I need to create a text file which should contain random text data that can be read by human. I know that we can use /dev/urandom and /dev/random for getting random data. But it is not readable by humans. I need to create a file which contains random text format. Is there any way to do that?


6 Answers 6


We can do it by following command

base64 /dev/urandom | head -c 10000000 > file.txt

It creates a file with name file.txt size of 10 MB.

  • 3
    This great, it also adds a newline every 76 characters too.
    – wisbucky
    Aug 28, 2019 at 21:29
  • use the -w 0 flag to base64 if you do NOT want those newlines. This will put everything on one line May 11, 2020 at 0:10

get the output of:

tr -dc A-Za-z0-9 </dev/urandom 

and pipe it to a file.

You can use head command with -c or -n to limit the file size

example to generate a 1kB file a.txt:

tr -dc A-Za-z0-9 </dev/urandom | head -c 1024 > a.txt
  • You can also use [:alnum:] instead of A-Za-z0-9. Also, if you want spaces and newlines sprinkled in, you can do this variation: tr -dc '[:alnum:] \n' ...
    – wisbucky
    Aug 28, 2019 at 22:03

The wamerican package provides a dictionary of words available under /usr/share/dict/words.

You can use the following trick to use these:

cat /usr/share/dict/words | sort -R | head -1024 > file.txt

Note that you don't specify the geometry (how many words per line, how many lines?)


base64 seems to only output alphanumeric characters plus / and +.

I like this to get more "punctuation" characters, like

  Punctuation characters; in the 'C' locale and ASCII character
  encoding, this is ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . / : ; < = > ? @ [ \
  ] ^ _ ` { | } ~

So use this:

     Graphical characters: '[:alnum:]' and '[:punct:]'

and use tr to remove single quotes ' backticks ` and backslashes \

tr -dc '[:graph:]' < /dev/urandom | tr -d \''\\'\` | head -c [size]

the -c size option to head can have a multiplier suffix: b 512, kB 1000, K 1024, MB 1000*1000, M 1024*1024, GB 1000*1000*1000, G 1024*1024*1024, and so on for T, P, E, Z, Y.


If you don't have /dev/urandom (because maybe you're using a GitBash console), you can use:

openssl rand 33000 -base64 -out dump.txt

improved version of the suggestion from Clement (above):

shuf -n 100 /usr/share/dict/words | fmt -w 72

adjust the "-n" and "-w" arguments for total number of words and line length, respectively.

this version eliminates the excessive number of proper nouns and possessives in the word list:

(sed -e "/^[A-Z]/d" -e "/'s\$/d" | shuf -n 100 | fmt -w 72) </usr/share/dict/words

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.