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HEAD(1) General Commands Manual HEAD(1)

head
display first few lines of files

head [-count | -n count] [file ...]

The head utility copies the first count lines of each specified file to the standard output. If no files are named, head copies lines from the standard input. If count is omitted, it defaults to 10.

The options are as follows:

-count | count
Copy the first count lines of each input file to the standard output. count must be a positive decimal integer.

If more than one file is specified, head precedes the output of each file with the following, in order to distinguish the head of each file:

==> file <==

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

To display the first 500 lines of the file foo:

$ head -500 foo

head can be used in conjunction with tail(1) in the following way to, for example, display only line 500 from the file foo:

$ head -500 foo | tail -1

cat(1), less(1), more(1), tail(1)

The head utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”) specification.

The historic command line syntax is supported by this implementation.

The head utility first appeared in 1BSD.

Bill Joy, August 24, 1977.
December 28, 2011 OpenBSD-5.1