cut: Exactly what it says

I will only take a few moments to show what cut can do. Another gem from the coreutils package, cut … well, cut … cuts apart text. 🙄

So here’s an idea for you: Let’s imagine that you’re a bit obsessive like me, and you want to inject the file creation date of a video file into its filename.

Yeah, I know. It’s odd. 😳

I can extract that information with mediainfo. I can filter out the “Encoded date” with grep, but I still have a line of data that looks like this.

Encoded date                             : UTC 2013-09-22 04:32:37

Now I need to carve out the date and time so they can be pushed into the file name. That’s where cut comes in.

With cut, I can select specific character counts, certain delimiters, or just about anything else, and get back the string of data I want. So …

cut -c48-

The -c flag means cut at characters. The 48 means the 48th character in line. And the final hyphen means continue to the end of the stream. And what do I get in reply?

2013-09-22 04:32:37

Nice and pretty.

That’s just one oddball example; there are pages and pages around the Internet that can coach you through cut. Not to play favorites, but here’s one that might help you get started.

Enjoy. 😉

P.S.: Why such an obtuse example? Because I just needed cut for that very thing, only three days before I wrote this post. … 🙄