This article will show you how to display command output or a file content in a column format to clarify and demonstrate the output.
We can use the column utility to transform standard input or a file content into tabular form of multiple columns, for a much clear output.
Display output in column format
We have a file called name.txt which contains a list of random names with their location and the id.
So view it with cat command
- Use the column command to display a clear and demonstrated output as shown below.
“-t “:to determine the number of columns the input contains and creates a table .
“-s” to specify a delimiter character.
cat names.txt | column -t -s "|"
- Also you can demonstrate the /etc/passwd file
- Make sure that you are using the right delimiter which here is “:”
cat /etc/passwd | column -t -s ":"
NOTE: rows are filled before columns by default, to fill columns before filling rows use the -x switch and to instruct column command consider empty lines, include the -e flag.
- Another example with mount command to demonstrate its output.
mount | column -t
- You can see more info by displaying the man page of column
In this short guide, we illustrated how to display command output or file contents in column format.