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7 Patterns, Actions, and Variables

As you have already seen, each awk statement consists of a pattern with an associated action. This chapter describes how you build patterns and actions, what kinds of things you can do within actions, and awk’s predefined variables.

The pattern–action rules and the statements available for use within actions form the core of awk programming. In a sense, everything covered up to here has been the foundation that programs are built on top of. Now it’s time to start building something useful.

Pattern Overview    What goes into a pattern.
Using Shell Variables    How to use shell variables with awk.
Action Overview    What goes into an action.
Statements    Describes the various control statements in


Built-in Variables    Summarizes the predefined variables.
Pattern Action Summary    Patterns and Actions summary.