Delete First line of a file

How can I delete the first line of a file and keep the changes?

I tried this but it erases the whole content of the file.

$sed 1d file.txt > file.txt
Asked By: kickass13


The reason file.txt is empty after that command is the order in which the shell does things. The first thing that happens with that line is the redirection. The file “file.txt” is opened and truncated to 0 bytes. After that the sed command runs, but at the point the file is already empty.

There are a few options, most involve writing to a temporary file.

sed '1d' file.txt > tmpfile; mv tmpfile file.txt # POSIX
sed -i '1d' file.txt # GNU sed only, creates a temporary file

perl -ip -e '$_ = undef if $. == 1' file.txt # also creates a temporary file
Answered By: jordanm

Also take a look at sponge from
moreutils. sponge soaks in data from
standard input until standard input’s writing end closes before writing to a
file. It is used like so:

sed '1d' file.txt | sponge file.txt
Answered By: user26112

ex can be used for true in-place editing that does not involve a temp file

ex -c ':1d' -c ':wq' file.txt
Answered By: iruvar

An alternative very lightweight option is just to ‘tail’ everything but the first line (this can be an easy way to remove file headers generally):

# -n +2 : start at line 2 of the file.
tail -n +2 file.txt > file.stdout

Following @Evan Teitelman, you can:

tail -n +2 file.txt | sponge file.txt

To avoid a temporary file. Another option might be:

echo "$(tail -n +2 file.txt)" > file.txt

And so forth. Testing last one:

[user@work ~]$ cat file.txt
line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5

[user@work ~]$ echo "$(tail -n +2 file.txt)" > file.txt
[user@work ~]$ cat file.txt
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5
[user@work ~]$ 

Oops we lost a newline (per @1_CR comment below), try instead:

printf "%snn" "$(tail -n +2 file.txt)" > file.txt

[user@work ~]$ cat file.txt
line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5

[user@work ~]$ printf '%snn' "$(tail -n +2 file.txt)" > file.txt
[user@work ~]$ cat file.txt
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5  

[user@work ~]$ 

Coming back to sed, try:

printf '%snn' "$(sed '1d' file.txt)" > file.txt

or perhaps

echo -e "$(sed '1d' file.txt)n" > file.txt

To avoid side effects.

Answered By: AsymLabs

This command will remove 1 line and save as “file.txt”.

sed '1d' file.txt  > /tmp/file.txt && mv /tmp/file.txt file.txt || rm -f /tmp/file.txt
Answered By: Ritesh Singh

This topic is interest, so I test the benchmark in 3 ways:

  1. sed '1d' d.txt > tmp.txt
  2. tail -n +2 d.txt > tmp.txt
  3. sed -i '1d' d.txt

Note that target d.txt is 5.4GB file

Get the result :

run 1 : sed '1d' d.txt > r1.txt
run 2 : tail -n +2 d.txt > r2.txt
run 3 : sed -i '1d' d.txt

Conclusion : It seems below be the quickest way:

sed '1d' file.txt > tmpfile; mv tmpfile file.txt

Answered By: waue0920

To delete a particular line in file:

  1. Delete first line
    sed '1d' file
  2. Delete first and third line
    sed '1d3d' file

To delete a charecter in a line

  1. Delete First two charters in lin
    sed 's/^..//' file
  2. Delete last two chrecters in line
    sed 's/..$//' file
  3. Delete blank line
    sed '/^$/d' file
Answered By: Vivek parikh

You can use Vim in Ex mode:

ex -s -c '1d|x' file.txt
  1. 1 find first line

  2. d delete

  3. x save and close

Answered By: Zombo

The shortest and simplest way to delete the first line from a file using sed is:

$ sed -i -n -e '2,$p' file.txt
Answered By: starfry

Could use vim to do this:

vim -u NONE +'1d' +wq! /tmp/test.txt
Answered By: Hongbo Liu

You can try this:

awk 'NR>1 {print}' file.txt > file1.txt
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