column(1) — Linux manual page


COLUMN(1)                       User Commands                      COLUMN(1)

NAME         top

       column - columnate lists

SYNOPSIS         top

       column [options] [file...]

DESCRIPTION         top

       The column utility formats its input into multiple columns.  The util
       support three modes:

       columns are filled before rows
              This is the default mode (required by backward compatibility).

       rows are filled before columns
              This mode is enabled by option -x, --fillrows

       table  Determine the number of columns the input contains and create
              a table.  This mode is enabled by option -t, --table and
              columns formatting is possible to modify by --table-* options.
              Use this mode if not sure.

       Input is taken from file, or otherwise from standard input.  Empty
       lines are ignored and all invalid multibyte sequences are encoded by
       \x<hex> convention.

OPTIONS         top

       The argument columns for --table-* options is comma separated list of
       the column names as defined by --table-columns or it's column number
       in order as specified by input. It's possible to mix names and

       -J, --json
              Use JSON output format to print the table, the option
              --table-columns is required and the option --table-name is

       -c, --output-width width
              Output is formatted to a width specified as number of
              characters. The original name of this option is --columns;
              this name is deprecated since v2.30. Note that input longer
              than width is not truncated by default.

       -d, --table-noheadings
              Do not print header.  This option allows the use of logical
              column names on the command line, but keeps the header hidden
              when printing the table.

       -o, --output-separator string
              Specify the columns delimiter for table output (default is two

       -s, --separator separators
              Specify the possible input item delimiters (default is

       -t, --table
              Determine the number of columns the input contains and create
              a table.  Columns are delimited with whitespace, by default,
              or with the characters supplied using the --output-separator
              option.  Table output is useful for pretty-printing.

       -N, --table-columns names
              Specify the columns names by comma separated list of names.
              The names are used for the table header or to address column
              in option arguments.

       -l, --table-columns-limit number
              Specify maximal number of the input columns.  The last column
              will contain all remaining line data if the limit is smaller
              than the number of the columns in the input data.

       -R, --table-right columns
              Right align text in the specified columns.

       -T, --table-truncate columns
              Specify columns where text can be truncated when necessary,
              otherwise very long table entries may be printed on multiple

       -E, --table-noextreme columns
              Specify columns where is possible to ignore unusually long
              (longer than average) cells when calculate column width.  The
              option has impact to the width calculation and table
              formatting, but the printed text is not affected.

              The option is used for the last visible column by default.

       -e, --table-header-repeat
              Print header line for each page.

       -W, --table-wrap columns
              Specify columns where is possible to use multi-line cell for
              long text when necessary.

       -H, --table-hide columns
              Don't print specified columns. The special placeholder '-' may
              be used to hide all unnamed columns (see --table-columns).

       -O, --table-order columns
              Specify columns order on output.

       -n, --table-name name
              Specify the table name used for JSON output. The default is

       -L, --table-empty-lines
              Insert empty line to the table for each empty line on input.
              The default is ignore empty lines at all.

       -r, --tree column
              Specify column to use tree-like output. Note that the circular
              dependencies and other anomalies in child and parent relation
              are silently ignored.

       -i, --tree-id column
              Specify column with line ID to create child-parent relation.

       -p, --tree-parent column
              Specify column with parent ID to create child-parent relation.

       -x, --fillrows
              Fill rows before filling columns.

       -V, --version
              Display version information and exit.

       -h, --help
              Display help text and exit.

ENVIRONMENT         top

       The environment variable COLUMNS is used to determine the size of the
       screen if no other information is available.

HISTORY         top

       The column command appeared in 4.3BSD-Reno.

BUGS         top

       Version 2.23 changed the -s option to be non-greedy, for example:

       printf "a:b:c\n1::3\n" | column -t -s ':'

       Old output:
       a  b  c
       1  3

       New output (since util-linux 2.23):
       a  b  c
       1     3

       Historical versions of this tool indicated that "rows are filled
       before columns" by default, and that the -x option reverses this.
       This wording did not reflect the actual behavior, and it has since
       been corrected (see above). Other implementations of column may con‐
       tinue to use the older documentation, but the behavior should be
       identical in any case.

EXAMPLES         top

       Print fstab with header line and align number to the right:
       sed 's/#.*//' /etc/fstab | column --table --table-columns SOURCE,TARGET,TYPE,OPTIONS,PASS,FREQ --table-right PASS,FREQ

       Print fstab and hide unnamed columns:
       sed 's/#.*//' /etc/fstab | column --table --table-columns SOURCE,TARGET,TYPE --table-hide -

       Print a tree:
       echo -e '1 0 A\n2 1 AA\n3 1 AB\n4 2 AAA\n5 2 AAB' | column --tree-id 1 --tree-parent 2 --tree 3
       1  0  A
       2  1  |-AA
       4  2  | |-AAA
       5  2  | `-AAB
       3  1  `-AB

SEE ALSO         top

       colrm(1), ls(1), paste(1), sort(1)

AVAILABILITY         top

       The column command is part of the util-linux package and is available

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the util-linux (a random collection of Linux
       utilities) project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a
       bug report for this manual page, send it to  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨git://⟩ on
       2020-09-18.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2020-09-15.)  If you discover any
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util-linux                      February 2019                      COLUMN(1)

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