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How to increment a numeric variable in bash? I tried with var=$var+1 and var=($var+1) but it doesn't work. My variable is a number, but bash think that is a string. My bash version is 4.2.45(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu) and I use Ubuntu 13.10.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 102 down vote accepted

There are more than one way to increment a variable in bash, but what you tried is not correct.

You can use for example arithmetic expansion:


or only:




or even:


Or you can use let:

let "var=var+1"

or only:

let "var+=1"

or even:

let "var++"

See also: http://tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/dblparens.html.

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or ((++var)) or ((var=var+1)) or ((var+=1)). –  gniourf_gniourf Dec 3 '13 at 18:30
or var=$(expr $var + 1) –  chilicuil Dec 3 '13 at 23:20
Curiously, var=0; ((var++)) returns an error code while var=0; ((var++)); ((var++)) does not. Any idea why? –  phunehehe Mar 26 '14 at 9:36
@RaduRădeanu I'm sure, the same thing happens in zsh too. Actually maybe I didn't make myself clear. This prints 1 (an error code) instead of 0 (successful): var=0; ((var++)); echo $?. –  phunehehe Mar 27 '14 at 11:08
@phunehehe Look at help '(('. The last line says: Returns 1 if EXPRESSION evaluates to 0; returns 0 otherwise. –  Radu Rădeanu Mar 27 '14 at 11:41
var=$((var + 1))

Arithmetic in bash uses $((...)) syntax.

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