inside command output of
ifconfig run following command:
ifconfig | grep inet6
Search Exact Matching Words
You can search exact matching words inside the file by using option
-w with grep command.
By using the following command you will only get lines which contain exact word
John inside the file:
grep -w John names.txt
Show Number of Lines Matching
To display the count of lines matching inside a file you can use option
-c with grep command.
For example, You can get the count of lines containing string John by running the following command.
grep -c John names.txt
You can also get the count of matching lines with standard output to do so run the following command.
ifconfig | grep -c inet
Above command will search string
inet inside standard output provided by the command
You have successfully learned how to use grep command in Linux. If you have any queries regarding this then please don’t forget to comment below.