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15.1 echo: Print a line of text

echo writes each given string to standard output, with a space between each and a newline after the last one. Synopsis:

echo [option]… [string]…

The program accepts the following options. Also see Common options. Options must precede operands, and the normally-special argument ‘--’ has no special meaning and is treated like any other string.


Do not output the trailing newline.


Enable interpretation of the following backslash-escaped characters in each string:


alert (bell)




suppress trailing newline


form feed


new line


carriage return


horizontal tab


vertical tab




the eight-bit value that is the octal number nnn (zero to three octal digits)


the eight-bit value that is the octal number nnn (one to three octal digits)


the eight-bit value that is the hexadecimal number hh (one or two hexadecimal digits)


Disable interpretation of backslash escapes in each string. This is the default. If ‘-e’ and ‘-E’ are both specified, the last one given takes effect.

If the POSIXLY_CORRECT environment variable is set, then when echo's first argument is not ‘-n’ it outputs option-like arguments instead of treating them as options. For example, echo -ne hello outputs ‘-ne hello’ instead of plain ‘hello’.

POSIX does not require support for any options, and says that the behavior of echo is implementation-defined if any string contains a backslash or if the first argument is ‘-n’. Portable programs can use the printf command if they need to omit trailing newlines or output control characters or backslashes. See section printf: Format and print data.

An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value indicates failure.

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