cut - select portions of each line of a file


cut -b list [-n] [file ...]

cut -c list [file ...]

cut -f list [-d delim] [-s] [file ...]


The cut utility selects portions of each line (as specified by list) from each file (or the standard input by default), and writes them to the standard output. The items specified by list can be in terms of column position or in terms of fields delimited by a special character. Column numbering starts from 1.

list is a comma- or whitespace-separated set of increasing numbers and/or number ranges. Number ranges consist of a number, a dash ('-'), and a second number and select the fields or columns from the first number to the second, inclusive. Numbers or number ranges may be preceded by a dash, which selects all fields or columns from 1 to the first number. Numbers or number ranges may be followed by a dash, which selects all fields or columns from the last number to the end of the line. Numbers and number ranges may be repeated, overlapping, and in any order. It is not an error to select fields or columns not present in the input line.


cut accepts the following options:

-b list

The list specifies byte positions.

-c list

The list specifies character positions.

-d string

Use the first character of string as the field delimiter character instead of the tab character.

-f list

The list specifies fields, delimited in the input by a single tab character. Output fields are separated by a single tab character.


Do not split multi-byte characters.


Suppresses lines with no field delimiter characters. Unless specified, lines with no delimiters are passed through unmodified.


cut does not understand multibyte characters; the -c and -b options function identically, and -n does nothing.


This cut implementation is compatible with the OpenBSD implementation.


The Perl implementation of cut was written by Rich Lafferty,


This program is free and open software. You may use, copy, modify, distribute and sell this program (and any modified variants) in any way you wish, provided you do not restrict others to do the same.