fold Command Examples in Linux

This tutorial explains Linux “fold” command, options and its usage with examples.

fold – Filter for folding lines.


Wrap input lines in each FILE (standard input by default), writing to standard output. This breaks the lines to have a maximum of x width column position (or bytes).


fold [ -bs ] [-w width | -width] [file]



Count width in bytes rather than column positions.
If a segment of a line contains a blank character within the first width column positions (or bytes), break the line after the last such blank character meeting the width constraints. If there is no blank character meeting the requirements, the -s option will have no effect for that output segment of the input line.
-w width | -width
Specify the maximum line length, in column positions (or bytes if -b is specified). If width is not a positive decimal number, an error is returned. The default value is 80.
A path name of a text file to be folded. If no file operands are specified, the standard input will be used.


1. Given the contents of file abc, fold works as follows if width is 20:

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$ cat abc
  This is a brief message to the Control Unit group.
     The new hp is now on-line. To send prints to it, type lj filename.
     If you have questions contact Sys. Adm. (x480).
     The printer is located in the stock room.
$ fold -w 20 abc
  This is a brief me
ssage to the Control
 Unit group.
     The new hp is n
ow on-line. To send 
prints to it, type l
j filename.
     If you have que
stions contact Sys. 
Adm. (x480).
     The printer is 
located in the stock

2. For processing large no. of files to set them to width of 65(say), we use shell program

for i in *.txt
  fold -sw 65 $i > $i.output

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Manish Bhojasia - Founder & CTO at Sanfoundry
Manish Bhojasia, a technology veteran with 20+ years @ Cisco & Wipro, is Founder and CTO at Sanfoundry. He lives in Bangalore, and focuses on development of Linux Kernel, SAN Technologies, Advanced C, Data Structures & Alogrithms. Stay connected with him at LinkedIn.

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