Cat Command in Linux/Unix with Examples


In the world of Linux and Unix systems, there is a powerful command known as “cat”. This command may seem simple at first glance, but it holds immense power and versatility. In this article, we will explore the various uses of the cat command and learn how it can make our lives as system administrators and power users much easier.

What is the cat command?

The cat command, short for concatenate, is used to display the contents of one or more files on the standard output (usually the terminal). It is one of the most frequently used commands in the Unix world and has a wide range of applications. From simply viewing the contents of a file to combining multiple files into one, the cat command has got you covered.

Basic Usage

Let’s start with the most basic usage of the cat command – displaying the contents of a single file. To do this, simply type “cat” followed by the name of the file:

cat filename.txt

This will display the contents of the file on your terminal. You can also use wildcards to display the contents of multiple files at once. For example:

cat file1.txt file2.txt

This will display the contents of both file1.txt and file2.txt on your terminal, one after the other.

Combining Files

One of the most powerful features of the cat command is its ability to combine multiple files into one. To do this, simply redirect the output of the cat command to a new file. For example:

cat file1.txt file2.txt > combined.txt

This will combine the contents of file1.txt and file2.txt and store them in a new file called combined.txt. You can then view the contents of combined.txt using the cat command:

cat combined.txt

Other Useful Options

The cat command comes with a variety of options that allow you to customize its behavior. Here are a few examples:

  • -n: Number all output lines. This can be useful when working with large files.
cat -n filename.txt
  • -s: Squeeze multiple blank lines into a single blank line. This can make the output easier to read.
cat -s filename.txt
  • -v: Display non-printing characters in a visible format. This can be helpful when working with special characters.
cat -v filename.txt


In conclusion, the cat command is a powerful tool that every Linux and Unix user should be familiar with. Whether you need to view the contents of a file, combine multiple files, or customize the output, the cat command has got you covered. So go ahead, give it a try, and unleash the power of the cat command in your daily workflow.

Happy Linuxing!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x