Delete text block with awk

Posted on 2013-06-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-06-13
I have big files with a lot of blocks of text like below

START SECTION - Description about block
Here text (can be a lot of lines)

START SECTION - Description about block
Here text (can be a lot of lines)


I am redirecting each block to the separate file using command below:
 awk '/START SECTION/{n++}{print >"out" n ".txt" }' input_file.txt

I need to delete each block from input file after it was redirected to the separated file

Question by:IKeystone

Accepted Solution

Beneford earned 2000 total points
ID: 39238602
You can do that with sed.

sed -e "/START SECTION/,/END SECTION/d" < input_file.txt > reduced_file.txt
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39242959
Hi IKeystone,

As you've probably noticed, Beneford's solution doesn't replace the awk solution you've provided, but needs to be run in addition to (and after) it.
Some notes:
- sed's '-e' switch is not necessary in this case.
- Change 'END SECTION' to 'END  SECTION' (extra space) so it will work with your input data.
- To do an in-place edit on the input file, you could do:
    sed -i '/START SECTION/,/END  SECTION/d' input_file.txt
Unfortunately, I don't think awk can do in-place edits, though this can be easily worked around.

Q1.  Would you accept a Perl solution which handles all the things you've asked for?
Q2.  Are you completely happy with what your awk solution does, apart from the fact that it doesn't delete the matched blocks from the input file?  (Please answer this one carefully.)


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