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UNIX/LINUX Command – wc

Last updated May 11, 2021


wc—Print the number of bytes, words, and lines in files


wc [-clw] [–bytes] [–chars] [–lines] [–words] [–help] [–version] [file…]


This manual page documents the GNU version of wc. wc counts the number of bytes, whitespace-separated words, and newlines in each given file, or the standard input if none are given or when a file named – is given. It prints one line of counts for each file, and if the file was given as an argument, it prints the filename following the counts. If more than one filename is given, wc prints a final line containing the cumulative counts, with the filename total. The counts are printed in the order lines, words, bytes.

By default, wc prints all three counts. Options can specify that only certain counts be printed. Options do not undo others previously given, so wc –bytes –words prints both the byte counts and the word counts.


Options Description
-c, –bytes, –chars Print only the byte counts.
-w, –words Print only the word counts.
-l, –lines Print only the newline counts.
–help Print a usage message and exit with a non-zero status.
–version Print version information on standard output, then exit.

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