Print column 1 & 2

ps | awk '{print $1,$2}'

To separate the columns titles you can use "\t" between the numbers:

ps | awk '{print $1"\t"$2}'

By default the field separator for awk is a space, if it's not the case tell awk which one it is by using F for field separator. In the example of /etc/passwd file the separator is semi-colon

awk -F ":" '{print $1}' /etc/passwd

You can also grep:

awk -F ":" '{print $1}' /etc/passwd | grep myservice


To search for every last field in the line, but remove things like comments that are not interesting data use a search command ^

Example in the /etc/shells file. $NF means last field

awk -F "/" '/^\// {print $NF}' /etc/shells

If you want to remove the repeated lines use uniq

awk -F "/" '/^\// {print $NF}' /etc/shells | uniq

Also use sort for a sorted list output:

awk -F "/" '/^\// {print $NF}' /etc/shells | uniq | sort


Print all lines that contain certain words. Example from df command and lines with /dev/vd*:

df | awk '/\/dev\/vd/ {print $1"\t"$5}'

df -h

You can do Maths with the columns as well. Example of sum with columns 'Used with Available':

df -h | awk '/\/dev\/vd/ {print $1"\t"$3 + $4}'

Filter results by the length of the line itself:

awk 'length($0) > 7' /etc/shells

Using AWK as a script in itself

Print last field that contain certain word etc. You need to type the whole path as last field to search the lines with it:

ps -ef | awk '{ if ($NF == "/usr/local/hostguard/bin/hostguard") print $0}'

print $0 means print entire line

awk 'BEGIN { for (i=1; i<=10; i++) print "The square root of", i, "is", i*i;}'

Print all the lines that the first character is [a or P]. Capital/lower letter applies:

awk '$1 ~ /^[a,P]/ {print $0}' .bashrc

Depending on the file, sometimes you need to use a different way to get the column. This example use the 'substring function - substr' , print all lines, but removes the first 3 characters / spaces of the line. It will print from 4th character.

awk '{print substr($0, 4)}' numbered.txt

To get a section of a file, not all lines use 'NR = Number of Records (Line numbers essentially)'

This example will print the range of lines from 7 to 11:

awk 'NR==7, NR==11 {print NR, $0}'

Also take the NR off from print the the lines won't display:

awk 'NR==7, NR==11 {print $0}'