GREP(1) BSD General Commands Manual GREP(1)NAMEgrep — file pattern searcher
SYNOPSISgrep [-bchilnosvw] [-e pattern] [file ...]
egrep [-bchilnosv] [-e pattern] [-f pattern_file] [file ...]
fgrep [-bchilnosvx] [-e pattern] [-f pattern_file] [file ...]
The grep utilities search the given input files selecting lines which
match one or more patterns; the type of patterns is controlled by the
options specified. By default, a pattern matches an input line if any
regular expression (RE) in the pattern matches the input line without its
trailing <new-line>. A null RE matches every line. Each input line that
matches at least one of the patterns is written to the standard output.
For simple patterns or ex(1) or ed(1) style regular expressions, the grep
utility is used. The egrep utility can handle extended regular expres‐
sions and embedded <newline>s in patterns. The fgrep utility is quick
but can handle only fixed strings. A fixed string is a string of charac‐
ters, each character is matched only by itself. The pattern value can
consist of multiple lines with embedded <newline>s. In this case, the
<newline>s act as alternation characters, allowing any of the pattern
lines to match a portion of the input.
The following options are available:
-b The block number on the disk in which a matched pattern is
located is displayed in front of the respective matched line.
-c Only a count of selected lines is written to standard output.
Specify a pattern used during the search of the input. Multiple
-e options can be used to specify multiple patterns; an input
line is selected if it matches any of the specified patterns.
The pattern is read from the file named by the pathname pat‐
tern_file. Trailing newlines in the pattern_file are ignored.
(Egrep and fgrep only).
-h Never print filename headers with output lines.
-i The case of letters is ignored in making comparisons - that is,
upper and lower case are considered identical.
-l Only the names of files containing selected lines are written to
standard output. Pathnames are listed once per file searched.
If the standard input is searched, the pathname ‘-’ is written.
-n Each output line is preceded by its relative line number in the
file; each file starting at line 1. The line number counter is
reset for each file processed. This option is ignored if -c, -l,
or -s is specified.
-o Always print filename headers with output lines.
-s Silent mode. Nothing is printed (except error messages). This
is useful for checking the error status.
-v Selected lines are those not matching the specified patterns.
-x Only input lines selected against an entire fixed string or regu‐
lar expression are considered to be matching lines. (Fgrep
-w The expression is searched for as a word (as if surrounded by
`\<' and `\>', see ex(1).) (Grep only)
If no file arguments are specified, the standard input is used.
The grep utility exits with one of the following values:
0 One or more lines were selected.
1 No lines were selected.
>1 An error occurred.
EXTENDED REGULAR EXPRESSIONS
The following characters are interpreted by egrep:
$ Align the match from the end of the line.
^ Align the match from the beginning of the line.
| Add another pattern (see example below).
? Match 1 or less sequential repetitions of the pattern.
+ Match 1 or more sequential repetitions of the pattern.
* Match 0 or more sequential repetitions of the pattern.
 Match any single character or range of characters enclosed in the
\ Escape special characters which have meaning to egrep, the set of
To find all occurrences of the word patricia in a file:
grep patricia myfile
To find all occurrences of the pattern ‘.Pp’ at the beginning of a line:
The apostrophes assure the entire expression is evaluated by grep instead
of by the users shell. The carat or hat ‘^’ means from the beginning of
a line, and the ‘\’ escapes the ‘.’ which would otherwise match any char‐
A simple example of an extended regular expression:
egrep '19|20|25' calendar
Peruses the file calendar looking for either 19, 20 or 25.
SEE ALSOed(1), ex(1), sed(1)HISTORY
The grep command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
Lines are limited to 256 characters; longer lines are truncated.
BSD April 18, 1994 BSD