I can maybe use < or > or |. Maybe I need to use grep?

  • 2
    What do you mean by a text? a file or some text in a file? echo "foo.foo.foo" | sed 's/\./ /g' – Zanna Nov 19 '16 at 9:48
  • 1
    @K.D.G i) you need to create a separate account for each SE site, but if you use the same credentials, the accounts will be linked. ii) While this site is indeed limited to Ubuntu exclusively, I don't see anything here that would be irrefutable proof that you are not using Ubuntu, so I also se no reason to close it. – terdon Nov 19 '16 at 14:30

You can make a function and add to the end of your ~/.bashrc, for example:

nodot() {  echo "$1" | sed 's/\./ /g' ; }

usage example:

$ nodot foo.foo.foo
foo foo foo

You can use this function in zsh too, just add to your ~/.zshrc instead.

  • 6
    @tbodt changing an accepted answer to completely replace it with another current answer is simply not done. – muru Nov 21 '16 at 2:27

You can use tr command to convert character.

% echo "foo.foo.foo" | tr '.' ' ' 
foo foo foo
  • cool tips never hear of "tr" before – K.D.G Nov 19 '16 at 13:41
  • 6
    tr is actually meant for exactly this purpose. sed is overkill. – Max Ried Nov 19 '16 at 15:06
  • 1
    +1 precisely for tr, which is a very useful tool that a lot of people don't seem to know about for some reason. Way simpler than sed for converting entire classes of characters. – fluffy Nov 19 '16 at 22:37
  • 5
    Never write it in 'C' if you can do it in 'awk'; Never do it in 'awk' if 'sed' can handle it; Never use 'sed' when 'tr' can do the job; Never invoke 'tr' when 'cat' is sufficient; Avoid using 'cat' whenever possible. --Taylor's Laws of Programming – Ross Presser Nov 20 '16 at 6:01
  • 1
    Nice answer. This answer should be accepted. – SuB Nov 20 '16 at 20:56

Using pure bash:

bash-3.2$ a='a.a.a'
bash-3.2$ echo "${a/./ }"
a a.a
bash-3.2$ echo "${a//./ }"
a a a

Using Internal Field Separator (IFS) variable:

bash-4.3$ old_ifs=$IFS
bash-4.3$ IFS="."
bash-4.3$ var="foo.foo.foo"
bash-4.3$ echo $var
foo foo foo
bash-4.3$ IFS=$old_ifs

This can be put nicely into a function:



    if set | grep -q "IFS";

    echo $string
    if [ "$ifs_unset" == "true" ];
       unset IFS

And run as so:

bash-4.3$ split_dot "foo.baz.bar"                                                                             
foo baz bar
  • 3
    Resetting IFS is a more tricky than just saving it to a variable and restoring the value. An unset IFS and an empty IFS have different behaviour, so you need to check whether it is unset or just empty, in case it was empty before. – muru Nov 19 '16 at 14:56
  • 5
    Functions don't run in subshells. Only some variables have different scope (the positional parameters, and a few others in listed in gnu.org/software/bash/manual/html_node/Shell-Functions.html). That's why we have the local keyword. – muru Nov 19 '16 at 15:02
  • 3
    So if OP had unset IFS for some reason previously, this function would set it to empty, which does have different behaviour. – muru Nov 19 '16 at 15:03
  • 2
    @fedorqui unfortunately even that won't work; since the IFS value is set too late for the current statement being parsed. You'd actually have to use a subshell (IFS=.; echo ...). Since this answer used a function, Serg could just change the braces to parentheses and not worry about resetting IFS at all – muru Nov 19 '16 at 15:15
  • 2
    @fedorqui you might find my similar question on U&L interesting: unix.stackexchange.com/q/264635/70524 (Gilles always gives very good answers) – muru Nov 19 '16 at 15:30

Anyone missed awk/perl/python/go:

% awk '{gsub(/[.]/, " ", $0); print}' <<<'foo.foo.foo'                      
foo foo foo

% perl -pe 's/\./ /g' <<<'foo.foo.foo'                                      
foo foo foo

% python -c 'import sys; print sys.stdin.read().replace(".", " ")' <<<'foo.foo.foo'
foo foo foo

% cat input.go
package main

import (

func main () {
    args := os.Args
    if len(args) != 2 {
        fmt.Println("Not enough arguments")
    out := strings.Replace(args[1], ".", " ", -1)

% go run input.go 'foo.foo.foo' 
foo foo foo

One can use xargs also. Here is a one-liner using xargs

$ echo "foo.foo.foo" | xargs -d .
foo foo foo

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