Shell Command / Script To Write Simple Output On Screen Under Linux and UNIX

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How do I simply write output from my shell script to the screen under Unix / Linux BASH shell?

Most modern shell such as bash, ksh and others comes with the echo and print in built commands. There is also printf (C like statement) command to format and display data on screen

echo command

All the parameters to the echo command are printed to the screen. For example:
echo "Hello World!"

You can add echo command to your shell script:

echo "Memory information"
free -m
echo "Disk information"
df -h

printf command

You can also use printf command as follows
printf "Hello world\n"
Or use in a script as follows:

print "Memory information\n"
free -m
printf "Disk information\n"
df -h


  • -n : It is a FORMAT controls the output as in C printf. \n is use to print new line.

More options

You can print a variable value with echo or printf command. First define a variable called DDAY:
Now print a variable using echo command:
echo "$DDAY"


Now print a variable using echo command:
printf "$DDAY\n"


You can combine a shell variable with statements or command itself:

echo "D-Day is on $DDAY"
echo "Today is $(date)"
echo "Linux version : $(uname -r)"

$(uname -r) and/or $(date) are examples of command substitution. It allows the output of a command to replace the command name. The syntax comes in two different forms:




Preserving white spacing (blank space)

When you want the output to preserve your spacing enclose output in double quote:
$ echo "This is a test and today is $(date)"
Do not use single quote for command substitution:
$ echo 'This is a test and today is $(date)'
Sample outputs:

This is a test and today is $(date)

For more information read man page of printf and echo by typing the following commands:
$ man echo
$ man printf
$ man bash
$ man ksh

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

10 comment

  1. How can a simple shell interface respont to the following commands
    1.Clr-Clear Screen
    2.quit-quits the screen
    3.echo prints the comments on the screen followed by a new line
    4.copy file1.txt,file2.txt.create a copy of file1.txt with a new name file2.txt

  2. Hi,
    I want to develop a script which will provide the details of user logged into the Unix apps and report should sent through mail.

    can anyone help me on this within 24hrs :(

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