grep command is the de facto tool for searching text files. However when there are too many matches, it can be difficult to find the requested text in the search results. grep comes with –color=’auto’ option. It surrounds the matching string with the colour, thus resulting enhanced output.
Finding string with color highlighting
Pass –color option to grep command:
# grep --color='auto' -i error /var/log/messages
............ ... Oct 9 16:12:14 vivek-desktop kernel: [ 11.555442] bt878: probe of 0000:05:00.1 failed with error -22 Oct 10 17:35:28 vivek-desktop kernel: [ 10.564710] bt878: probe of 0000:05:00.1 failed with error -22 Oct 11 10:15:34 vivek-desktop kernel: [ 12.187477] bt878: probe of 0000:05:00.1 failed with error -22 Oct 11 14:29:56 vivek-desktop kernel: [ 11.135309] bt878: probe of 0000:05:00.1 failed with error -22 .......... ... ....
Now all matched text displayed using red color. The –color option to matches in the input in red color by default. Color is added via ANSI escape sequences. To change color use environment variable GREP_COLOR. Following will set background to red and foreground to white:
$ export GREP_COLOR='1;37;41'
$ egrep --color=auto -i '(error|fatal|warn|drop)' /var/log/messages
I recommend putting following in ~/.bash_profile OR ~/.bashrc file:
$ vi ~/.bash_profile
Append following alias:
alias grep='grep --color=auto'
Save and close the file. Please note that –color option works with many GNU text utilities, so feel free to use the same.