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Exploring the cat Command in Linux

The Linux cat command is a simple yet powerful tool that can be used for a variety of tasks. It is used to concatenate and display the contents of one or more files, and is one of the most commonly used commands in the Linux command line. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the cat command and its various uses.

Basic Usage

The most basic usage of the cat command is to simply display the contents of a file. For example, to display the contents of a file called file.txt, you would use the following command:

cat file.txt

This will display the contents of the file on the screen. You can also use the cat command to display the contents of multiple files at once. For example, to display the contents of file1.txt and file2.txt, you would use the following command:

cat file1.txt file2.txt

This will concatenate the contents of the two files and display them on the screen.

Concatenating Files

Another common use for the cat command is to concatenate the contents of multiple files into a single file. This can be done using the > operator, which redirects the output of a command to a file. For example, to concatenate the contents of file1.txt and file2.txt into a new file called allfiles.txt, you would use the following command:

cat file1.txt file2.txt > allfiles.txt

This will create a new file called allfiles.txt that contains the contents of both file1.txt and file2.txt.

Creating New Files

The cat command can also be used to create new files. For example, to create a new file called newfile.txt and add some text to it, you can use the following command:

cat > newfile.txt

This will open an empty file called newfile.txt for you to edit. Once you are done editing, simply press CTRL + D to save and close the file.

6 Tips for Using the Linux cat Command

  1. Use the cat command to quickly view the contents of a file without having to open it in a text editor.
  2. Use the > operator to concatenate the contents of multiple files into a single file.
  3. Use the cat command to create new files from the command line.
  4. Use the cat command with the ls -l command to view the permissions of a file.
  5. Remember to use the CTRL + D to save and close a file when creating new files with the cat command.
  6. Use the tac command to display the contents of a file in reverse order.

There are other command line tools like less, more, tail and head which are comparable with cat and if you’re looking for something more advanced like a good code editor, then try Vim!

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