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Grep Cheat Sheet


Cheat sheet with the most common and useful Grep commands. Grep is a GNU/Linux command-line utility for searching plain-text data sets for lines that match a regular expression.

Syntax #

The general grep command syntax:


Searching #

Basic search in file #

grep 'pattern' file
grep -i 'pattern' file
grep -w 'word' file

Recursive search (for directories) #

grep -r 'pattern' directory

Search for multiple external matterns in a file #

grep -f patterns.txt file

Recursive search with line numbers and file names #

grep -rnH 'pattern' directory

Viewing #

Display Line Numbers #

grep -n 'pattern' file

Display Only Matching Part of Lines #

grep -o 'pattern' file

Display Filename with Matches #

grep -H 'pattern' file

Display only filenames with matches #

grep -l 'pattern' file

Display lines matching whole words only #

grep -wo 'word' file

Display lines before/after match #

grep -B 3 'pattern' file   # Display 3 lines before the match
grep -A 2 'pattern' file   # Display 2 lines after the match
grep -C 1 'pattern' file   # Display 1 line before and after the match

Display lines that match multiple patterns #

grep 'pattern1\|pattern2' file
grep -E 'pattern1|pattern2' file  # Using Extended Regular Expressions

Display context around matches #

grep -C 2 'pattern' file   # Display 2 lines of context around matches

Display lines matching multiple patterns (logical AND) #

grep 'pattern1' file | grep 'pattern2'

Display lines matching either of multiple patterns (logical OR) #

grep -E 'pattern1|pattern2' file

Display lines that do not match multiple patterns #

grep -v -e 'pattern1' -e 'pattern2' file

Invert match (exclude lines) #

grep -v 'pattern' file

Counting #

Count the number of matches #

grep -c 'pattern' file

Counting the occurrence of each matched line #

grep -c 'pattern' file | sort -n

These commands and options should cover a variety of scenarios when using grep to search for patterns in files. Customize them based on your specific needs and preferences.

Further readings #

Sources and recommended, further resources on the topic:


Jonas Jared Jacek • J15k

Jonas Jared Jacek (J15k)

Jonas works as project manager, web designer, and web developer since 2001. On top of that, he is a Linux system administrator with a broad interest in things related to programming, architecture, and design. See:


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