Linux newform command

Updated: 05/04/2019 by Computer Hope
newform command

On Solaris, the newform command modifies the format of a text file.


newform reads lines from the named filenames, or the standard input if no input file is named, and reproduces the lines on the standard output. Lines are reformatted in accordance with the specified command line options.

Except for -s, command line options may appear in any order, may be repeated, and may be intermingled with the optional filenames. Command line options are processed in the order specified. This means that option sequences like "-e15 -l60" will yield results different from "-l60 -e15". Options are applied to all filenames on the command line.


newform [-s] [-itabspec] [-otabspec] [-bn] [-en] [-pn] [-an] [-f] 
        [-cchar] [-ln] [filename]...


-s Shears off leading characters on each line up to the first tab and places up to 8 of the sheared characters at the end of the line. If more than 8 characters (not counting the first tab) are sheared, the eighth character is replaced by a * and any characters to the right of it are discarded. The first tab is always discarded.

An error message and program exit will occur if this option is used on a file without a tab on each line. The characters sheared off are saved internally until all other options specified are applied to that line. The characters are then added at the end of the processed line.

For example, to convert a file with leading digits, one or more tabs, and text on each line, to a file beginning with the text, all tabs after the first expanded to spaces, padded with spaces out to column 72 (or truncated to column 72), and the leading digits placed starting at column 73, the command would be:

newform -s -i -l -a -e filename
-itabspec Input tab specification: expands tabs to spaces, according to the tab specifications given. The tabspec recognizes all tab specification forms described in tabs. Also, tabspec may be -, in which newform assumes that the tab specification is to be found in the first line read from the standard input. If no tabspec is given, tabspec defaults to -8. A tabspec of -0 expects no tabs; if any are found, they are treated as -1.
Output tab specification: replaces spaces by tabs, according to the tab specifications given. The tab specifications are the same as for -itabspec. If no tabspec is given, tabspec defaults to -8. A tabspec of -0 means that no spaces will be converted to tabs on output.
-bn Truncate n characters from the beginning of the line when the line length is greater than the effective line length (see -ln). Default is to truncate the number of characters necessary to obtain the effective line length. The default value is used when -b with no n is used. This option can be used to delete the sequence numbers from a COBOL program as follows:

newform -l1 -b7 filename
-en Same as -bn except that characters are truncated from the end of the line.
-pn Prefix n characters (see -cchar) to the beginning of a line when the line length is less than the effective line length. Default is to prefix the number of characters necessary to obtain the effective line length.
-an Same as -pn except characters are appended to the end of a line.
-f Write the tab specification format line on the standard output before any other lines are output. The tab specification format line that is printed will correspond to the format specified in the last -o option. If no -o option is specified, the line that is printed will contain the default specification of 8.
-cchar Change the prefix/append character to char. Default character for char is a space.
-ln Set the effective line length to n characters. If n is not entered, -l defaults to 72. The default line length without the -l option is 80 characters. Note: Tabs and backspaces are considered to be one character (use -i to expand tabs to spaces).

The -l1 must be used to set the effective line length shorter than any existing line in the file so that the -b option is activated.


newform -f myfile.txt

Display the tab specification of the file myfile.txt.

csplit — Split files based on a defined context.
tabs — Set tab stops on a terminal.