The cut command. A useful command in bash scripts you… | by Teri Radichel | Biting Bugs | April 2024


A useful command in bash scripts that you can use to analyze data

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When trying to parse errors and chunks of logs or information in bash scripts, I often find myself using cut. I thought I’d write a quick summary of how this command works here.

The cut command allows you to obtain a piece of string based on a delimiter. Here’s the gist of it.

A delimiter can be any character such as a comma. This is the character that separates the parts of the string you want to display in an on-screen display variable.

Let’s say you have a value like this:


The delimiter is the comma.

Let’s say you want to remove the “apples” from this chain.

Set the variable to the value:


Echo the value on screen:

echo $fruits

Add a pipe character after the echo command that allows us to send the output of this command to another command:

echo $fruits |

Now we will add the cut command to get the value after the first comma.

  • Add order (cut)
  • Add the delimiter by adding -d followed by the single character in quotes that is the delimiter.
  • Add -f which indicates the fields you want to return.
  • Add the field number (2) you want to return.
echo $fruits | cut -d "," -f2

What if you want to get the string “apples, bananas”? Well, you want fields 2 and three so:

cut -d "," -f2-3

But you can also just get all fields from 2 until the end.

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