awk substr and variable for next n characters?

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# 1  
Old 04-16-2002
awk substr and variable for next n characters?

Here is my code

let x=10 #or any other calculated value done here
`echo $sol | awk '{print substr($0,1,(x-3))}'`

I am able to use the variable x in beginning at character "1"
but I get nothing when using it for the next n characters.

Should I be able to use a variable to start at position 1 and go X positions?

# 2  
Old 04-16-2002
awk does not have visibility of shell variables, and does not matter if those variables are enabled for export or not.

The only reason that x as value 1 appears to work in the starting position is because undefined variables get interpreted as zero, and a zero as starting position for substr defaults to 1.

There are four ways that I know of for awk to gain visibility of a shell variable. I will show the two most straight-forward ones. In both examples, the shell variable and the awk variable could have identical names, but I used different case just for clarity.
echo abcdef | awk -v x=$X '{print substr($0,x,3)}'

export X
echo abcdef | awk 'BEGIN {x=ENVIRON["X"]}\
   {print substr($0,x,3)}'

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