January 17, 2019

Back to Basics: Sort and Uniq

Learn the fundamentals of sorting and de-duplicating text on the command line.

If you've been using the command line for a long time, it's easy to take the commands you use every day for granted. But, if you're new to the Linux command line, there are several commands that make your life easier that you may not stumble upon automatically. In this article, I cover the basics of two commands that are essential in anyone's arsenal: sort and uniq.

The sort command does exactly what it says: it takes text data as input and outputs sorted data. There are many scenarios on the command line when you may need to sort output, such as the output from a command that doesn't offer sorting options of its own (or the sort arguments are obscure enough that you just use the sort command instead). In other cases, you may have a text file full of data (perhaps generated with some other script), and you need a quick way to view it in a sorted form.

Let's start with a file named "test" that contains three lines:


Foo
Bar
Baz

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