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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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forder — convert file data order


forder [-a] [-l] [-n] [file ...]


The text orientation (mode) of a file can be right-to-left (non-Latin) or left-to-right (Latin). This text orientation can affect the way data is arranged in the file. The data arrangements that result are called screen order and keyboard order. forder converts the order of characters in the file from screen order to keyboard order or vice versa.

forder reads the concatenation of input files (or standard input if none are given) and produces on standard output a converted version of its input. If - appears as an input file name, forder reads standard input at that point (use -- to delimit the end of options in such instances).

forder converts input files for all languages that are read from right-to-left. Unless the -a option is used, the command merely copies input files to standard output for languages that are read from left-to-right.


forder recognizes the following options:


Convert file data order for languages read from left-to-right.


Identify the file as having been created in Latin mode.


Identify the file as having been created in non-Latin mode.


Environment Variables

The LANGOPTS environment variable determines the mode and order of the file. The syntax of LANGOPTS is:

[mode] [_order]

where mode describes the mode of a file: l represents Latin mode, and n represents non-Latin mode. Non-Latin mode is assumed for values other than l and n. The order describes the data order of a file: k is keyboard, and s is screen. Keyboard order is assumed for values other than k and s. Mode information in LANGOPTS can be overridden from the command line.

The LC_ALL environment variable determines the direction of a language (left-to-right or right-to-left).

The LC_NUMERIC environment variable determines whether a language has alternative numbers.

The LANG environment variable determines the language in which messages are displayed.

International Code Set Support

Single-byte character code sets are supported.


The following command begins with file1, which exists in screen order, converts it to keyboard order, sorts the keyboard-ordered output, converts it back to screen order, and redirects the output to file2. Note that -n is given to inform forder that file1 was created in non-Latin mode.

forder -n file1 | sort | forder -n > file2


It is the user's responsibility to ensure that the LANGOPTS environment variable accurately reflects the status of the file.

If present, alternative numbers always have a left-to-right orientation.

The forder command is HP proprietary, not portable to other vendors' systems, and will not be provided in future HP-UX releases.


forder was developed by HP.

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