How to merge all (text) files in a directory into one?

I’ve got 14 files all being parts of one text. I’d like to merge them into one. How to do that?

Asked By: Ivan


This is technically what cat ("concatenate") is supposed to do, even though most people just use it for outputting files to stdout. If you give it multiple filenames it will output them all sequentially, and then you can redirect that into a new file; in the case of all files just use ./* (or /path/to/directory/* if you’re not in the directory already) and your shell will expand it to all the filenames (excluding hidden ones by default).

$ cat ./* > merged-file

Make sure you don’t use the csh or tcsh shells for that which expand the glob after opening the merged-file for output, and that merged-file doesn’t exist before hand, or you’ll likely end up with an infinite loop that fills up the filesystem.

The list of files is sorted lexically. If using zsh, you can change the order (to numeric, or by age, size…) with glob qualifiers.

To include files in sub-directories, use:

find . ! -path ./merged-file -type f -exec cat {} + > merged-file

Though beware the list of files is not sorted and hidden files are included. -type f here restricts to regular files only as it’s unlikely you’ll want to include other types of files. With GNU find, you can change it to -xtype f to also include symlinks to regular files.

With the zsh shell,

cat ./**/*(-.) > merged-file

Would do the same ((-.) achieving the equivalent of -xtype f) but give you a sorted list and exclude hidden files (add the D qualifier to bring them back). zargs can be used there to work around argument list too long errors.

Answered By: Michael Mrozek

The command

$ cat * > merged-file

actually has the undesired side-effect of including ‘merged-file’ in the concatenation, creating a run-away file. To get round this, either write the merged file to a different directory;

$ cat * > ../merged-file

or use a pattern match that will ignore the merged file;

$ cat *.txt > merged-file
Answered By: Christopher Jones

If your files aren’t in the same directory, you can use the find command before the concatenation:

find /path/to/directory/ -name *.csv -print0 | xargs -0 -I file cat file > merged.file

Very useful when your files are already ordered and you want to merge them to analyze them.

More portably:

find /path/to/directory/ -name *.csv -exec cat {} + > merged.file

This may or may not preserve file order.

Answered By: 3nrique0

You can specify the pattern of a file then merge all of them as follows:

cat *pattern* >> mergedfile
Answered By: user182845

Like the other ones from here say… You can use cat

Lets say you have:


And you want only file01 to file03 and fileA to fileC:

cat ~/file01 ~/file02 ~/file03 ~/fileA ~/fileB ~/fileC > merged-file

Or, using brace expansion:

cat ~/file0{1..3} ~/file{A..C} > merged-file

Or, using fancier brace expansion:

cat ~/file{0{1..3},{A..C}} > merged-file

Or you can use for loop:

for i in file0{1..3} file{A..C}; do cat ~/"$i"; done > merged-file
Answered By: Florin Idita

Another option is sed:

sed r 1.txt 2.txt 3.txt > merge.txt 


sed h 1.txt 2.txt 3.txt > merge.txt 


sed -n p 1.txt 2.txt 3.txt > merge.txt # -n is mandatory here

Or without redirection …

 sed wmerge.txt 1.txt 2.txt 3.txt

Note that last line write also merge.txt (not wmerge.txt!). You can use w”merge.txt” to avoid confusion with the file name, and -n for silent output.

Of course, you can also shorten the file list with wildcards. For instance, in case of numbered files as in the above examples, you can specify the range with braces in this way:

sed -n w"merge.txt" {1..3}.txt
Answered By: Harini
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