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I have data in text in a 4 columns but the last column is a text (contains variable strings) like as shown below

Column1 Column2 Column3 Column4
5678    567     56      hello
1234    123     12      hello there

I want to write or display only the 4th column using awk like: awk '{print $4}' but column4 only shows the first string. How can I be able to show text using awk or any other formatting command.

Thanks.

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I think the easiest way is probably a mix of tr (to ensure there's only one space between each column) and cut to grab the 4th and subsequent columns:

$ cat test.txt | tr -s ' ' | cut -f 4- -d ' '
Column4
hello
hello there

If you're certain that all the columns are alligned, with spaces (not tabs), then this is shorter:

$ cut -c 25- < test.txt
Column4
hello
hello there

And the obligatory awk solution:

$ awk '{ $1=$2=$3=""; print $0 }' < test.txt
   Column4
   hello
   hello there

Note the whitespace at the start of each line of output, compared to the previous two solutions.

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Column 4 is getting split when you use {print $4} because awk interprets and space (for example between "hello" and "there") as a delimiter, and in this example the "there" would be in field 5.

Depending on exactly how your file is formatted, there are a number of possible answers (some easier than others).

If all of the columns are separated by a single tab character, use

awk -F \t '{print $4}' (-F here sets the filed separator to a single tab)

If all of the columns are separator by one or more tab characters, use

awk -F '[\t]+' '{print $4}' (-F here sets the field separator to one or more tabs)

If the first there columns are always a fixed number of characters (say 20) then use

awk '{print substr($0, 21)}'

(the substr command simply prints the input lime from the 21st character to the end)

or, if none of the above

awk '{for (i=4; i<=NF; i++) printf "%s ", $i print ""}'

(this loop prints all fields from the fourth to the end of the line)

0

If the format of your input file is that each column is separated by two or more spaces, and a valid entry in column 4 will never have more than one space in a row, you could use the following solution, where the field separator is set to two or more spaces.

awk -F " [ ]+" '{print $4}'

Sample output:

hello hello there

(Note that the header "Column4" was rejected because there is only one space between each of the headings)

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