I have the following files:

$ ls *.png | egrep -i "am|pm"
output-0 11.42.30 AM.png
output-0 5.10.12 PM.png

I want to remove them but get this error:

$ ls *.png | egrep -i "am|pm" | while read line; do rm "$line"; done
rm: cannot remove ''$'\033''[0m'$'\033''[01;35moutput-0 11.42.30 AM.png'$'\033''[0m': No such file or directory
rm: cannot remove ''$'\033''[01;35moutput-0 5.10.12 PM.png'$'\033''[0m': No such file or directory
rm: cannot remove ''$'\033''[01;35moutput-1 11.42.30 AM.png'$'\033''[0m': No such file or directory

What's the problem with my codes?


ls is risky in scripts and command lines. One problem is what is described in a comment by @PerlDuck, ANSI escape sequences for colour output. I would recommend another approach with find

  • Create test files

    touch 'output-0 11.42.30 AM.png' 'output-0 5.10.12 PM.png' asdf.png
  • Check that the findcommand line finds the files that you expect it to find

    find . -type f -iname "*[ap]m*.png"

    and do it

    find . -type f -iname "*[ap]m*.png" -delete

    If you don't want to search into subdirectories, add -maxdepth 1

    find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -iname "*[ap]m*.png" -delete
  • Check the result


    Files with am, pm, AM, PM in the name should be deleted but asdf.png is not deleted.


If you really want to use a while read loop in that way, then use a shell glob and printf with null delimiters e.g.

printf '%s\0' *.png | grep -zEi 'am|pm' | while IFS= read -r -d '' line; do echo "$line"; done

However, there are several ways to get bash to expand to a list of the files to be deleted directly - without the need to pipe to grep and while:

  1. using simple shell globs

    rm -- *[ap]m.png *[AP]M.png

    or - if you don't mind matching a .PNG extension as well - making use of the nocaseglob option

    shopt -s nocaseglob
    rm -- *[ap]m.png
  2. using extended globs

    shopt -s extglob
    rm -- *@(AM|PM).png *@(am|pm).png


    shopt -s extglob nocaseglob
    rm -- *@(am|pm).png

The -- marks the end of options, just in case there are filenames that begin with a hyphen - you can use a pattern with an explicit directory prefix like ./*(am|pm) instead if you prefer.

Add the -i or -I option if you want to review the file names interactively before deletion.

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