head command is a command-line utility for outputting the first part of files given to it via standard input. It writes results to standard output. By default
head returns the first ten lines of each file that it is given.
To view the first ten lines of a file pass the name of a file to the
head command. The first ten lines of the file will be printed to standard output.
head /usr/share/dict/words A a AA AAA Aachen aah Aaliyah Aaliyah's aardvark aardvark's
To set the number of lines to show with
head pass the
-n option followed by the number of lines to show.
head -n 1 /usr/share/dict/words A
To limit the number of bytes shown with
head pass the
-c option. Instead of limiting by number of lines this will limit by the number of bytes passed to the
-c option. In the following example the output is limited to 16 bytes.
head -c 16 /usr/share/dict/words A a AA AAA Aache%
To show the first ten lines of multiple files pass more than one filename to the
head command. This will output the first ten lines of each file to standard output with a header indicating which file is being shown.
head /usr/share/dict/words /usr/share/dict/french ==> /usr/share/dict/words <== A a AA AAA Aachen aah Aaliyah Aaliyah's aardvark aardvark's ==> /usr/share/dict/french <== ça AAAI abaissé abaissa abaissai abaissaient abaissais abaissait abaissant abaissas
To suppress the header line pass the
-q option. This can be useful to combine files.
head -q /usr/share/dict/words /usr/share/dict/french A a AA AAA Aachen aah Aaliyah Aaliyah's aardvark aardvark's ça AAAI abaissé abaissa abaissai abaissaient abaissais abaissait abaissant abaissas
head command can be piped to from other commands. In the following example the output of the
ls command is piped to
head to only show the five most recently modified files or folders.
ls -t /etc | head -n 5 ld.so.cache ssh pam.d shadow passwd
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