Is there a way to search the content of a specific column of a csv file using the terminal. But that it still returns all the information of the rest of the columns.

I want to be able to search for a string in a column of a csv file and if it matches return all of the information in the same Row

Is there away of implementing it into a shell bash file and ask the user what string to search

  • You can use awk. Have you tried anything so far?
    – muru
    Dec 16, 2014 at 17:23
  • How would I use the awk command @muru
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 17:30
  • Like so: awk -F, '$N == 'some string', replacing N with the column number under consideration.
    – muru
    Dec 16, 2014 at 17:31
  • Where would I enter the file name
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 17:34
  • Where would I add the file name @muru
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


Lets say your string to search is "name" in the 4th column, then use

awk -F ',' '$4 ~ /^name$/' filename.csv
awk -F',' '$N == "string to search"' filename.csv

Replace N with column number and filename.csv with filename to search

  • How could you implement this into a shell bash file and ask the user the string to search @KasiyA
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 18:11
  • printf "please enter pattern to search:\n%s"; read pattern; awk -v patt="$pattern" -F',' '$N == patt' filename.csv Dec 16, 2014 at 18:32
  • Could you be more clear in your answer @KasiyA
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 18:34
  • printf "please enter pattern to search:\n%s" jut prints the please enter pattern to search: then prints a new-line(\n). read pattern read from stdin and store the input into pattern variable. then in -v patt="$pattern", stored or entered string from user, copies into awk patt local variable and rest of the command search in column $N if it's equal with user entered input. Dec 16, 2014 at 18:40
  • I have tried what you said and it does not display any results
    – Jhondoe
    Dec 16, 2014 at 18:43

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