General Information

AWK is a pattern scanning and processing language. Gawk is the GNU Project's implementation of the AWK programming language.

In most cases, awk is a symlink to gawk.


  • Distro(s): Any
  • Software: awk/gawk installed

General Awk Variables

  • -F“:” ⇒ Set the field seperator to colon (:), instead of spaces (default).
    • This can be set to any character
  • $0 ⇒ The entire line (excluding new line at the end)
  • $1 - $number ⇒ The fields
  • NF ⇒ Number of fields on the current line
  • NR ⇒ Current line number

gawk's gsub string function matches and replaces regular expressions. This can replace a grep | sed combination.

~$ echo -e "Hello, friend.\nHello, how are you?\nI am fine." | gawk 'gsub(/Hello/,"Goodbye")'
Goodbye, friend.
Goodbye, how are you?

Notice that the last line “I am fine.” is not displayed at all because it doesn't match the regex. (Hello)

Bash doesn't have a really good way to compare floating point numbers. (Such as version numbers) This can be done very well with gawk.

Check to see if VERSION is >= to 3.5.3

echo | gawk -v n1=${VERSION} -v n2=3.5.3  '{if (n1>=n2) print ("true"); else print ("false");}'

Search for a regex string and print the line AFTER the match.

awk '/mystring/ { getline; print }'
  • mystring ⇒ regex string to search for
  • getline ⇒ set the line $0 to the next line
  • print ⇒ print the line

This trick allows you to search for a regex string, and print the line BEFORE the match.

FreeIPA Example: I want to get only enabled account usernames.

  1. Find users and account disabled status
    /usr/bin/ipa user-find --sizelimit=0 --all | grep -E "(User login|Account disabled)"
    User login: rjones
    Account disabled: False
    User login: sanderson
    Account disabled: True
  2. Narrow it down to just usernames and True/False values
    /usr/bin/ipa user-find --sizelimit=0 --all | grep -E "(User login|Account disabled)" | awk '{print $3}'
  3. Add in the awk magic that will display ONLY the username with “False” after it (Not Disabled)
    /usr/bin/ipa user-find --sizelimit=0 --all | grep -E "(User login|Account disabled)" | awk '{print $3}' | awk '/False/ { print x }; { x=$0 }'


  • If the current line matches the regular expression “False” (“/False/”), then
    • Print the value of x (“{ print x }”).
  • Next, store the current line in the variable “x” (“{ x=$0 }”) (Always do this; Does not matter if it matches)
    • This has the effect of making the previous line available when evaluating the next line.
      • Note: This will not work if the very first line matches the pattern, as x will not contain any lines yet.

  • linux_wiki/awk.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/05/25 23:50
  • (external edit)