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Searching Through Files
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27.7 grepping for a List of Patterns

egrep ( 27.5 ) lets you look for multiple patterns using its grouping and alternation operators (big words for parentheses and a vertical bar). But sometimes, even that isn't enough.

Both egrep and fgrep ( 27.6 ) support a -f option, which allows you to save a list of patterns (fixed strings in the case of fgrep ) in a file, one pattern per line, and search for all the items in the list with a single invocation of the program. For example, in writing this book, we've used this feature to check for consistent usage for a list of terms across all articles:


egrep -f terms *

(To be more accurate, we used rcsegrep ( 27.10 ) , since the articles are all kept under RCS ( 20.14 ) , but you get the idea.)


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