fold: Wrap Text File / Line / Words To Fit in Specified Width

by on November 25, 2008 · 2 comments· LAST UPDATED November 25, 2008

in , ,

fold is really nifty command line utility to make a text file word wrap. This is useful for large number of text files processing. There is no need to write a perl / python code or use a word processor.

fold command syntax

fold -sw {COUNT} {input.txt} > {output.txt}

Wrap input lines in each input.txt, writing to standard output.txt.


  • -s: break at spaces
  • -w: {COUNT} use COUN} as WIDTH columns instead of default 80.

For example, following command will wrap input.txt at 60 width columns:
$ fold -sw 60 input.txt > output.txt

A large number of files can be processed using for shell loop:

for i in *.txt
  fold -sw 65 $i > $i.output
TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kevin August 19, 2009 at 8:00 am

Ah, this is great for grepping through a corpus of longlines-text, gzcat corpus.txt.gz | fold | grep foo


2 reikred April 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I wish fold had an option no to fold lines unless they contain whitespace that provide a natural folding point.

The -s option helps some, but fold will still spli a long URL, for example, when I might not want that.

Perhaps a perl-based fold script is in order….


Leave a Comment

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

Previous post:

Next post: