Technology Insights

cut – Represent A Tab As The Delimiter With Linux cut Command

I have been using the cut command a lot recently to shed extra data from large text files. I typically use cut with a specific delimiter by activating the -d switch and I thought that the -d switch was required. It turns out that -d is not required and by default -d actually defaults to the delimiter being a tab. When you need to have a tab as the delimiter for cut you simply don’t specify the -d switch. Below I show a couple examples of a file trimmed down using cut with and without the -d switch as well as another way to convert tabs in a file to spaces which then will allow you to use the Linux cut command with the -d” ” switch.