i have looked everywhere and im feeling hopeless

my file is this

 mkdir -p ~/Desktop/new_file && echo "hello\\world > ~/Desktop/new_file.txt

I've also tried

 hello\n world

 hello ; world

I'm trying to accomplish a return signal to my hello world output for a multi line sentence all from the terminal


The man page for echo shows the following:

       Echo the STRING(s) to standard output.

       -n     do not output the trailing newline

       -e     enable interpretation of backslash escapes

Which means that if you want multi-line output, you would simply start with echo -e and would add in a \n for new line.

mkdir -p ~/Desktop/new_file && echo -e "hello\nworld" >> ~/Desktop/new_file/new_file.txt

Hope this helps!

  • its a text file inside a directory with hello world inside the text file
    – user610658
    Mar 26 '17 at 4:03
  • @hellomoto Ah, OK. In your example, you are not writing into the new folder.
    – Terrance
    Mar 26 '17 at 4:04
  • @hellomoto Updated my answer for you.
    – Terrance
    Mar 26 '17 at 4:05
  • thank you Terrance, so its better to use >> instead of >
    – user610658
    Mar 26 '17 at 4:07
  • @hellomoto >> and > will both create the file. However, > will overwrite the file if anything is in it and you want to create a new one. >> will append to the file if it already exists. If it does not, it will create one. Usually, I like to use >> if I am putting multiple lines in a file as to not accidentally overwrite all the lines that were just barely added. If you did a loop file that kept reading lines, the only line you would see with > would be the very last time it looped through. So, you can make the choice.
    – Terrance
    Mar 26 '17 at 22:24

First, although your title mentions touch, the command you have actually used is mkdir so you have created a directory called new_file. You will not be able to write text to new_file as-is.

In fact there's no need to create the target file in a separate step: redirecting a command's standard output to a named file will create it automatically if it does not already exist. You can remove the (empty) new_file directory using rmdir ~/Desktop/new_file

For the reasons outlined here Why is printf better than echo? you might want to consider instead using

printf 'Hello\nworld\n' > ~/Desktop/new_file

or use a here document

cat > ~/Desktop/new_file

which allows you to enter multiline text directly, terminating the input with Ctrl+D when you're done.

In either case, you can replace > by >> if you want to append to, rather than overwrite the existing contents of, the file.


If I understand your question correctly you want to use:

echo "hello" > ~/Desktop/new_file.txt && echo "world" >> ~/Desktop/new_file.txt

Then to check the results use cat ~/Desktop/new_file.txt which shows:


There's a shorter way of doing this but I'm kind of new to Linux myself.

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