Linux Commands Examples

A great documentation place for Linux commands


format and print data



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Print ARGUMENT(s) according to FORMAT, or execute according to OPTION:


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

FORMAT controls the output as in C printf. Interpreted sequences are:


double quote




alert (BEL)




produce no further output




form feed


new line


carriage return


horizontal tab


vertical tab


byte with octal value NNN (1 to 3 digits)


byte with hexadecimal value HH (1 to 2 digits)


Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646) character with hex value HHHH (4 digits)


Unicode character with hex value HHHHHHHH (8 digits)


a single %


ARGUMENT as a string with ’\’ escapes interpreted, except that octal escapes are of the form \0 or \0NNN

and all C format specifications ending with one of diouxXfeEgGcs, with ARGUMENTs converted to proper type first. Variable widths are handled.

NOTE: your shell may have its own version of printf, which usually supersedes the version described here. Please refer to your shell’s documentation for details about the options it supports.


Copyright © 2012 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.

reporting bugs

Report printf bugs to bug-coreutils[:at:]gnu[:dot:]org
GNU coreutils home page: <>
General help using GNU software: <>
Report printf translation bugs to <>

see also


The full documentation for printf is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and printf programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info coreutils 'printf invocation'

should give you access to the complete manual.


Written by David MacKenzie.

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