I would like to replace $fileWithPath in $file, however this doesn't work because (I think) path is not escaped. How to escape it?

sed -i 's/${fileWithPath}/HAHA/g' $file
sed -i 's|'$fileWithPath'|HAHA|g' file

Single quotes define a string literal. Putting the variable outside the literal allows the shell to expand that part.

Also: if you are going to parse paths, use a delimiter in the sed command that doesn't confuse with the directory delimiter "/".

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Beware that if $fileWithPath contains whitespace, the wrong pattern is inserted. – Lekensteyn Nov 7 '11 at 18:09
  • Your bonus tip about changing the delimiter for file paths was a life saver! – Shadoninja May 11 '16 at 23:55
  • I think you have too much quotes in your command. My example sed -i 's|auth-user-pass nordvpn.txt|auth-user-pass /etc/openvpn/nordvpn.txt|g' *.ovpn seems to work. – Léo Léopold Hertz 준영 Mar 5 '17 at 20:56
  • @LéoLéopoldHertz it will work as long as you don't need to expand a variable. My example used a variable so I had to use two single quotes sections (otherwise the variable wouldn't exapand). An option is to use double quotes instead, but that adds other effects to the sed string. – ata Apr 6 at 15:05

A better way for literal strings with forward slashes:

sed -i "s|my/path|my/other/path|g" myFileOfPaths.txt
| improve this answer | |
  • This one deserved an Oscar! Simple and elegant – Toan Nguyen Nov 8 '19 at 8:42

In circumstances where the replacement string or pattern string contain slashes, you can make use of the fact that GNU sed allows an alternative delimiter for the substitute command. Common choices for the delimiter are the pipe character | or the hash # - the best choice of delimiting character will often depend on the type of file being processed. In your case you can try

sed -i 's#'$fileWithPath'#HAHA#g' $file

The character 'g' after last # is used to change all occurrences in file if you need to change only first occurrence then remove the 'g'.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.