alphasort - Linux


alphasort is a command-line utility that performs case-insensitive alphabetical sorting of text. It is primarily used to sort text files, input streams, or command output in a consistent and predictable manner, disregarding character case. alphasort is particularly useful for sorting mixed-case text, making it easier to compare and organize data.


alphasort [options] [input_file(s)]

Required Arguments:

  • input_file(s): The text file(s) to be sorted. If no files are specified, standard input is used.


  • -d, –delimiter: Specify the delimiter used to separate input lines. Default: newline character (LF).
  • -f, –field: Specify the field(s) to sort by. Default: entire line.
  • -h, –help: Display help information.
  • -i, –ignore-case: Perform case-insensitive sort.
  • -n, –numeric-sort: Sort numbers numerically.
  • -r, –reverse: Reverse the sort order.
  • -u, –unique: Remove duplicate lines after sorting.


Sorting a text file:

alphasort myfile.txt

Sorting a mixed-case word list:

alphasort -i mywords.txt

Sorting a specific field of a CSV file:

alphasort -d, -f2 mydata.csv

Common Issues

  • Incorrect delimiter: Ensure the delimiter flag matches the delimiter used in the input file to avoid incorrect sorting.
  • Large input: For large input files, consider splitting the text into smaller chunks to prevent memory issues.


alphasort can be used in conjunction with other Linux commands for advanced tasks:

  • Pipe to less: Sort the output of another command and display it using less for interactive viewing.
  • Chain with sort: Combine multiple sorts using the pipe operator to first sort alphabetically and then by a specific field.

Related Commands

  • sort: Basic text sorter that supports character case.
  • nl: Number lines before sorting for easier reference.
  • uniq: Remove duplicate lines before sorting.