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Remove the newline character from a text file

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Problem

I had a text file that contained only one line. For some reason I wanted to remove the trailing newline character (‘\n‘). However, it’s not that easy :) Most text editors automatically add a newline after every line. This is a normal behaviour actually, every line should end with a newline character. But if you want to get rid of it, how to do that?

Solution

You can remove the trailing newline with a hex editor. In the Ubuntu repositories I found hex (from package ‘hex‘) and ghex2 (from package ‘ghex‘). The first one, hex, is very simple, it just prints out the contents of a file, similarly to cat. It is good to identify the newline character. To edit the file, you can use the latter, ghex2.

Update (20140601): another hex editor is called “hexedit“. To use it, install it from the package with the same name.

Test

To test your favourite text editor, create a simple file that contains the word “test”, without quotes (i.e. 4 characters). Do not press ENTER at the end. Save it and check its size. If it’s larger than 4 bytes, then the newline character was added automatically. With the command hex you can verify it.

Windows
If you need a hex editor for Windows, try HxD. It’s a freeware hex editor and disk editor.

Categories: bash, windows Tags: , , , , , ,