sort Man page

SORT(1) User Commands SORT(1)


sort – sort lines of text files


sort [OPTION]… [FILE]…
sort [OPTION]… –files0-from=F


Write sorted concatenation of all FILE(s) to standard output.

With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options
too. Ordering options:

-b, –ignore-leading-blanks
ignore leading blanks

-d, –dictionary-order
consider only blanks and alphanumeric characters

-f, –ignore-case
fold lower case to upper case characters

-g, –general-numeric-sort
compare according to general numerical value

-i, –ignore-nonprinting
consider only printable characters

-M, –month-sort
compare (unknown) < 'JAN' < ... < 'DEC' -h, --human-numeric-sort compare human readable numbers (e.g., 2K 1G) -n, --numeric-sort compare according to string numerical value -R, --random-sort shuffle, but group identical keys. See shuf

get random bytes from FILE

-r, –reverse
reverse the result of comparisons

sort according to WORD: general-numeric -g, human-numeric -h,
month -M, numeric -n, random -R, version -V

-V, –version-sort
natural sort of (version) numbers within text

Other options:

merge at most NMERGE inputs at once; for more use temp files

-c, –check, –check=diagnose-first
check for sorted input; do not sort

-C, –check=quiet, –check=silent
like -c, but do not report first bad line

compress temporaries with PROG; decompress them with PROG -d

annotate the part of the line used to sort, and warn about ques‐
tionable usage to stderr

read input from the files specified by NUL-terminated names in
file F; If F is – then read names from standard input

-k, –key=KEYDEF
sort via a key; KEYDEF gives location and type

-m, –merge
merge already sorted files; do not sort

-o, –output=FILE
write result to FILE instead of standard output

-s, –stable
stabilize sort by disabling last-resort comparison

-S, –buffer-size=SIZE
use SIZE for main memory buffer

-t, –field-separator=SEP
use SEP instead of non-blank to blank transition

-T, –temporary-directory=DIR
use DIR for temporaries, not $TMPDIR or /tmp; multiple options
specify multiple directories

change the number of sorts run concurrently to N

-u, –unique
with -c, check for strict ordering; without -c, output only the
first of an equal run

-z, –zero-terminated
line delimiter is NUL, not newline

–help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

KEYDEF is F[.C][OPTS][,F[.C][OPTS]] for start and stop position, where
F is a field number and C a character position in the field; both are
origin 1, and the stop position defaults to the line’s end. If neither
-t nor -b is in effect, characters in a field are counted from the
beginning of the preceding whitespace. OPTS is one or more single-let‐
ter ordering options [bdfgiMhnRrV], which override global ordering
options for that key. If no key is given, use the entire line as the
key. Use –debug to diagnose incorrect key usage.

SIZE may be followed by the following multiplicative suffixes: % 1% of
memory, b 1, K 1024 (default), and so on for M, G, T, P, E, Z, Y.

*** WARNING *** The locale specified by the environment affects sort
order. Set LC_ALL=C to get the traditional sort order that uses native
byte values.


Written by Mike Haertel and Paul Eggert.


GNU coreutils online help:
Report sort translation bugs to


Copyright © 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU
GPL version 3 or later .
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


shuf, uniq

Full documentation at:
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) sort invocation’

GNU coreutils 8.25 February 2016 SORT(1)