6 WC Command Examples to Count Number of Lines, Words, Characters in Linux


The wc (word count) command in Unix/Linux operating systems is used to find out number of newline countword countbyte and characters count in a files specified by the file arguments. The syntax of wc command as shown below.

The following are the options and usage provided by the command.
So, let’s see how we can use the ‘wc‘ command with their few available arguments and examples in this article. We have used the ‘tecmint.txt‘ file for testing the commands. Let’s find out the output of the file using cat command as shown below.

1. A Basic Example of WC Command

The ‘wc‘ command without passing any parameter will display a basic result of ”tecmint.txt‘ file. The three numbers shown below are 12 (number of lines), 16 (number of words) and 112 (number of bytes) of the file.

2. Count Number of Lines

To count number of newlines in a file use the option ‘-l‘, which prints the number of lines from a given file. Say, the following command will display the count of newlines in a file. In the output the first filed assigned as count and second field is the name of file.

3. Display Number of Words

Using ‘-w‘ argument with ‘wc‘ command prints the number of words in a file. Type the following command to count the words in a file.

4. Count Number of Bytes and Characters

When using options ‘-c‘ and ‘-m‘ with ‘wc‘ command will print the total number of bytes and charactersrespectively in a file.

5. Display Length of Longest Line

The ‘wc‘ command allow an argument ‘-L‘, it can be used to print out the length of longest (number of characters) line in a file. So, we have the longest character line (‘Scientific Linux‘) in a file.

6. Check More WC Options

For more information and help on the wc command, simple run the ‘wc –help‘ or ‘man wc‘ from the command line.

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