I have to get the count of lines from incoming CSV files.

I have used the following command to get the count.

wc -l filename.csv

Consider a file coming with 1 record, I am getting some files with a \* at the start, and for those files if I issue the above command it returns count of 0.

Why is \* at the beginning of the file not register as a counted line and is there a work around?

  • try "cat filename.csv | wc -l" – chaput Mar 19 '14 at 16:30
  • 4
    "cat filename.csv | wc -l" logically does the same thing as "wc -l filename.csv" but is less efficient and elegant – Alex Mar 19 '14 at 16:47
  • Devoloper250, could you clarify that last paragraph a bit more? An example might help too. – Alex Mar 19 '14 at 16:48
  • eg: Iam getting csv files with 1 record which have *(asterisk) in the start of line. When i issue wc -l fn.csv iam getting count as 0 but ideally it should be 1. Does *(asterisk) have any specific thing to do there like other wildcards ?? – Devoloper250 Mar 20 '14 at 6:15
  • What are the results when you run "cat filename.csv"? Also, what distribution are you using? – JNevill Mar 20 '14 at 15:40

A trick to ensure that also non-terminated lines are counted may be:

cat filename.csv | xargs -l echo | wc -l

This seems to count all non-empty lines, but skips empty lines.

Please note that is is rather ineffective, but that is probably not a problem for occational use.

Another possibility, counts all lines including non-terminated last line:

awk '{n+=1} END {print n}' filename.csv

Tested on RHEL 6.2. YMMV.

  • the awk command works on OS X – Micah Stubbs Sep 6 '16 at 18:25

wc will report 0 for files with only one line and no trailing newline. Maybe your one-record csv files are like this? You can look for trailing newlines with hexdump, e.g.:

hexdump -C fn.csv

Look for ascii code 0a at the end.

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