Bash sort

title: Bash Sort

Bash Sort

Sort is one a simple and useful command which will rearrange the lines in a text file so that they are sorted, numerically and alphabetically. There are by default the following rules for sorting text:

  • numbers will appear befor a letter
  • letter that appears earlier in the alphabet will appear before a letter that appears later in the alphabet
  • lowercase letters will appear before lines with the same letter in uppercase

The default rules of sorting can be changes by the options you provice to the command.


sort [options] [file_names]

Most used options:

  • -b, ignore leading blanks.
  • -f, fold lower case to upper case characters.
  • -h, compare human readable numbers (e.g., “2K”, “1G”).
  • -r, reverse the result of comparisons.
  • -R, sort in a random order


We have a file data.txt, which contains the following text:

apples oranges pears kiwis bananas

To sort the lines in the file alphabetically, use the following command:

sort data.txt

which will produce the following output:

apples bananas kiwis oranges pears

To reverse the sorting order, we using the -r flag.

sort -r data.txt

which will produce the following output:

pears oranges kiwis bananas apples

More Information:

  • Wikipedia:

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