Unix Commands  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 3 The wc command
Objective Use wc to count lines, words, and characters.

Unix wc Command

The wc command is used to count the number of lines, words, and characters in a file. Observe what happens when you run the wc command on the following file.
$ cat letter
Dear Mom, 
Final exams are coming up next week. 
Please send food, clothes, and 
$ wc letter 
9 17 101 letter  

The wc command tells you that this file has 9 lines, 17 words, and 101 characters. You can display only the number of lines by using the –l option, the number of words by using the –w option, or the number of characters by using the –c option. Here is the wc command using the –l option:

$ wc –l letter 
9 letter

Saving the line count in a variable

To save the number of lines to a variable, embed the wc command in an assignment statement. -
The next lesson demonstrates sorting the content of a text file using the sort command.

WC Command - Exercise

Click the exercise link below to practice using the find and wc commands.
WC Command - Exercise