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File:,  Node: wc invocation,  Next: sum invocation,  Up: Summarizing files

6.1 `wc': Print newline, word, and byte counts

`wc' counts the number of bytes, characters, whitespace-separated
words, and newlines in each given FILE, or standard input if none are
given or for a FILE of `-'.  Synopsis:

     wc [OPTION]... [FILE]...

   `wc' prints one line of counts for each file, and if the file was
given as an argument, it prints the file name following the counts.  If
more than one FILE is given, `wc' prints a final line containing the
cumulative counts, with the file name `total'.  The counts are printed
in this order: newlines, words, characters, bytes, maximum line length.
Each count is printed right-justified in a field with at least one
space between fields so that the numbers and file names normally line
up nicely in columns.  The width of the count fields varies depending
on the inputs, so you should not depend on a particular field width.
However, as a GNU extension, if only one count is printed, it is
guaranteed to be printed without leading spaces.

   By default, `wc' prints three counts: the newline, words, and byte
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.

   With the `--max-line-length' option, `wc' prints the length of the
longest line per file, and if there is more than one file it prints the
maximum (not the sum) of those lengths.  The line lengths here are
measured in screen columns, according to the current locale and
assuming tab positions in every 8th column.

   The program accepts the following options.  Also see *note Common

     Print only the byte counts.

     Print only the character counts.

     Print only the word counts.

     Print only the newline counts.

     Print only the maximum line lengths.

     Disallow processing files named on the command line, and instead
     process those named in file FILE; each name being terminated by a
     zero byte (ASCII NUL).  This is useful when the list of file names
     is so long that it may exceed a command line length limitation.
     In such cases, running `wc' via `xargs' is undesirable because it
     splits the list into pieces and makes `wc' print a total for each
     sublist rather than for the entire list.  One way to produce a
     list of ASCII NUL terminated file names is with GNU `find', using
     its `-print0' predicate.  If FILE is `-' then the ASCII NUL
     terminated file names are read from standard input.

     For example, to find the length of the longest line in any `.c' or
     `.h' file in the current hierarchy, do this:

          find . -name '*.[ch]' -print0 |
            wc -L --files0-from=- | tail -n1

   An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value
indicates failure.