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Extact fields from a file

Project description


field - extract fields from a file


field [-h] [-f FILE] [-d DELIMITER] [FIELD ...]


field extracts a list of fields from a file. It is a simpler version of:

awk '{ print $5,$3,$1; }'

and similar scripts. Whitespace delimited (space and tab) fields are read from stdin and written to stdout.

FIELD is assumed to be 1-indexed integer, separated by commas and/or spaces, and take the following form:

N a single field.

N-M a range of increasing or decreasing fields from N to M.

-h, –help

show concise list of options and exit


display version information and exit

-f, –file FILE

an explicit file to extract fields

-d, –delimiter DELIMITER

character delimiter between fields


Field was written to address two short comings of cut:

  1. Default Behavior

    The default delimiter of cut is tab. Most command line utilities produce output delimited by whitespace, which includes spaces. Field takes this into account and defaults the delimiter to both tab and space characters.

  2. Field Ordering

    Fields extracted by cut are not listed in the order they are passed.


$ mount | field 5 3 1
ext4 / /dev/mapper/sda7_crypt
proc /proc proc
sysfs /sys sysfs
$ ls -l /usr/local/bin/ | field 1 9
-rwxr-xr-x airbrake*
-rwxr-xr-x bayes.rb*
-rwxr-xr-x bourbon*
$ cat /etc/mtab | cut -d' ' -f 4 | field -d',' 1 4 3 2
rw gid=5 nosuid noexec
rw size=10% nosuid noexec
rw nodev nosuid noexec
rw user=root nodev nosuid


Written by Trevor Bramwell.



  • field arguments can be now be listed as either a single field, or an increasing or decreasing range.

  • Manpage included with package.

  • Added -v, --version option for displaying version and license information.

  • Changed -h, --help option to display better usage and include license.


  • Initial Release

  • fields can be extracted from stdin or explicit files.

  • Added -f, --file, -d, --delimiter, and -h, --help options.

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