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GNU coreutils 8.32
March 2020


The basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities of the GNU operating system


coreutils common optional components


Documentation for the GNU Core Utilities


printf - format and print data


printf \,FORMAT \/[\,ARGUMENT\/]...
printf \,OPTION\/


Print ARGUMENT(s) according to FORMAT, or execute according to OPTION:
--help display this help and exit
output version information and exit
FORMAT controls the output as in C printf. Interpreted sequences are:
\" double quote
\\ backslash
\a alert (BEL)
\b backspace
\c produce no further output
\e escape
\f form feed
\n new line
\r carriage return
\t horizontal tab
\v vertical tab
\NNN byte with octal value NNN (1 to 3 digits)
\xHH byte with hexadecimal value HH (1 to 2 digits)
\uHHHH Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646) character with hex value HHHH (4 digits)
Unicode character with hex value HHHHHHHH (8 digits)
%% a single %
%b ARGUMENT as a string with ’\’ escapes interpreted, except that octal escapes are of the form \0 or \0NNN
%q ARGUMENT is printed in a format that can be reused as shell input, escaping non-printable characters with the proposed POSIX $’’ syntax.
and all C format specifications ending with one of diouxXfeEgGcs, with ARGUMENTs converted to proper type first. Variable widths are handled.
NOTE: your shell may have its own version of printf, which usually supersedes the version described here. Please refer to your shell’s documentation for details about the options it supports.


Written by David MacKenzie.


GNU coreutils online help: <>
Report any translation bugs to <>


Copyright © 2020 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.


Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info \(aq(coreutils) printf invocation\(aq
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