GREP(1) BSD General Commands Manual GREP(1)
grep, egrep, fgrep, zgrep, zegrep, zfgrep -- file pattern searcher
grep [-abcdDEFGHhIiJLlmnOopqRSsUVvwxZ] [-A num] [-B num] [-C[num]] [-e pattern] [-f file] [--binary-files=value] [--color[=when]]
[--colour[=when]] [--context[=num]] [--label] [--line-buffered] [--null] [pattern] [file ...]
The grep utility searches any given input files, selecting lines that match one or more patterns. By default, a pattern matches an input
line if the regular expression (RE) in the pattern matches the input line without its trailing newline. An empty expression matches every
line. Each input line that matches at least one of the patterns is written to the standard output.
grep is used for simple patterns and basic regular expressions (BREs); egrep can handle extended regular expressions (EREs). See
re_format(7) for more information on regular expressions. fgrep is quicker than both grep and egrep, but can only handle fixed patterns
(i.e. it does not interpret regular expressions). Patterns may consist of one or more lines, allowing any of the pattern lines to match a
portion of the input.
zgrep, zegrep, and zfgrep act like grep, egrep, and fgrep, respectively, but accept input files compressed with the compress(1) or gzip(1)
The following options are available:
-A num, --after-context=num
Print num lines of trailing context after each match. See also the -B and -C options.
Treat all files as ASCII text. Normally grep will simply print ``Binary file ... matches'' if files contain binary characters. Use
of this option forces grep to output lines matching the specified pattern.
-B num, --before-context=num
Print num lines of leading context before each match. See also the -A and -C options.
The offset in bytes of a matched pattern is displayed in front of the respective matched line.
Print num lines of leading and trailing context surrounding each match. The default is 2 and is equivalent to -A 2 -B 2. Note: no
whitespace may be given between the option and its argument.
Only a count of selected lines is written to standard output.
Mark up the matching text with the expression stored in GREP_COLOR environment variable. The possible values of when can be `never',
`always' or `auto'.
-D action, --devices=action
Specify the demanded action for devices, FIFOs and sockets. The default action is `read', which means, that they are read as if they
were normal files. If the action is set to `skip', devices will be silently skipped.
-d action, --directories=action
Specify the demanded action for directories. It is `read' by default, which means that the directories are read in the same manner
as normal files. Other possible values are `skip' to silently ignore the directories, and `recurse' to read them recursively, which
has the same effect as the -R and -r option.
Interpret pattern as an extended regular expression (i.e. force grep to behave as egrep).
-e pattern, --regexp=pattern
Specify a pattern used during the search of the input: an input line is selected if it matches any of the specified patterns. This
option is most useful when multiple -e options are used to specify multiple patterns, or when a pattern begins with a dash ('-').
If specified, it excludes files matching the given filename pattern from the search. Note that --exclude patterns take priority over
--include patterns, and if no --include pattern is specified, all files are searched that are not excluded. Patterns are matched to
the full path specified, not only to the filename component.
If -R is specified, it excludes directories matching the given filename pattern from the search. Note that --exclude-dir patterns
take priority over --include-dir patterns, and if no --include-dir pattern is specified, all directories are searched that are not
Interpret pattern as a set of fixed strings (i.e. force grep to behave as fgrep).
-f file, --file=file
Read one or more newline separated patterns from file. Empty pattern lines match every input line. Newlines are not considered part
of a pattern. If file is empty, nothing is matched.
Interpret pattern as a basic regular expression (i.e. force grep to behave as traditional grep).
-H Always print filename headers with output lines.
Never print filename headers (i.e. filenames) with output lines.
--help Print a brief help message.
-I Ignore binary files. This option is equivalent to --binary-file=without-match option.
Perform case insensitive matching. By default, grep is case sensitive.
If specified, only files matching the given filename pattern are searched. Note that --exclude patterns take priority over --include
patterns. Patterns are matched to the full path specified, not only to the filename component.
If -R is specified, only directories matching the given filename pattern are searched. Note that --exclude-dir patterns take prior-
ity over --include-dir patterns.
Decompress the bzip2(1) compressed file before looking for the text.
Only the names of files not containing selected lines are written to standard output. Pathnames are listed once per file searched.
If the standard input is searched, the string ``(standard input)'' is written.
Only the names of files containing selected lines are written to standard output. grep will only search a file until a match has
been found, making searches potentially less expensive. Pathnames are listed once per file searched. If the standard input is
searched, the string ``(standard input)'' is written.
--mmap Use mmap(2) instead of read(2) to read input, which can result in better performance under some circumstances but can cause undefined
-m num, --max-count=num
Stop reading the file after num matches.
Each output line is preceded by its relative line number in the file, starting at line 1. The line number counter is reset for each
file processed. This option is ignored if -c, -L, -l, or -q is specified.
--null Prints a zero-byte after the file name.
-O If -R is specified, follow symbolic links only if they were explicitly listed on the command line. The default is not to follow sym-
Prints only the matching part of the lines.
-p If -R is specified, no symbolic links are followed. This is the default.
-q, --quiet, --silent
Quiet mode: suppress normal output. grep will only search a file until a match has been found, making searches potentially less
-R, -r, --recursive
Recursively search subdirectories listed.
-S If -R is specified, all symbolic links are followed. The default is not to follow symbolic links.
Silent mode. Nonexistent and unreadable files are ignored (i.e. their error messages are suppressed).
Search binary files, but do not attempt to print them.
Display version information and exit.
Selected lines are those not matching any of the specified patterns.
The expression is searched for as a word (as if surrounded by '[[:<:]]' and '[[:>:]]'; see re_format(7)).
Only input lines selected against an entire fixed string or regular expression are considered to be matching lines.
-y Equivalent to -i. Obsoleted.
-Z, -z, --decompress
Force grep to behave as zgrep.
Controls searching and printing of binary files. Options are binary, the default: search binary files but do not print them;
without-match: do not search binary files; and text: treat all files as text.
Print num lines of leading and trailing context. The default is 2.
Force output to be line buffered. By default, output is line buffered when standard output is a terminal and block buffered other-
If no file arguments are specified, the standard input is used.
The grep utility exits with one of the following values:
0 One or more lines were selected.
1 No lines were selected.
>1 An error occurred.
To find all occurrences of the word 'patricia' in a file:
$ grep 'patricia' myfile
To find all occurrences of the pattern '.Pp' at the beginning of a line:
$ grep '^.Pp' myfile
The apostrophes ensure the entire expression is evaluated by grep instead of by the user's shell. The caret '^' matches the null string at
the beginning of a line, and the '' escapes the '.', which would otherwise match any character.
To find all lines in a file which do not contain the words 'foo' or 'bar':
$ grep -v -e 'foo' -e 'bar' myfile
A simple example of an extended regular expression:
$ egrep '19|20|25' calendar
Peruses the file 'calendar' looking for either 19, 20, or 25.
ed(1), ex(1), gzip(1), sed(1), re_format(7)
The grep utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (``POSIX.1'') specification.
The flags [-AaBbCDdGHhIJLmoPRSUVwZ] are extensions to that specification, and the behaviour of the -f flag when used with an empty pattern
file is left undefined.
All long options are provided for compatibility with GNU versions of this utility.
Historic versions of the grep utility also supported the flags [-ruy]. This implementation supports those options; however, their use is
The grep command first appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
July 28, 2010 BSD