pr — convert text files for printing


pr [OPTION...] [FILE...]


Paginate or columnate FILE(s) for printing.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.


begin [stop] printing with page FIRST_[LAST_]PAGE

−COLUMN, −−columns=COLUMN

output COLUMN columns and print columns down, unless −a is used. Balance number of lines in the columns on each page

−a, −−across

print columns across rather than down, used together with −COLUMN

−c, −−show−control−chars

use hat notation (^G) and octal backslash notation

−d, −−double−space

double space the output

−D, −−date−format=FORMAT

use FORMAT for the header date

−e[CHAR[WIDTH]], −−expand−tabs[=CHAR[WIDTH]]

expand input CHARs (TABs) to tab WIDTH (8)

−F, −f, −−form−feed

use form feeds instead of newlines to separate pages (by a 3−line page header with −F or a 5−line header and trailer without −F)

−h, −−header=HEADER

use a centered HEADER instead of filename in page header, −h "" prints a blank line, don't use −h""

−i[CHAR[WIDTH]], −−output−tabs[=CHAR[WIDTH]]

replace spaces with CHARs (TABs) to tab WIDTH (8)

−J, −−join−lines

merge full lines, turns off −W line truncation, no column alignment, −−sep−string[=STRING] sets separators

−l, −−length=PAGE_LENGTH

set the page length to PAGE_LENGTH (66) lines (default number of lines of text 56, and with −F 63)

−m, −−merge

print all files in parallel, one in each column, truncate lines, but join lines of full length with −J

−n[SEP[DIGITS]], −−number−lines[=SEP[DIGITS]]

number lines, use DIGITS (5) digits, then SEP (TAB), default counting starts with 1st line of input file

−N, −−first−line−number=NUMBER

start counting with NUMBER at 1st line of first page printed (see +FIRST_PAGE)

−o, −−indent=MARGIN

offset each line with MARGIN (zero) spaces, do not affect −w or −W, MARGIN will be added to PAGE_WIDTH

−r, −−no−file−warnings

omit warning when a file cannot be opened

−s[CHAR], −−separator[=CHAR]

separate columns by a single character, default for CHAR is the <TAB> character without −w and 'no char' with −w −s[CHAR] turns off line truncation of all 3 column options (−COLUMN|−a −COLUMN|−m) except −w is set

−S[STRING], −−sep−string[=STRING]

separate columns by STRING, without −S: Default separator <TAB> with −J and <space> otherwise (same as −S" "), no effect on column options

−t, −−omit−header

omit page headers and trailers

−T, −−omit−pagination

omit page headers and trailers, eliminate any pagination by form feeds set in input files

−v, −−show−nonprinting

use octal backslash notation

−w, −−width=PAGE_WIDTH

set page width to PAGE_WIDTH (72) characters for multiple text−column output only, −s[char] turns off (72)

−W, −−page−width=PAGE_WIDTH

set page width to PAGE_WIDTH (72) characters always, truncate lines, except −J option is set, no interference with −S or −s


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

−t is implied if PAGE_LENGTH <= 10. With no FILE, or when FILE is −, read standard input.


Written by Pete TerMaat and Roland Huebner.


Report pr bugs to bug−

GNU coreutils home page: <>

General help using GNU software: <>

Report pr translation bugs to <>


The full documentation for pr is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and pr programs are properly installed at your site, the command

  • info coreutils 'pr invocation'

should give you access to the complete manual.


Copyright © 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.

This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.