Thursday, March 17, 2011

Different ways to delete ^M character in a file



 Control-M is a character found at the end of a line usually in files transferred from windows. Before, processing these files in UNIX, we need to remove the ^M characters. Let us see in this article, the different ways to delete the Control-M from the files:

 Consider a file, file1, which has the control M characters:
$ cat -v file1
a^M
b^M
c^M
d^M
e^M
f^M


  The -v option in cat command shows the file with non-printable characters if any. Here we have used it to display the Control-M characters without which it would not have got displayed.

1. dos2unix The simplest of all is using the dos2unix command.Some Unix flavors have a command, dos2unix, to handle the dos files in which the control character Control-M is automatically removed. This command updates the source file itself directly.
$ dos2unix file1
2. tr  Using tr itself, we can do this using 2 ways:
$ tr -d '^M' <file1
  Note: When typing the above command, the Control-M should be entered like: Control-V+Control-M, and not as Shift-6-M.
  The "-d" option of tr deletes the occurrences of Control-M. To confirm the above output does not contain Control-M, pipe the output of the above command to "cat -v".
$ tr -d '^M' <file1 | cat -v
  The above command does not update the source file, instead, it just displays the file1 contents without Control-M. To update the source file, redirect the output to a temporary file, and rename it to the source file.
$ tr -d '\015' <file1 >file2
$ mv file2 file1
 The other way to get the same thing done using tr is to use the escape sequence of Control-M which is 015.
$ tr -d "\015" <file1
3. sed The replacement of Control-M using sed can be done as shown below:
$ sed 's/^M//g' file1
  The above command all the occurrences of Control-M with nothing. In other words, it simply removes the occurrences of Control-M. If your sed has '-i' option, you can remove the Control-M directly in the file itself:
$ sed -i 's/^M//g' file1
4. vi In vi, we can substitute all the ^M characters with nothing. Open the source file in vi, and give the below command in the escape mode:
 :%s/^M//
5. awk The sub function in awk can be used for the substitution. The 1 is used to print the lines.
$ awk 'sub(/^M/,"");1' file1
6. perl perl too provides the substitution as in sed.
$ perl -p -e 's/^M//g' file1
 Perl also has the '-i' option which edits the file in place.
$ perl -pi -e 's/^M//g' file1
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