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I have a text file, whose content is like:

    font-size: 12px
    color: blue

    font-size: 14px


I want to append ; to the lines which contain :, so the content will be:

    font-size: 12px;
    color: blue;

    font-size: 14px;


What's the easiest way to do this in linux?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Use regular expression substitution. Many editors support regular expressions, including Vim.

Here's how to do it from the command line, using sed (Stream EDitor):

sed -i -e "s/.*:.*/&;/" INPUT_FILE.css

Some versions of sed don't support in-place editing (writing the output file to the input file):

sed -e "s/.*:.*/&;/" INPUT_FILE.css > OUTPUT_FILE.css


sed             invoke Stream EDitor commmand line tool
-i              edit in-place
-e              the next string will be the regular expression: s/.*:.*/&;/
INPUT_FILE.css  the name of your text file

The regular expression (RegEx) explained, in detail:

s   RegEx command indicates substitution
/   RegEx delimiter: separates command and match expression
.*  any string followed by...
:   a colon character followed by...
.*  any string
/   RegEx delimiter: separates match expression and replacement expression
&   RegEx back reference, entire string that was matched by match expression
;   the semicolon you wish to add
/   RegEx delimiter: ends replacement expression
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This is useful for converting many files at one time – Freewind Jul 20 '11 at 5:03

In Vim, or any other editor with decent support for regular expressions

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You can use Vim in Ex mode:

ex -sc 'g/:/s/$/;/' -cx file
  1. g global search

  2. s substitute

  3. $ end of line

  4. x save and close

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