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How do I get the MD5 hash of a string directly from the terminal?

For example, I want the string abcdefg hashed. Currently the md5sum command only accepts a filename as input. I want to simply enter the following line and everything be done with.

md5sum abcdefg
output: ac54bcf346e578feb46888b3ecd2344f

How can I achieve that?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 61 down vote accepted

You can also say something like this :

~$ echo -n Welcome | md5sum
83218ac34c1834c26781fe4bde918ee4  -

It basically does the same thing as described by @enzotib, but is perhaps a bit simpler.

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You should add the -n flag to echo unless you want the newline included in the value being md5summed. –  David Jul 20 '11 at 12:49
Yep. you're right. –  jfmessier Aug 1 '11 at 14:32
You also want to update the example result, as 7803ffca... is the result with the added newline. The correct result for the command above is 83218ac34c1834c26781fe4bde918ee4 - –  Xanthir May 27 at 21:14

Very simple, it accepts stdin, so

md5sum <<<"my string"

To avoid the trailing newline added by the shell:

printf '%s' "my string" | md5sum
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ahhh you saved me! thanks a zillion! –  Hamed Momeni Jul 20 '11 at 11:14
@Hamed: if you are satisfied with the answer, you have the option to give it a vote, or better you can accept the answer (or both). –  enzotib Jul 20 '11 at 11:19
yeah I know. I was waiting for the time limit! ;) –  Hamed Momeni Jul 20 '11 at 11:36
Giving both @messier and @enzotib a vote; both fall in my prized "elegant simplicity" category. I'd be apt to use the <<<" pipe in a script; echo string wins for the commandline. Well done. –  Tom Jul 20 '11 at 17:01
Yes, it does, as I said between first and second example –  enzotib Jul 21 '11 at 18:32

Running md5sum with no arguments at all will cause it to read input from the terminal. Type or paste whatever you want, and when you are done, press ctrl-d to end the input.

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yeah, you're right too. but ctrl+d needs to be pressed twice for it to work. –  Hamed Momeni Sep 30 '11 at 13:57
@James, if it does not follow a newline, yes. If you hit it after hitting enter, it only needs once. When it does not follow a newline, it just forces all of the characters typed on the line so far to be processed immediately instead of waiting for a newline. –  psusi Sep 30 '11 at 14:42

My quick poke at the --help for md5sum demonstrates that the command:

md5sum -

will then give a prompt for simple input. Inputting some text and then using Enter and then Ctrl+D to signify end of file then causes md5sum to spit out the MD5 of the raw text you entered.

Less to type and no piping! Woo!

If you do not hit Enter before Ctrl+D you will have to enter Ctrl+D twice, where the result is the wrong hash-sum.

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[test@~]$ echo -n 123456 | md5sum | awk '{print $1}'


you can create a shell script.

For example,the script name is md5.sh:


echo   -n   $1 | md5sum | awk '{print $1}'

permission execute:

 chmod +x md5.sh

[test@~]$ md5.sh 123456


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In my scripts I found that there are 2 things that you should know about this issue.

  • It does not matter if you do 'echo "$myvariable"' or 'echo -n "$myvariable"'
    but you should always use the doubleqoutes for strings and always use the same method. if not things won't match.
  • in the output you get always a trailing space and a dash as shown in the example:

    ~$ echo -n Welcome | md5sum
    7803ffcaea43bb81a439fde13b29bc35 -

to get rid of that and stay only with the code '7803ffcaea43bb81a439fde13b29bc35'
do: 'echo "$myvariable" | md5sum | cut -d" " -f1'

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