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How to use the fold command: 2-Minute Linux Tips

Network World | Jan 13, 2022

In this Linux tip, learn how to use the fold command. It allows you to limit the length of lines when displaying a text file by "folding" long lines into smaller pieces and, of course, you can save the shortened lines into another file.

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Hi, this is Sandra Henry-Stocker, author of the “Unix as a Second Language” blog on NetworkWorld.
In this Linux tip, we’re going to look at the fold command. It allows you to limit the length of lines when displaying a text file by "folding" long lines into smaller pieces and, of course, you can save the shortened lines into another file. Here’s a file with a very long line:
The file just shown has only 2 lines and the second is wrapped around a couple times to the width of the terminal window.
By default, when we use the fold command, it breaks lines at 80 characters. So, if I fold it, I see this:
Notice that some words (like "listen") are broken into two pieces. To limit lines to 80 characters but prevent breaking words in this way, add a -s to ensure that the command breaks lines on spaces:
To both break lines on spaces and limit lines to 40 characters, you can use a command like this:
That’s your Linux tip for the fold command.
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