Unix / Linux Shell: Get Third Field Separated by Forward Slash (/) Delimiter

Posted on in Categories last updated April 29, 2012

I‘m writing a shell script for automation purpose. The output the path of the current working directory is stored in $PWD or it can be obtained using the pwd command. How do I find out find out 3rd field separated by the forward slash (/) delimiter using $PWD under Unix like operating systems?

You can display selected parts of lines from each FILE or shell variable using any standard Unix command line utility.

cut Command Example

You can use the cut command as follows:

var="/home/vivek/foo/bar"
cut -d/ -f4 <<<"${var}"

To get the sample value from a shell variable called $PWD, enter:

cut -d/ -f4 <<<"${PWD}"

OR

value=$(cut -d/ -f4 <<<"${PWD}")
echo "$value"

You can replace the variable name with the file name:

cut -d/ -f4 /path/to/file.name

Where,

  1. -d/ : use / for field delimiter.
  2. -f4 : Select only fourth field. Also print any line that contains no delimiter character, unless the -s option is specified.

awk Command Example

awk is a pattern scanning and text processing language. The syntax is as follows:

var="/home/vivek/foo/bar"
awk -F/ '{ print $4}' <<<"${var}"

OR

value=$(awk -F/ '{ print $4}' <<<"${PWD}")
echo "$value"

You can replace the variable name with the file name:

awk -F/ '{ print $4}' /path/to/file.txt

Where,

  1. -F/ : sets the field separator, FS, to /.

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+.

8 comment

  1. Well, it’s somewhat blurry why exactly the 3rd component required. If it’s about getting parent directory of the current directory it can be solved as follows:

    $ basename `dirname $PWD`
    

    Of course there is a lot of ways to do that, but the cut(1) and awk(1) IMHO the most straightforward ones. Thanks!

    In case of need the following prints exactly the “3rd” component in pure shell:

    $ ( IFS=/ ; p="/home/vivek/foo/bar" ; set -- $p ; echo $4 )
    foo
    

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