COL(1) User Commands COL(1)
col - filter reverse line feeds from input
col filters out reverse (and half-reverse) line feeds so the output is in the correct
order with only forward and half-forward line feeds, and replaces white-space characters
with tabs where possible. This can be useful in processing the output of nroff(1) and
col reads from standard input and writes to standard output.
Do not output any backspaces, printing only the last character written to each col-
Forward half line feeds are permitted fine mode. Normally characters printed on a
half-line boundary are printed on the following line.
Force unknown control sequences to be passed through unchanged. Normally, col will
filter out any control sequences from the input other than those recognized and
interpreted by itself, which are listed below.
Output tabs instead of multiple spaces.
Output multiple spaces instead of tabs.
-l, --lines number
Buffer at least number lines in memory. By default, 128 lines are buffered.
Output version information and exit.
Output help and exit.
The control sequences for carriage motion that col understands and their decimal values
are listed in the following table:
ESC-7 reverse line feed (escape then 7)
ESC-8 half reverse line feed (escape then 8)
ESC-9 half forward line feed (escape then 9)
backspace moves back one column (8); ignored in the first column
newline forward line feed (10); also does carriage return
carriage return (13)
shift in shift to normal character set (15)
shift out shift to alternate character set (14)
space moves forward one column (32)
tab moves forward to next tab stop (9)
vertical tab reverse line feed (11)
All unrecognized control characters and escape sequences are discarded.
col keeps track of the character set as characters are read and makes sure the character
set is correct when they are output.
If the input attempts to back up to the last flushed line, col will display a warning mes-
expand(1), nroff(1), tbl(1)
The col utility conforms to the Single UNIX Specification, Version 2. The -l option is an
extension to the standard.
A col command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
The col command is part of the util-linux package and is available from Linux Kernel
util-linux September 2011 COL(1)