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I have a text file where each line has the format like this...

25126 Akers, David

And I'm needing to put it in a format like this to insert into a database...

25126;Akers, David;

Only problem is there might be some with names having spaces like...

25257 Ah You, C.J.

I was told I should use grep but I'm not sure how to go about doing it.

share|improve this question
Trying to make it clear: Does number always follow by space or can there be space in number as well? for e.g. 24 557 name, name Next does two names (fields) always separated by a comma? well if u answer no and yes to above questions then split number on the basis of space and name fields on the basis of comma – wisemonkey Aug 22 '11 at 19:53
Number is always followed by one space, and the name is always separated by a comma. I'm not familiar enough with grep to know how to do it though. That's why I was hoping someone could help. – fwaokda Aug 22 '11 at 19:57
You probably want to use sed not grep. Also, you might ask in the unix and linux stackexchange or even stackoverflow since this is more of a shell question no specific to Ubuntu. – Kris Harper Aug 22 '11 at 20:04
oh! ok my apologies will do. – fwaokda Aug 22 '11 at 20:10
up vote 3 down vote accepted

grep is not suitable for such a task, because it is a search tool, but if I understand correctly the problem, you can use sed, as in the following example:

sed 's/^\([0-9]\+\) \(.*\)$/\1;\2;/' input-file >output-file

To preventively check that all lines conform to the above pattern, run the following command

sed -n '/^\([0-9]\+\) \(.*\)$/!p' input-file

that should return nothing.

share|improve this answer
Thanks works beautifully! – fwaokda Aug 22 '11 at 20:15

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