The stream editor sed


Article from Issue 59/2005

Working with a text editor can be difficult if you need to handle frequently recurring tasks or multiple files. sed can save a lot of typing.

The Streamline Editor is a popular text editor for Unix and Linux systems. In contrast to editors such as Vi and Emacs, sed is not interactive. Instead, users define text to delete, modify, or add at the command line. You can also script sed commands and run them as a single batch job. If you need to modify a number of characters in one or multiple files, sed saves you from typing till your fingers bleed.

sed normally reads texts for processing from standard input (stdin), however, you can alternatively specify one or multiple files. sed will apply the specified commands to each line, writing them to a buffer. The output of the buffer will be sent to standard output (stdout), unless you change the default. The generic command syntax is as follows:

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