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How to Use the Bash echo Command, With Examples

The Bash echo command serves a simple purpose – it outputs (echos) text. Here’s how to use it, with examples.

echo Command Syntax

The echo command is very simple and has the following syntax:


Note that:

  • OPTIONS should be one of the following options
    • -n Do not output a trailing newline
    • -e Enable interpretation of backslash escapes
      • This means that escape characters can be used to insert special characters into the output
        • \\ backslash
        • \a alert (BEL)
        • \b backspace
        • \c produce no further output
        • \e escape
        • \f form feed
        • \n new line
        • \r carriage return
        • \t horizontal tab
        • \v vertical tab
  • TEXT is the text to be echoed/printed/output
  • The echo command will then output the given TEXT to STDOUT

echo Bash Command Examples

The simplest usage of echo is to print some text:

echo Hello LinuxScrew!

…which will result in the following output to the console:

Hello LinuxScrew!

You can also echo the value of variables

message="Buy more oranges!"
echo $message

Which will of course output:

Buy more oranges!

The true power of the echo command is when it is used with redirection (STDOUT/STDIN) which lets you redirect the output of the echo command into text files and other command line programs:

echo "This text will be written to a file" > file.txt

The above command uses redirection (>) to send the output of the echo command to the file file.txtIt will overwrite the contents of an existing file, so be careful!

echo "This text will be appended to a file" >> file.txt

If you want to append the text to a file instead of overwriting it, the above code demonstrates how the >> command is used to append the redirected output.

You can use pipes (|) as well to send the output of echo directly to another command line program:

echo "/path/to/folder" | ls

Above, a path is provided as a string to the echo command, which then pipes it (using the | command) to the ls program, which then lists the content of the directory.

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I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

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