Removing multiple lines from input file, if multiple lines match a pattern.

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# 1  
Old 09-28-2015
Removing multiple lines from input file, if multiple lines match a pattern.


I have an issue at work, which requires a simple solution. But, after multiple attempts, I have not been able to hit on the code needed.

I am assuming that sed, awk or even perl could do what I need.

I have an application that adds extra blank page feeds, for multiple reports, when sending these print jobs to CUPS.

Unfortunately, it would be very time consuming to have each of the developers go back and remove these extra page feeds, through hundreds of different reports, not to mention that would require QA, Release Management, and official patches for all of our customers.

Here's what I've done already.

I am intercepting the raw print jobs when they come into CUPS, as plain text PostScript files.

I have identified the actual lines that need to be removed from each job.

If I edit the file manually, and remove the lines manually, the subsequent printout works perfectly, with the blank pages suppressed.

But, I've been trying to use normal KSH or BASH to programatically remove the offending lines.

Unfortunately, in doing so, the script removes ALL of the necessary hidden formatting / special characters.

If I edit the file by hand, and just remove these offending lines, the document prints perfectly.

If I run the PostScript file through my "filter" script, it removes all of the special characters, and the postscript data itself is sent to the printer.

Let's say hypothetically that the following 4 lines are found. These same 4 lines can occur at different places inside of the postscript job, but normally, they will have data inserted between rows.

If these same 4 lines occur, sequentially, right after each other, without any other data, then I want to remove them:


It is important that I must not remove any special formatting or characters from any previous or future lines within the file.

Thanks in advance,

# 2  
Old 09-28-2015
A real although abbreviated sample would be utmost helpful.
# 3  
Old 09-28-2015
Not sure if I understood it exactly - did you try something like:
grep -vE "abc|def|ghi|jkl" infile
# or more precise
grep -vE "^(abc|def|ghi|jkl)$" infile

? Should the file be edited in place or is a temp file ok?
# 4  
Old 09-28-2015
Zaxxon reply

Hi Zaxxon,

Unfortunately, you did not understand the issue.

I am not looking for 4 different strings, each on it's own line. Grep -e, or egrep, would work fine for this.

I am searching for these 4 lines, together, when they appear back to back.

In order for the condition to be true, all 4 lines must exist, exactly as seen below.

In the pattern match, I need to search for something like this:
  sed -e s/"abc\ndef\nghi\njkl\n"/""/g

I also tried:
sed -e s/"abc\rdef\rghi\rjkl\r"/""/g

I also thought about using "tr" to delete the matching strings, but I'm still having an issue matching the 4 lines, to include their special characters. i.e. Line Feeds or Carriage Returns.

Unfortunately, either I'm using the wrong carriage return characters, or something is wrong with my systax.

Basically, each time the above 4 lines occur, back to back, on separate lines, I need to remove all 4 lines.

There will be times when the 4 lines will appear, where they have some other entries in the middle, such as:

          e2c422 a12652 

Note that if there are ANY characters or data of any kind between, or in the middle of the 4 line pattern, those are valid data lines, and must not be removed.

Only when the 4 lines appear, back to back, with NOTHING else between them, or appended to them, do they need to be removed.

I hope this helps to clarify the issue.


Moderator's Comments:
Mod Comment Use code tags, thanks.

Last edited by zaxxon; 09-28-2015 at 11:04 AM.. Reason: code tags
# 5  
Old 09-28-2015
awk '
$1 == "abc"     {getline L1
                 getline L2
                 getline L3
                 if (L1!="def" ||
                     L2!="ghi" ||
                     L3!="jkl") {print
                                 print L1
                                 print L2
                                 print L3
' file

This User Gave Thanks to RudiC For This Post:
# 6  
Old 09-28-2015
sed s,"$SEARCH","",g

This User Gave Thanks to sea For This Post:
# 7  
Old 09-28-2015
Thank you for the potential solutions.

Unfortunately, this has been a very hectic morning so far (Mondays), and I have not had a chance to test either of the proposed solutions yet.

I promise, I will try to test with both solutions very, very soon.

Thanks again for your help and input.

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