Print every Nth line

function every() { N=$1; S=1; [ "${N:0:1}" = '-' ] && N="${N:1}" || S=0; sed -n "$S~${N}p"; }
Sometimes commands give you too much feedback. Perhaps 1/100th might be enough. If so, every() is for you. my_verbose_command | every 100 will print every 100th line of output. Specifically, it will print lines 100, 200, 300, etc If you use a negative argument it will print the *first* of a block, my_verbose_command | every -100 It will print lines 1, 101, 201, 301, etc The function wraps up this useful sed snippet: ... | sed -n '0~100p' don't print anything by default sed -n starting at line 0, then every hundred lines ( ~100 ) print. '0~100p' There's also some bash magic to test if the number is negative: we want character 0, length 1, of variable N. ${N:0:1} If it *is* negative, strip off the first character ${N:1} is character 1 onwards (second actual character).
Sample Output
$ seq 100 | every 10
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100

$ seq 100 | every -10
1
11
21
31
41
51
61
71
81
91

1
By: flatcap
2015-03-21 23:44:59

1 Alternatives + Submit Alt

  • Thanks to knoppix5 for the idea :-) Print selected lines from a file or the output of a command. Usage: every NTH MAX [FILE] Print every NTH line (from the first MAX lines) of FILE. If FILE is omitted, stdin is used. The command simply passes the input to a sed script: sed -n -e "${2}q" -e "0~${1}p" ${3:-/dev/stdin} print no output sed -n quit after this many lines (controlled by the second parameter) -e "${2}q" print every NTH line (controlled by the first parameter) -e "0~${1}p" take input from $3 (if it exists) otherwise use /dev/stdin {3:-/dev/stdin} Show Sample Output


    2
    function every() { sed -n -e "${2}q" -e "0~${1}p" ${3:-/dev/stdin}; }
    flatcap · 2015-04-03 01:30:36 4

What Others Think

every() { c=$1;for a in $(seq 1 $c $2);do head -$a $3|tail -1;done } every 20 500 file.txt # prints every 20-th from 1 to 500 lines of file file.txt However, could not find an easy way to apply this to output of verbose commands. Maybe eats resources too.
knoppix5 · 181 weeks and 4 days ago
@knoppix5 Hmm... 'head' needs fresh input each loop. The only solution I can think of is to store the input, but that starts getting complicated. As for the efficiency, I agree it's going to be horrendous. 'head' has to read progressively more and more of the file.
flatcap · 181 weeks and 4 days ago
This is a cleaner way to print every 100 lines: awk 'NR%100==0' filename.txt
galaxywatcher · 179 weeks and 6 days ago
Cleaner? Perhaps, but that's because it's not as versatile as the original command :-) It's equivalent to the core: sed -n '0~10p' FILENAME To match my command, you need: every() { N=$1; S=1; [ "${N:0:1}" = '-' ] && N="${N:1}" || S=0; awk "NR%$N==$S"; }
flatcap · 179 weeks and 6 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?

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