Show only printable characters and newlines from a file or input

strings -1 <file>
Use this like the cat command with the additional feature to strip out unprintable characters from the input, newlines will stay.
Sample Output
#strings -1 /dev/urandom
7xuP
fZ#%
K(0np
5lQ1
J*P"
5D#&%\
1hI{
S,
h>3/
iO.2
0%]~
BTLn.
p       `vfa
EB,m*
%&l*
Bi&o
l{u,$
FRF]
].`
Knr!tI

-1
2012-11-23 11:33:25

1 Alternatives + Submit Alt

What Others Think

"strings" doesn't remove end of lines and discards lines with less than 4 characters by default: echo 123 | strings prints nothings.
seb1245 · 312 weeks and 3 days ago
"strings" doesn't remove end of lines and discards lines with less than 4 characters by default: echo 123 | strings prints nothings.
seb1245 · 312 weeks and 3 days ago
"strings" doesn't remove end of lines and discards lines with less than 4 characters by default: echo 123 | strings prints nothings.
seb1245 · 312 weeks and 3 days ago
The minimum can be altered with -1, I'll add this. You are right as the newlines stay. Then the description here is wrong and it's no real alternative to your tr command. I changed this, thanks. As the man page says, "strings is mainly useful for determining the contents of non-text files".
Testuser_01 · 312 weeks and 3 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this?

commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands



Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.

» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu3
» http://twitter.com/commandlinefu10

Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: