Atlantic.Net Blog

Sort Command in Linux with Examples

Sort is a command-line utility in Linux that helps you to sort the data in a file line by line. It has a lot of options that allow you to arrange the record in a specific order. It supports sorting, in reverse order, by month, by number, alphabetically, and more. The sort command only prints the sorted output; it doesn’t actually sort the files.

In this post, we will show you how to use the sort command with examples in Linux.

Prerequisites

  • A Linux server on the Atlantic.Net Cloud Platform
  • A root password configured on your server

Create Atlantic.Net Cloud Server

First, log in to your Atlantic.Net Cloud Server. Create a new server, choosing Ubuntu, CentOS, or Rocky Linux as the operating system with at least 2GB RAM. Connect to your Cloud Server via SSH and log in using the credentials highlighted at the top of the page.

Once you are logged in to your server, run the following command to update your base system with the latest available packages.

apt-get update -y

Or

dnf update -y

1. Sort a File Alphabetically

By default, the sort command will sort lines alphabetically.

For the purpose of this tutorial, create a new file named file.txt:

nano file.txt

Add the following lines:

baroda
ahmedabad
Baroda
rajkot
jamnager
junagadh
Surat
Gandhinagar

Save the file, then use the sort command to sort the file alphabetically:

sort file.txt

Sample output:

ahmedabad
baroda
Baroda
Gandhinagar
jamnager
junagadh
rajkot
Surat

The sort command only sorts the output of the file. If you want to save the sorted file, then run the following command:

sort file.txt > sortedfile.txt

2. Sort a File in Reverse Order

You can use the -r flag with the sort command to sort the file in reverse order:

sort -r file.txt

Sample output:

Surat
rajkot
junagadh
jamnager
Gandhinagar
Baroda
baroda
ahmedabad

3. Sort a File by Number

You can use the -n flag to sort the file from lowest number to highest number.

First, let’s create a sample file:

nano file.txt

Add the following lines:

1. Hitesh
4. Jayesh
2. Vyom
7. Disha
3. Ramesh
9. Vrat

Save and close the file, then use the sort command to sort a file by number:

sort -n file.txt

Sample output:

1. Hitesh
2. Vyom
3. Ramesh
4. Jayesh
7. Disha
9. Vrat

4. Sort a Mixed-case File

If a file contains lowercase and uppercase content, then the sort command will sort uppercase first. In this case, you can use the -f option to ignore the case.

Let’s create a sample file:

nano file.txt

Add the following content:

Haresh
hamir
Hari
heta
himani

Now, use the sort command with -f option:

sort -f file.txt

Sample output:

hamir
Haresh
Hari
heta
himani

5. Check If a File is Sorted

You can use the -c option to check if a file is sorted or not.

sort -c file.txt

Sample output:

sort: file.txt:2: disorder: hamir

If there is no output, then the file is sorted.

6. Sort a File and Remove Duplicates

You can also use the -u option to find and remove the duplicate lines from the sorted output.

Let’s create a sample file:

nano file.txt

Add the following contents:

Hitesh
Jayesh
Jayesh
Hitesh
Samir
Ram

Now, use the sort command to remove the duplicate lines from the sorted output:

sort -u file.txt

Sample output:

Hitesh
Jayesh
Ram
Samir

7. Sort a File by Month

You can pass the -M option with the sort command to sort a file by month name.

Let’s create a sample file:

nano file.txt

Add the following lines:

january
march
june
february
september
december

Save and close the file then sort a file by month using the following command:

sort -M file.txt

Sample output:

january
february
march
june
september
december

8. Sort a File by Column

If you have a file with multiple columns and want to sort any specific column, then you can use the -k option.

Let’s create a sample file to test.

nano file.txt

Add the following lines:

2. anand
4. ear
3. bharat
1. janak
5. canal

Save and close the file, then sort the second column using the following command:

sort -k2 file.txt

Sample output:

2. anand
3. bharat
5. canal
4. ear
1. janak

To sort the first column, run:

sort -k1 file.txt

Sample output:

1. janak
2. anand
3. bharat
4. ear
5. canal

Conclusion

In this guide, we explained how to sort a file with the sort command in Linux. You can now experiment with the sort command with other options and check the result. You can start using the command now on your VPS from Altantic.Net.

Get started with 12 months of free cloud VPS hosting

Free Tier includes:
G3.2GB Cloud VPS Server Free to Use for One Year
50 GB of Block Storage Free to Use for One Year
50 GB of Snapshots Free to Use for One Year