Bash cat

title: Bash cat

Bash command: cat

The bash command cat is one of the most frequently used commands in Unix operating systems. It is used to read a file sequentially and print it to the standard output.
The command’s name is derived from its function to concatenate files.

The cat command can also be used to create a text file.


cat [options] [file_names]

Most used options:

  • -b, number non-blank output lines
  • -n, number all output lines
  • -s, squeeze multiple adjacent blank lines
  • -v, display nonprinting characters, except for tabs and the end of line character


Print in terminal the content of file.txt:

cat file.txt

Concatenate the content of the two files and display the result in terminal:

cat file1.txt file2.txt

Concatenate the content of two files and store it in a new file:

cat file1.txt file2.txt > new_file.txt

Creating a new text file:

cat > yourfile.txt

After pressing Enter, the cursor will be placed on the next line. You can start entering your desired text directly into your file. Press Ctrl+D or Ctrl+C to exit the file.

Using wildcard to display contents of all text files:

cat *.txt

Tip: Using cat on a directory will cause error, so make sure it’s a readable file.

More Information:

  • Wikipedia:
  • Man Page:

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