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UNEXPAND(1) User Commands UNEXPAND(1)


unexpand - convert spaces to tabs


unexpand [OPTION]... [FILE]...


Convert blanks in each FILE to tabs, writing to standard output.

With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

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

convert all blanks, instead of just initial blanks
convert only leading sequences of blanks (overrides -a)
have tabs N characters apart instead of 8 (enables -a)
use comma separated list of tab positions. The last specified position can be prefixed with '/' to specify a tab size to use after the last explicitly specified tab stop. Also a prefix of '+' can be used to align remaining tab stops relative to the last specified tab stop instead of the first column
display this help and exit
output version information and exit


Written by David MacKenzie.


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Copyright © 2022 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.



Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) unexpand invocation'

September 2022 GNU coreutils 9.1