Bash: Append to File
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When working with Bash, there might be times when you need to append text to a file. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to accomplish this task. This article explains some of them.
To append text to a file, you need to have write permissions to it. Otherwise, you will receive a permission denied error.
Append to a File using the Redirection Operator (
Redirection allows you to capture the output from a command and send it as input to another command or file. The
>> redirection operator appends the output to a given file.
There are a number of commands that you can use to print text to the standard output and redirect it to the file. The two most commonly used commands for this purpose are
To append text to a file, run the command that prints the text and specify the name of the file after the redirection operator:
echo "this is a new line" >> file.txt
When used with the
-e option, the
command interprets the backslash-escaped characters such as newline
echo -e "this is a new line \nthis is another new line" >> file.txt
To produce more complex output, you can use the
command, which allows you to specify the formatting of the output:
printf "Hello, I'm %s.\n" $USER >> file.txt
Another way to append text to a file is to use the Here document (Heredoc). It is a type of redirection that allows you to pass multiple lines of input to a command.
For instance, you can pass the content to the
command and append it to a file:
cat << EOF >> file.txt
The current working directory is: $PWD
You are logged in as: $(whoami)
You can append the output of any command to a file. Here is an example with the
date +"Year: %Y, Month: %m, Day: %d" >> file.txt
When appending to a file using a redirection, be careful not to use the
> operator to overwrite an important existing file.
Append to a File using the
tee is a Linux command-line utility that reads from the standard input and writes to both standard output and one or more files at the same time.
By default, the
tee command overwrites the specified file. To append the output to the file use
tee with the
echo "this is a new line" | tee -a file.txt
If you don’t want
tee to write to the standard output, redirect it to
echo "this is a new line" | tee -a file.txt >/dev/null
The advantage of using the
tee command over the
>> operator is that
tee allows you to simultaneously append text to multiple files and write to files owned by other users in conjunction with
To append text to a file that you don’t have write permissions to, prepend
tee as shown below:
echo "this is a new line" | sudo tee -a file.txt
tee receives the output of the
echo command, elevates the sudo permissions, and writes to the file.
To append text to more than one file, specify the files as arguments to the
echo "this is a new line" | tee -a file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt
If you’re working with Linux and need to add some text to an existing file, you have a couple of options. One way is to use the
>> redirection operator, which will append the text to the end of the file without overwriting any existing content. Another option is to use the
tee command, which not only appends the text to the file, but also displays it on the screen as it’s being added.
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.