Grep handy tips

I found some grep flags that are really handy and wanted to write them down.

Only list exact matches:  -w

When I run the “netstat -an | grep LISTEN” command it would include all text that included LISTEN – including LISTENING, which I didn’t want to see. Appending -w to the netstat command makes sure grep only displays exact matches.

netstat -an | grep -w LISTEN

Include extra lines above and below the match: -A, -B

When administering xenserver systems it’s often useless to use grep defaults because Xen likes to include relevant information on different lines. To fix this, use the -A and/or the -B flags to specify the number of lines after (A) or before (B) to include in the results. A real world example using grep to return the 3 lines above and below the line matching the word Splunk:

xe vdi-list | grep -A3 -B3 Splunk


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