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Quick Tip

How to Use echo Command Without Newline

Every time you use echo, it adds a newline character at the end. Here's what you can do if you want to use echo without newline.

Team LHB

Warp Terminal

The echo command is a handy way of printing anything in shell scripts.

By default, it always adds a new line character. So if you run multiple echo commands, each output is displayed on a new line.

But this could be inconvenient in situations where you need to print with echo command but without the newline.

Imagine yourself trying to print the Fibonacci series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55

You can use the -n flag of the echo command to print without newline:

echo -n "Hello World"

You'll notice that the prompt is displayed in the same line immediately after the Hello World now.

echo command without new line

Let's take a more in-depth look at it.

Printing echo command without new line

Let's take a simple for loop that prints the contents of an array in bash script and check it's output.

$ bash_array=(1 2 3 4)

$ for i in ${bash_array[@]}; do
    echo $i

As you can see, each time the echo command is executed, the output is displayed on a newline. Sometimes that is what you want, other times, you want the output to continue on the same line without starting on the newline.

Meet the "-n" flag

The bash implementation of the echo command usually appends a "\n" (an escape character to signify a newline) to the output. The "-n" flag does not append a "\n" to the output.

$ bash_array=(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8)

$ for i in ${bash_array[@]}; do
    echo -n $i

As you can see, all the numbers are now displayed in a single line. This means each time that the echo command was run, it did not output to a newline.

echo -n didn't work. Now what?

In some cases, using echo -n also prints the -n character instead of printing the text without newline.

That's possible if there is a separate implementation of the echo command by the shell you are using.

Confused? Some distributions and shells may have their own implementation of some built-in shell commands. echo is one such command.

Here are a few things you may try.

Add the shebang character followed by /bin/bash to ensure that your shell script uses bash shell.


If that doesn't work, you may try using the printf command instead of echo.

By default, printf doesn't add the newline character:

printf "Something without newline"

You have to explicitly provide the newline character \n:

printf "Something with newline\n"

The printf command behaves like the printf command in C and you can use it to print more complicated formatted outputs.

The printf command has much more consistent behavior. echo is fine for simple things, but I advise using printf for anything more complicated.

I hope this simple tutorial helps you in controlling the behavior of new line in bash scripts.

Team LHB