HowTo Display Text Files In a Shell Script

I am a new Unix user and learning bash shell scripting. How do I display a text file stored in /tmp directory in a shell script?

There are many ways to display a text file in a shell script. You can simply use the cat command and display back output on screen. Another option is to read a text file line by line and display back the output. In some cases you may need to store output to a variable and later display back on screen.
Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo


Task: Display output using the cat command

Following sample script displays contents of a file called /tmp/input.txt:

echo "*** File - $FILE contents ***"
cat $FILE

Task: Store a file output in a variable

Following sample script displays nameserver IPs:

OUT=$(awk '{ print $2 }' $FILE)
echo "*** Nameserver IP ***"
for ip in $OUT
   echo $ip

Task: Read a text file line-by-line

See our previous tutorial for more information:

  1. Linux/ UNIX: Read a File Line By Line
  2. Linux / Unix AWK: Read a Text File
  3. HowTo: Bash For While Loop Through File Contents Script
  4. Ksh Read a File Line By Line ( UNIX Scripting )
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6 comments… add one
  • shekar Nov 1, 2007 @ 12:30

    2nd option is good. If file is large, one can modify the script a bit to serve the purpose.

  • Palash Khan R. Dec 19, 2007 @ 21:25

    How to display certain part of a file? For example, I have a file myFile.Java and I would like to display the contents between lines 30-40. How to do that in linux? with cat?


  • mahesh Oct 16, 2013 @ 13:22

    I have 1 more Que.

    i want a shell script for identify mentioned string is file or directory if its a directory then display the contests of the same and if this is file show the content of file

  • NO CAT Aug 5, 2014 @ 20:25

    cat $FILE

    echo “$(<$FILE)"

    tee <$FILE

  • Sindhu May 18, 2016 @ 5:25

    I am a beginner in Linux /Unix and I want answer to the following question.
    Q. Write a shell script in Linux /Unix that accepts a text file as input and prints the number of words in the file which have at least one vowel as output.

  • Sindhu May 18, 2016 @ 5:28

    Please give me answer as soon as possible.

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