The use case is that I am searching for a particular CSS attribute in a directory of HTML/CSS/JS files (including sub-directories). Some one-liner JS libraries also have the CSS attribute that I'm searching for.

So is there a way to tell grep that it should not give result on a line which is longer than my defined $max_line_length?

2 Answers 2


First approach, try to exclude the one-liner JS files from being grepped in the first place. Often these will have a name like some-library.min.js, so you could do something like:

$ grep --exclude '*.min.js' ...

Another approach is that if you know that it's going to be in a CSS file, you can use ack to restrict your search to CSS files (and ignore various VCS cruft):

$ ack --type=css ...

However, to answer your question, you can write a regular expression to match on line length. The following will match any line with 100 or fewer characters.

$ grep -E '^.{,100}$'
  • 2
    +1 ack-grep on some systems Jul 14, 2012 at 11:38
  • 1
    Also, ack will ignore minified Javascript files. It sees them as not being source code, and so ignores. Jul 23, 2012 at 14:07
  • 2
    My grep only worked with {0,100} for some reason.
    – temoto
    Jan 30, 2013 at 12:34

I prefer to pipe through cut to cut the lines amd invert match -v to exclude stuff. Better readable to me. I guess perfomance wise not optimal

grep -r something . | cut -b 1-99 | grep -v min.js
  • They don't want to cut the lines, they want exclude lines longer than $max_line_length
    – Toto
    Jan 23, 2020 at 13:19

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