Ignoring non-matching lines with sed - Efficient programming

  1. Introduction
  2. Using sed with matching patterns
  3. Efficient programming with sed
  4. Conclusion


When working with text files, it's common to need to search for specific patterns and modify them. One tool that's often used for this task is sed (stream editor). However, sometimes you only want to modify lines that match a certain pattern and ignore the rest. In this article, we'll explore how to efficiently program sed to ignore non-matching lines.

Using sed with matching patterns

First, let's review how sed works when matching patterns. The basic syntax for matching a pattern with sed is:

sed '/pattern/ {action}' input.txt

This will apply the action only to lines that contain the pattern. For example, to replace "apple" with "orange" only on lines that contain "fruit", you would use:

sed '/fruit/ s/apple/orange/' input.txt

However, if you have a large input file with many lines that don't contain the pattern, sed can become inefficient since it still reads and processes all the non-matching lines.

Efficient programming with sed

To make sed more efficient when working with non-matching lines, we can use the "next" command to skip over them. The "next" command tells sed to immediately move on to the next line and ignore the current one. Here's an example:

sed '/fruit/! {  // skip non-matching lines
  b  // jump to the end
s/apple/orange/' input.txt

In this example, we're using the "!" operator to match non-matching lines, and the curly braces to enclose the "next" command and the final substitution command. The "b" command tells sed to jump to the end of the script and skip over the substitution command for non-matching lines.

This technique can significantly speed up sed when working with large input files that have many non-matching lines.


When working with sed, it's important to consider the efficiency of your program, especially when dealing with large input files. By using the "next" command to skip non-matching lines, you can make your sed program more efficient and save valuable processing time.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go up

Below we inform you of the use we make of the data we collect while browsing our pages. You can change your preferences at any time by accessing the link to the Privacy Area that you will find at the bottom of our main page. More Information