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How can I read file in shell script , then assign each line to an variable that i can use later ,,,(am thinking in way to load an default setting from file)

i already try :

process (){


read -p "Please enter name of default file : " FILE

if [ ! -f $FILE  ]; then

    echo "$FILE : does not exists "
    exit 1
elif [ ! -r $FILE  ]; then

    echo "$FILE : can not read "

exec 0<"$FILE"
while read -r line
   (assign each line to an variable) 
share|improve this question
any way (concept) that to load an default parameter that user saved in (file) , would be accepted :) – moata_u Mar 10 '11 at 7:09
Using . /path/to/config is the best approach for setting defaults, but if you need to set lines of a file to an array variable (as your question title suggests), bash 4.0 has new builtin commands called readarray and mapfile. – Mikel Mar 10 '11 at 19:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

For configuration purposes it's probably easiest to define the parameters in the configuration file in bash syntax and later source it using . /path/to/config.

Example default.cfg:

parameter_c="Hello world"



# source the default configuration
. /path/to/default.cfg

echo $parameter_a
echo $parameter_b
echo "$parameter_c"


If you don't like that approach you can also read the lines into an array:

while read line
done < some_file

To access the items you would then use ${array[index]}, e.g.:

for ((i=0; i < ${#array[*]}; i++))
    echo "${array[i]}"

(Where ${#array[*]} is the size of the array.)

Read more about arrays in bash here.

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Thanks that was very helpful..100% – moata_u Mar 10 '11 at 8:53
I'd use array+=("$line") rather than array[${#array[*]}]="$line", or if one needs to support bash older than v3.1, array[i++]=$line (where you make sure to set i=0 before the loop of course). – geirha Mar 10 '11 at 16:13
I too recommend the source-approach btw. Though I'd use lowercase variable names rather than all uppercase... to avoid overwriting environment variables or internal shell variables. – geirha Mar 10 '11 at 16:22
@geirha: Thanks (once again) for your comments! Didn't know about the +=() syntax, which is definitely easier to read (and write). – htorque Mar 10 '11 at 17:23
c=0 # counter
# read whole file in loop
while read line
  textArray[$c]=$line # store line
  c=$(expr $c + 1) # increase counter by 1
done < $FILE
# get length of array
len=$(expr $c - 1 )

# use for loop to reverse the array
for (( i=$len; i>=0; i-- ));
  echo ${textArray[$i]}
share|improve this answer
Don't use expr in bash, bash can do everything expr can, and better. The first "if" there makes no sense, you are not checking if a file exists... Lastly, quote all parameter expansions; "$foo", not $foo. See – geirha Mar 10 '11 at 16:52

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