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SORT(1) User Commands SORT(1)


sort - sort lines of text files


sort [OPTION]... [FILE]...
sort [OPTION]... --files0-from=F


Write sorted concatenation of all FILE(s) to standard output.

With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too. Ordering options:

ignore leading blanks
consider only blanks and alphanumeric characters
fold lower case to upper case characters
compare according to general numerical value
consider only printable characters
compare (unknown) < 'JAN' < ... < 'DEC'
compare human readable numbers (e.g., 2K 1G)
compare according to string numerical value
shuffle, but group identical keys. See shuf(1)
get random bytes from FILE
reverse the result of comparisons
sort according to WORD: general-numeric -g, human-numeric -h, month -M, numeric -n, random -R, version -V
natural sort of (version) numbers within text

Other options:

merge at most NMERGE inputs at once; for more use temp files
check for sorted input; do not sort
like -c, but do not report first bad line
compress temporaries with PROG; decompress them with PROG -d
annotate the part of the line used to sort, and warn about questionable usage to stderr
read input from the files specified by NUL-terminated names in file F; If F is - then read names from standard input
sort via a key; KEYDEF gives location and type
merge already sorted files; do not sort
write result to FILE instead of standard output
stabilize sort by disabling last-resort comparison
use SIZE for main memory buffer
use SEP instead of non-blank to blank transition
use DIR for temporaries, not $TMPDIR or /tmp; multiple options specify multiple directories
change the number of sorts run concurrently to N
with -c, check for strict ordering; without -c, output only the first of an equal run
line delimiter is NUL, not newline
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

KEYDEF is F[.C][OPTS][,F[.C][OPTS]] for start and stop position, where F is a field number and C a character position in the field; both are origin 1, and the stop position defaults to the line's end. If neither -t nor -b is in effect, characters in a field are counted from the beginning of the preceding whitespace. OPTS is one or more single-letter ordering options [bdfgiMhnRrV], which override global ordering options for that key. If no key is given, use the entire line as the key. Use --debug to diagnose incorrect key usage.

SIZE may be followed by the following multiplicative suffixes: % 1% of memory, b 1, K 1024 (default), and so on for M, G, T, P, E, Z, Y, R, Q.

*** WARNING *** The locale specified by the environment affects sort order. Set LC_ALL=C to get the traditional sort order that uses native byte values.


Written by Mike Haertel and Paul Eggert.


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Copyright © 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


shuf(1), uniq(1)

Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) sort invocation'

March 2024 GNU coreutils 9.4