[Linux](EN) Count number of bytes, characters, words and lines by using wc command

Let’s count number of bytes, characters, words and lines in file or input.


Environment and Prerequisite

  • Linux base system
  • Bash shell(/bin/bash)


wc command

What is wc command?

wc [OPTION]... [FILE]...
wc [OPTION]... --files0-from=F
  • wc : print newline, word, and byte counts for each file or input
  • wc stands for ‘word count’
  • You can use it with ls -al when count number of files and directories in specific path


Usage with each option

Make sample files for examples

  • ASCII sample
$ cat << EOF > test_ascii.txt
123
abc def hij
lmn opq rs
EOF

$ file test_ascii.txt
test_ascii.txt: ASCII text
  • UTF-8 sample
$ cat << EOF > test_utf.txt
한국어 배워보세요.
감사합니다. 또 봐요!
EOF

$ file test_utf.txt
test_utf.txt: UTF-8 Unicode text

-c, –bytes option

  • print the byte counts.
$ wc -c test_ascii.txt
27 test_ascii.txt
# You can use it with cat command
$ cat test_ascii.txt | wc -c
27

-m, –chars option

  • print the character counts.
$ wc -m test_ascii.txt
27 test_ascii.txt
# You can use it with cat command
$ cat test_ascii.txt | wc -m
27
  • In ASCII format, the number of bytes and characters are same but some of other formats would be not.
$ wc -m test_ascii.txt
27 test_ascii.txt

$ wc -c test_ascii.txt
27 test_ascii.txt
$ wc -m test_utf.txt
24 test_utf.txt

$ wc -c test_utf.txt
56 test_utf.txt

-l, –lines option

  • print the newline counts.
$ wc -l test_ascii.txt
3 test_ascii.txt
$ cat test_ascii.txt | wc -l
3
  • You can count number of files and directories in specific path by using it with ls -al.
$ ls -al | wc -l
9

-w, –words option

  • print the word counts.
$ wc -w test_ascii.txt
7 test_ascii.txt
$ wc -w test_utf.txt
5 test_utf.txt


Reference

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