How To Save The Output Of A Linux/Unix Command To A File

I am new Linux and Unix-like system user who recently switched from MS-Windows XP. How do I save the output of a Linux / Unix ls command to a file named “lists.txt” using command prompt or POSIX shell such as SH/KSH/BASH?

Tutorial details
Difficulty level Easy
Root privileges No
Requirements Linux, macOS, Unix-like OS
Est. reading time 3 minutes
The Bash / KSH and POSIX shell provides a file redirection option to redirect the output of commands to a file using the following two operators:
  1. > is output redirection symbol.
  2. >> is append output redirection symbol.

Syntax to save the output of a command to a file

The syntax is:

command > filename

Example: Saving the date command output to a file called output.txt

In this example, save the output of date command to a file called output.txt:
$ date > output.txt

Example: Running Unix/Linux command and saving output to a file

Please note that file-lists.txt file is created if it doesn’t exist. And if file file-lists.txt file is overwritten if it exits.

Feel free to replace command with the command you want to run on Linux/Unix and filename with the file to which you want to save (direct) the output. For example, run ls command and store its output the file called “file-lists.txt”:

ls -l /bin > file-lists.txt

To see the contents of file-list.txt, use cat command as follows:

cat file-lists.txt

OR use NA command as follows for the same purpose:

more file-lists.txt

Sample outputs:

Animated gif. 01: Saving output of date and ls commands to a text file

Example: grep text and save to a file

You can use grep command to scan log files and save to a file. In this example, I am going to search/scan a log file called /var/log/httpd/access_log for spammer IP address ‘’ and save to a file called spam-log.txt:

 # command must be run as root #
grep '' /var/log/httpd/access_log  > /root/spam-log.txt

If your log file is too large, run a job (grep command) in the background with an ampersand (&) as follows:

 # command must be run as root #
grep '' /var/log/httpd/access_log  > /root/spam-log.txt &

Syntax to save and append the output of a command to a file

The > operator always overwrite existing output files. To append the output of a command to the same file use >> operator as follows:
command >> filename
In this example run two commands called date and who and save output to the same file called demo.txt:

echo "Test" > demo.txt
## Append to same file ##
echo "A log file by $USER on $HOSTNAME" >> demo.txt
who >> demo.txt
cat demo.txt

Sample outputs:

Animated gif 02: Unix/Linux: Bash shell append command output to a file

Syntax to redirection of both standard error and output to a file

The basic syntax is as follows for redirection of both standard error and output on bash/ksh or POSIX shell:

command-name &>filename
## POSIX syntax ##
command-name >cmd.log 2>&1

🐧 Get the latest tutorials on Linux, Open Source & DevOps via RSS feed or Weekly email newsletter.

🐧 7 comments so far... add one

CategoryList of Unix and Linux commands
Disk space analyzersdf duf ncdu pydf
File Managementcat cp mkdir tree
FirewallAlpine Awall CentOS 8 OpenSUSE RHEL 8 Ubuntu 16.04 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Modern utilitiesbat exa
Network UtilitiesNetHogs dig host ip nmap
OpenVPNCentOS 7 CentOS 8 Debian 10 Debian 8/9 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Package Managerapk apt
Processes Managementbg chroot cron disown fg glances gtop jobs killall kill pidof pstree pwdx time vtop
Searchingag grep whereis which
User Informationgroups id lastcomm last lid/libuser-lid logname members users whoami who w
WireGuard VPNAlpine CentOS 8 Debian 10 Firewall Ubuntu 20.04
7 comments… add one
  • Maryann Grubber Apr 26, 2016 @ 19:36

    Thank you. I have been trying to save files for a machine transfer and trying not to duplicate. Wanted lists to compare and had forgotten how.mUch appreciated.

  • Haw May 12, 2016 @ 15:28

    Please add the tee command as well. Useful for interactive commands.

  • Inukaze Jun 4, 2016 @ 19:29

    Ok for example i wanna set slapd password under ubuntu 10.04 server


    sudo slappasswd > testpass

    But i can’t see when i put the password , i just need the last line of the command output to be redirected to a new file . how i can make it ???

  • DoB Sep 29, 2016 @ 15:08

    How can I store output of a command in a text file tab delimited way.

  • Anonymous Oct 6, 2020 @ 7:49

    Could you show how the error and output can save in the file and at the same time in the linux window(kernel)? However, the explanation is really useful.

  • Maia Wise Apr 7, 2021 @ 12:29

    Helpful page. Worked perfectly on macOS with Apple Silicon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Use HTML <pre>...</pre> for code samples. Still have questions? Post it on our forum