Bash – strings with multiple words inside them

Let’s assume we have a file containing lines such as this:

first last

one two

three four five

If we write a simple script to deal with each line in a turn, we would write something like this:

for i in `cat file`; do echo $i; done

This would echo, however, each word at its turn. If we want the whole line in this echo, we need to set BASH special variable: IFS.

Example:

export IFS=$’n’ ; for i in `cat file`; do echo $i; done

This would do the trick. We define the Internal Field Separator to be newline only, and not newline, spaces and tabs, as the default goes.

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