split — split a file into pieces


split [OPTION...] [ INPUT [PREFIX] ]


Output fixed−size pieces of INPUT to PREFIXaa, PREFIXab, ...; default size is 1000 lines, and default PREFIX is 'x'. With no INPUT, or when INPUT is −, read standard input.

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

−a, −−suffix−length=N

generate suffixes of length N (default 2)


append an additional SUFFIX to file names.

−b, −−bytes=SIZE

put SIZE bytes per output file

−C, −−line−bytes=SIZE

put at most SIZE bytes of lines per output file

−d, −−numeric−suffixes[=FROM]

use numeric suffixes instead of alphabetic. FROM changes the start value (default 0).

−e, −−elide−empty−files

do not generate empty output files with '−n'


write to shell COMMAND; file name is $FILE

−l, −−lines=NUMBER

put NUMBER lines per output file

−n, −−number=CHUNKS

generate CHUNKS output files. See below

−u, −−unbuffered

immediately copy input to output with '−n r/...'


print a diagnostic just before each output file is opened


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

SIZE is an integer and optional unit (example: 10M is 10*1024*1024). Units are K, M, G, T, P, E, Z, Y (powers of 1024) or KB, MB, ... (powers of 1000).

CHUNKS may be: N split into N files based on size of input K/N output Kth of N to stdout l/N split into N files without splitting lines l/K/N output Kth of N to stdout without splitting lines r/N like 'l' but use round robin distribution r/K/N likewise but only output Kth of N to stdout


Written by Torbjorn Granlund and Richard M. Stallman.


Report split bugs to bug−

GNU coreutils home page: <>

General help using GNU software: <>

Report split translation bugs to <>


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

  • info coreutils 'split 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.