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Linux / UNIX: Sed Replace Newline

How do I replace newline (\n) with sed under UNIX / Linux operating systems?

You can use the following sed command:

sed '{:q;N;s/\n//g;t q}' /path/to/data.txt

You can replace newline (\n) with * character or word ‘FOO’:

sed '{:q;N;s/\n/*/g;t q}' /path/to/data.txt


sed '{:q;N;s/\n/FOO/g;t q}' /path/to/data.txt

OR replace it with tab (\t):

sed '{:q;N;s/\n/\t/g;t q}' /path/to/data.txt

To update file use -i option:

sed -i '{:q;N;s/\n/\t/g;t q}' /path/to/data.txt
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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • jalal hajigholamali August 3, 2011, 4:04 pm

    very nice example

  • Claudio October 28, 2011, 9:25 pm

    It doesnt work for me :(

    $ sed ‘{:q;N;s/\n/\t/g;t q}’ /fi/fa/foo.fu
    sed: 1: “{:q;N;s/\n/\t/g;t q}”: unexpected EOF (pending }’s)

  • Harry Phillips March 27, 2013, 5:12 am

    Doesn’t work for me in Cygwin, if there are 17 lines the first line has 16 of the replacement, line 2 will have 15 etc until the last line does not have the replacement.

  • Harry Phillips March 27, 2013, 5:17 am

    Simpler way to replace the end of the line:

    sed ‘s/$/FOO/’ /path/to/data.txt

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