Anyone who has worked extensively between Linux machines and Windows machines has at some time come across a lot of badly formatted documents. Inititally, I would spend a lot of time finding the end of the line and pressing
There are a quite a few end of line characters. Carriage Return (
CR) and Line Feed(
LF) being the more often used. To understand these, consider a typewriter. Typewriters have two actions to move to a new line -
- Line Feed - Feeds the paper up one line, but keeps the typing position (cursor) at the same spot.
- Carriage Return - Moves the typing position to the start of the line, without moving across lines.
When one strikes the line feed lever of a typewriter, the paper is first fed. Further forcing the lever causes it to move the paper carriage to the start of the line (carriage return). The
CR behave in the same way.
|System||End of Line Character||Symbolic Representation|
|Windows / DOS||
|MacOS upto version 9||
The table above lists line endings for a few platforms.
Knowing about the line breaks did not help me in formatting the files. I continued fixing my files the hard way for years, before stumbling across the utility -
dos2unix. On Ubuntu, this can be installed easily using
sudo apt-get install dos2unix
and may be used as easily as -
This changes DOS / Windows line endings to *Nix format. The other commands are -
unix2dos filename mac2unix filename unix2mac filename
This is a utility than could have saved me hours of work. This utility also exists for cygwin.