Sed In Place Edit File


“In UNIX/Linux ecosystem, the sed command is a dedicated tool for editing streams, hence the name (stream editor). It receives text inputs as “streams” and plays the desired operations at the move.”

In this information, we can discover acting in-place record enhancing with sed.


To carry out the stairs demonstrated on this information, you’ll want the next elements:

Editing Stream Using sed

First, let’s have a temporary have a look at how sed operates. The command construction of sed is as follows:

$ sed choices> operations> move>

The following command showcases a easy workflow of sed:

$ echo “the quick brown fox” | sed -e ‘s/fast/speedy/’


    • The echo command prints the string on STDOUT. Learn extra about STDIN, STDOUT, and STDERR.
    • We’re piping the output to the sed Here, STDOUT is the move sed that can carry out the duty specified.
    • The sed command, as specified, will seek for any example of the phrase fast and change it with speedy. The resultant move shall be imprinted on the console.

What if we would have liked to change the texts of a textual content record? The sed command too can paintings the use of textual content information because the move. For demonstration, I’ve grabbed the next textual content record:


The following sed command will change all of the circumstances of the with da:

$ sed -e ‘s/the/da/g’ demo.txt


Check the content material of demo.txt for adjustments:


From the remaining instance, we will see that sed handiest revealed the ensuing move at the console. The supply record (demo.txt) wasn’t touched.

Editing Files In-place Using sed

As demonstrated from the former instance, the default motion of sed is to print the modified content material at the display screen. It’s a super characteristic that may save you unintentional adjustments to information. However, if we would have liked to avoid wasting the adjustments to the record, we would have liked to supply some further choices.

A easy and not unusual method can be changing the content material of the record with the sed output. Have a have a look at the next command:

$ cat demo.txt | sed ‘s/the/da/g’ | tee demo.txt


Here, we’re overwriting the contents of demo.txt with the output from the sed command.

While the command purposes as supposed, it calls for typing further codes. We concerned the cat and tee instructions in conjunction with the sed command. Bash could also be all in favour of redirecting the outputs. Thus, the command is extra resource-intensive than it must be.

To resolve this, we will use the in-place edit characteristic of sed. In this mode, sed will alternate the contents of the record immediately. To invoke the in-place edit mode, we need to use the -i or –in-place flag. The following sed command implements it:

$ sed –in-place -e ‘s/the/da/g’ demo.txt


Check demo.txt for adjustments:


As you’ll see, the record contents are modified with out including any further elements.

Final Thoughts

In this information, we effectively demonstrated acting in-place edits on textual content information the use of sed. While sed itself is an easy program, the primary supply of energy lies inside of its talent to include common expressions. Regex permits describing very advanced patterns that sed acts upon. Check out regex in sed to be told extra in-depth.

Alternatively, you’ll use Bash scripts to clear out and adjust the contents of a record. In truth, you’ll incorporate sed on your scripts to fine-tune textual content content material. Check out this information on getting began with Bash scripting.

Happy computing!

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