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Read First or Last N Lines from File

Read the first of the last lines from a file on Windows, Linux and macOS

Sometimes you might need to preview a specific number of lines from the beginning or the end of a file.

For example, you may want to preview the five initial lines of a log file or the last two lines of a CSV file.

Let’s see how to accomplish this on Windows, Linux, and macOS using command-line tools.

πŸŽ₯ Do you prefer a video instead? I’ve got you covered:


On Windows, you can use the following PowerShell command to read the first five lines:

Get-Content "example.txt" -Head 5

To read the last five lines, you can use the -Tail parameter:

Get-Content "example.txt" -Tail 5

Linux and macOS

To get the first five lines on Linux and macOS, you can use the head command:

head -n 5 "example.txt"

To read the last five lines, you can use the tail command:

tail -n 5 "example.txt"

Happy coding πŸ’œ

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