SPLIT(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual SPLIT(1)


splitsplit a file into pieces


split -d [ -l line_count][ -a suffix_length][ file [ prefix]]

split -d -b byte_count[ K| k| M| m| G| g][ -a suffix_length][ file [ prefix]]

split -d -n chunk_count [ -a suffix_length][ file [ prefix]]

split -d -p pattern [ -a suffix_length][ file [ prefix]]


The split utility reads the given file and breaks it up into files of 1000 lines each (if no options are specified), leaving the file unchanged. If file is a single dash (‘ -’) or absent, split reads from the standard input.

The options are as follows:

-a suffix_length
Use suffix_length letters to form the suffix of the file name.
-b byte_count[ K| k| M| m| G| g]
Create split files byte_count bytes in length. If k or K is appended to the number, the file is split into byte_count kilobyte pieces. If m or M is appended to the number, the file is split into byte_count megabyte pieces. If g or G is appended to the number, the file is split into byte_count gigabyte pieces.
Use a numeric suffix instead of a alphabetic suffix.
-l line_count
Create split files line_count lines in length.
-n chunk_count
Split file into chunk_count smaller files.
-p pattern
The file is split whenever an input line matches pattern, which is interpreted as an extended regular expression. The matching line will be the first line of the next output file. This option is incompatible with the -b and -l options.

If additional arguments are specified, the first is used as the name of the input file which is to be split. If a second additional argument is specified, it is used as a prefix for the names of the files into which the file is split. In this case, each file into which the file is split is named by the prefix followed by a lexically ordered suffix using suffix_length characters in the range “ a- z”. If -a is not specified, two letters are used as the suffix.

If the prefix argument is not specified, the file is split into lexically ordered files named with the prefix “ x” and with suffixes as above.


The LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE and LC_COLLATE environment variables affect the execution of split as described in environ(7).


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


The split utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (“POSIX.1”).


A split command appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX.


The maximum line length for matching patterns is 65536.
May 9, 2013 FreeBSD