How to use sed to find and replace text in files in Linux / Unix shell

Originally published at:

I am a new Linux user. I wanted to find the text called “foo” and replaced to “bar” in the file named “hosts.txt.” How do I use the sed command to find and replace on Linux or UNIX-like system?

Hi there, I’m wondering why you use the -i flag without specifying a suffix/extension? The man page suggests this makes it useless to use -i.

Thanks for the explainer. I’m a very basic command line user so the level this is written at is good for me - I can make sense of almost all of it :slight_smile:

The -i option passed to the sed command update file. a suffix/extension is optional. But you provide one a backup file will be created.

Need to search string1 (single line) and replace with string2 (multiple lines), I tried by changing the delimiter and using new line character \n but it not worked, it seems failing because of comma in the string. Your help would be appreciated.

String 1:

browsers: ['Chrome'],                                     

String 2:

|   browsers: ['Chrome', 'ChromeHeadless', 'MyHeadlessChrome'],
                                                              >     customLaunchers: {
                                                              >       MyHeadlessChrome: {
                                                              >         base: 'ChromeHeadless',
                                                              >         flags: ['--disable-translate', '--disable-extensions'
                                                              >       }
                                                              >     },

Command I tried :

sed "s+browsers: ['Chrome']+browsers: ['Chrome', 'ChromeHeadless', 'MyHeadlessChrome'],\n customLaunchers: { \n MyHeadlessChrome: { \n  base: 'ChromeHeadless', \n flags: ['--disable-translate', '--disable-extensions' \n  } \n }+g" /tmp/try.js

Try escaping [ with \[ i.e.

sed "s/browsers: \['Chrome'\],/REPLACEMENT/' input
sed "s/browsers: \['Chrome'\],//' input
sed "s/browsers: \['Chrome'\],/browsers: ['Chrome', 'ChromeHeadless', 'MyHeadlessChrome'],\n>\n>     customLaunchers: {/" input