How can I
grep for Unicode Character 'ZERO WIDTH SPACE' (U+200B) in Linux?
$ grep '%U200B' filename?
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
First let's print one:
$ printf %b '\u200b' | uniname character byte UTF-32 encoded as glyph name 0 0 00200B E2 80 8B ZERO WIDTH SPACE
Now we should be able to use the same format to search for it (using Bash):
$ printf %b '\u200b' | grep -q "$(printf %b '\u200b')" $ echo $? 0
The trick here is that
printf %b treats the arguments as encoded characters, so you can use
\x to print single-byte characters and
\u* to print multi-byte characters.
To find it in a file, simply do this:
grep "$(printf %b '\u200b')" filename
* The POSIX specification isn't actually clear on how
%b works. The
printf page says "The %b conversion specification [...] has been added here as a portable way to process -escapes expanded in string operands as provided by the echo utility", and the
echo page shows a single undocumented example of its use.
$ printf %b '\u200b' > test.txt $ grep -q "$(printf %b '\u200b')" test.txt $ echo $? 0
The following, works fine. I created the file with BabelMap(google) and used it's save option.
Created file w/line nums 1-5 and on line 4 added the zero len space:
> hexdump testout.txt -C 00000000 31 0a 32 0a 32 0a 33 0a 34 20 e2 80 8b 0a 35 0a |18.104.22.168.4 ....5.| 00000010
Note the utf8 encoding of the char 'e2808b' in the file.
This simple grep finds the correct line:
> grep $'\u200b' testout.txt 4 > grep $'\u200b' testout.txt|hexdump -C 00000000 34 20 e2 80 8b 0a |4 ....| 00000006
FWIW, my GREP_OPTIONS are set: "--color=auto -I -D skip -d skip", but I don't think any of them are relevant.