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I have a CSV file where data are in the following format


I want to replace only those "," that appears between numbers with some other character like say SOH or $ or *

other "," appearing in the line should not get replaced i.e. to say I wish to have following output


Can someone please help me with sed command pattern to get the above desired output

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Try this

sed 's/\([0-9]\),\(-\?[0-9]\)/\1\*\2/g'

The first section matches a digit followed by a comma followed by a digit or a -. The next section simply regurgitates the first digit, the replacement character, and then the last digit.

This will catch any pattern like "#,#" or "#,-#", including some that may not be desired (e.g. "abc123,-def" --> "abc123*-def"). Fixing this requires more knowledge of the input stream. (see the comments for details.)

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Thanks for the Reply. It almost works !! BUT breaks when "," is followed by a Negative Number i.e. If data is \n |001|,|abc,def|,123456,789,|aaa|,|bbb|,444,555,-666,777 \n It converts to |001|,|abc,def|,123456*789,|aaa|,|bbb|,444*555,-666*777 Desired output is |001|,|abc,def|,123456*789,|aaa|,|bbb|,444*555*-666*777 – Saurabh Dec 21 '10 at 7:04
I updated the answer to add handling of a minus sign on the second number. – jwernerny Dec 21 '10 at 12:36
@jwernemy As written, your pattern will also match 5,-hi!-. The solution would be to replace the number pattern with a more general numeric pattern. Requiring that the number be delimited by , on both ends would also avoid capturing mixed alphanumeric entries like ,abc123,-45ok,. The number pattern itself would be something like \(\(-\|+\)?[0-9]+\.?[0-9]*\); this handles sign-optional floating point representations, though not scientific-notation style numbers such as 1e5 or 3d7. – Jeremy W. Sherman Dec 21 '10 at 20:17
@Jeremey - I see the issue of failing the case "123,-abc", so I will correct it. The other cases you hint at are going to be a problem because we don't know how far backwards or forwards to look for a number because we don't know the field delimiters. – jwernerny Dec 22 '10 at 15:17

Following seems to work :

sed 's/\([0-9]\),\([-0-9]\)/\1\*\2/g'
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