PASTE(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual PASTE(1)


pastemerge corresponding or subsequent lines of files


paste [ -s][ -d list] file ...


The paste utility concatenates the corresponding lines of the given input files, replacing all but the last file's newline characters with a single tab character, and writes the resulting lines to standard output. If end-of-file is reached on an input file while other input files still contain data, the file is treated as if it were an endless source of empty lines.

The options are as follows:

-d list
Use one or more of the provided characters to replace the newline characters instead of the default tab. The characters in list are used circularly, i.e., when list is exhausted the first character from list is reused. This continues until a line from the last input file (in default operation) or the last line in each file (using the -s option) is displayed, at which time paste begins selecting characters from the beginning of list again.

The following special characters can also be used in list:

newline character
tab character
backslash character
Empty string (not a null character).

Any other character preceded by a backslash is equivalent to the character itself.

Concatenate all of the lines of each separate input file in command line order. The newline character of every line except the last line in each input file is replaced with the tab character, unless otherwise specified by the -d option.

If ‘ -’ is specified for one or more of the input files, the standard input is used; standard input is read one line at a time, circularly, for each instance of ‘ -’.


The paste utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


List the files in the current directory in three columns:

ls | paste - - -

Combine pairs of lines from a file into single lines:

paste -s -d '\t\n' myfile

Number the lines in a file, similar to nl(1):

sed = myfile | paste -s -d '\t\n' - -

Create a colon-separated list of directories named bin, suitable for use in the PATH environment variable:

find / -name bin -type d | paste -s -d : -


cut(1), lam(1)


The paste utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2 (“POSIX.2”) compatible.


A paste command appeared in Version 32V AT&T UNIX.
June 25, 2004 FreeBSD