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How to use Head and Tail command in Linux

What is Head Command?

Head command is used to display first part of files given to its standard output.

What is Tail Command?

Tail is a program available on Unix, Unix-like systems used to display the last number of data of the given input or piped data.

How to use Head Command?

By default head command list first ten lines of a file. In following example I will show you the first Ten lines of /etc/shadow file.

head /etc/shadow

Check your desired number of lines using head command

Now, you will see first 15 lines of /etc/shadow file

-n used to define lines.
15 it is number of lines

head -n15 /etc/shadow

How to use Tail Command?

Like head command, tail is also display 10 lines by default but these are last 10 lines of a file. use following command to list last lines of a file.

tail /etc/shadow

Now if you want to see last 15 lines of /etc/shadow file. Then run following command

tail -n15 /etc/shadow

That’s about it!



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