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I am running Mac OS X 10.8.4 (Mountain Lion) and I am trying to open and scroll through a 42 GB .XML file.

I plan on using an XML parser to parse through it and delete parts, but first I need to know how the document is structured so I can know what parts to save.

How can I open this text / XML file and scroll through it so I can get a glimpse of its structure?

I tried my default text-editor, text-mate, and that couldn't open it. I tried gEdit and that shows the first 10 or so lines, but then quits after trying to load the rest.

I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The easiest way is to use a terminal pager. Open a terminal and run

less file.txt


more file.txt
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less has more chance of dealing with these kind of files. – bayindirh Jun 25 '13 at 13:47
Thank you! Any suggestions on how I can edit it? Or should I let the script do that? – Django Johnson Jun 25 '13 at 13:48
@DjangoJohnson probably best to let the script do it or to use something like sed. – terdon Jun 25 '13 at 13:59
okay, thank you. – Django Johnson Jun 25 '13 at 14:04

vi will not read all file at once and will cache it. Give it a try. It can also syntax-hihglight it, so it's a plus over less.

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I tried to edit your good reply so as to place "`" around vi and less. But so minor a correction was rejected by e-boss. I just tried vi on 1 Gbyte file. It's quite fast. – daniel Azuelos Jun 25 '13 at 14:07
I have more power over my answers. :) – bayindirh Jun 25 '13 at 14:16
"It's a plus over less" ;). – daniel Azuelos Jun 25 '13 at 14:31

As @terdon already said: Terminal pagers will work regardless how big the file is.
(42 GB... Just curious how you managed to get a file that big...)

TextWrangler might be able to deal with it.
I just verified that TextWrangler has a maximum limit of about 380 MB per file.

If you have a PC handy (or Wine) you can try the trail version of UltraEdit.
This can 100% certain deal with such files.

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It is a crawl of content from the internet. Part of the internet. I don't have a PC handy. What if I need to edit it on a mac, what do I do then? – Django Johnson Jun 25 '13 at 13:49
UltraEdit is known to work on a Mac using Wine. I routinely use it to edit files larger than the RAM of the computer. TextWrangler which is a native Mac-app might be able to do it too, but I don't know that for sure. I don't have a Mac nearby to verify that. – Tonny Jun 25 '13 at 14:40
Try vi. Seriously. – bayindirh Jun 25 '13 at 14:41
@SilentStorm That's what I would do :-) , but if someone needs to ask for a tool, vi(m) is probably not the right tool for him/her. Let's be honest... VI has a learning curve. Something we Unix guys sometimes tend to forget. For someone who grow up with a point and click interface VI is scary like hell. – Tonny Jun 25 '13 at 14:44
@Tonny VIM is scary. I'm trying to avoid it. But I will use it if I must. – Django Johnson Jun 25 '13 at 20:27

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