nl-(1) manual page


nl – number lines of files


nl [OPTION]… [FILE]…


Write each FILE to standard output, with line numbers added. With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-b, –body-numbering=STYLE
use STYLE for numbering body lines
-d, –section-delimiter=CC
use CC for separating logical pages
-f, –footer-numbering=STYLE
use STYLE for numbering footer lines
-h, –header-numbering=STYLE
use STYLE for numbering header lines
-i, –page-increment=NUMBER
line number increment at each line
-l, –join-blank-lines=NUMBER
group of NUMBER empty lines counted as one
-n, –number-format=FORMAT
insert line numbers according to FORMAT
-p, –no-renumber
do not reset line numbers at logical pages
-s, –number-separator=STRING
add STRING after (possible) line number
-v, –first-page=NUMBER
first line number on each logical page
-w, –number-width=NUMBER
use NUMBER columns for line numbers
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

By default, selects -v1 -i1 -l1 -sTAB -w6-nrn -hn -bt -fn. CC are two delimiter characters for separating logical pages, a missing second character implies :. Type \\ for \. STYLE is one of:

number all lines
number only nonempty lines
number no lines
number only lines that contain a match for the basic regular expression, BRE

FORMAT is one of:

left justified, no leading zeros
right justified, no leading zeros
right justified, leading zeros


Written by Scott Bartram and David MacKenzie.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later < >
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

See Also

The full documentation for nl is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and nl programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info nl

should give you access to the complete manual.