What is head?
Head prints the first N number of data of the given input. By default, it prints first 10 lines of each given file.
5 head Examples
1. Print the first N number of lines
To view the first N number of lines, pass the file name as an argument with -n option as shown below.
$ head -n 5 flavours.txt Ubuntu Debian Redhat Gentoo Fedora core
Note: When you simply pass the file name as an argument to head, it prints out the first 10 lines of the file.
2. Print N number of lines by specifying N with -
You don’t even need to pass the -n option as an argument, simply specify the N number of lines followed by ‘-’ as shown below.
$ head -4 flavours.txt Ubuntu Debian Redhat Gentoo
3. Print all but not the last N lines
By placing ‘-’ in front of the number with -n option, it prints all the lines of each file but not the last N lines as shown below,
$ head -n -5 flavours.txt Ubuntu
4. Print the N number of bytes
You can use the -c option to print the N number of bytes from the initial part of file.
$ head -c 5 flavours.txt Ubuntu
Note : As like -n option, here also you can pass ‘-’ in front of number to print all bytes but not the last N bytes.
5. Passing Output of Other command to Head Input
You may pass the output of other commands to the head command via pipe as shown below,
$ ls | head bin boot cdrom dev etc home initrd.img lib lost+found media
Syntax and Options
head [OPTIONS]… [FILE]…
|Short Option||Long Option||Option Description|
|-c||–bytes||to print N bytes from each input file.|
|-n||–lines||to print N lines from each input file.|
|-q||–silent, –quiet||Prevent printing of header information that contains file name|
|-v||–verbose||to print header information always.|