What is an Example of Redirection in Linux? Exploring Linux Command Redirection


Linux, renowned for its versatility and powerful command-line interface, offers a plethora of functionalities that empower users to efficiently manipulate data and perform a wide range of tasks. One such indispensable feature is command redirection, which enables users to control the input and output streams of commands, thereby enhancing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their tasks.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of command redirection, providing you with a detailed overview, examples, and insights that showcase its significance in the Linux ecosystem.

What is an Example of Redirection in Linux?

At its core, command redirection in Linux involves manipulating the input and output streams of commands. This process allows you to direct the flow of data, making it a powerful tool for managing, processing, and organizing information. Let’s explore various examples to grasp the concept better.

Basic Output Redirection

A fundamental example of redirection is output redirection using the > symbol. Suppose you have a command that generates output on the terminal. By utilizing redirection, you can redirect this output to a file rather than displaying it on the screen. For instance:

ls > file_list.txt

In this case, the output of the ls command will be saved to a file named file_list.txt.

Appending Output to a File

While > overwrites the contents of the file, you can use >> to append output to an existing file. This is particularly useful when you want to continuously add data to a log file or document without erasing its previous content.

Input Redirection

Apart from output redirection, input redirection is equally valuable. This involves using the < symbol to provide input to a command from a file rather than typing it manually. For example:

sort < unsorted.txt

In this case, the sort command will read input from the unsorted.txt file.

Piping and Chaining Commands

Linux redirection goes beyond simple input and output manipulation. You can pipe the output of one command as input to another command using the | symbol. This enables you to create intricate command chains that perform complex tasks.

Nullifying Output

At times, you might want to execute a command but discard its output. This can be achieved using the >/dev/null redirection. For instance:

echo "Temporary Data" > /dev/null

Here, the output of the echo command is discarded.

Exploring Redirection Scenarios

Let’s delve into practical scenarios where command redirection proves invaluable:

Capturing Error Messages

By redirecting the standard error stream using 2> or 2>>, you can capture error messages separately from normal output. For instance:

ls non_existent_directory 2> error_log.txt

In this example, any error messages from the ls command will be saved in the error_log.txt file.

Combining Output and Error Streams

The 2>&1 syntax allows you to combine the standard output and error streams. This is particularly useful when you want both outputs to be redirected to the same location.

Using /dev/null for Silence

As mentioned earlier, /dev/null can be employed to silence unwanted output. This is particularly handy when running background processes that should not produce any terminal output.


Can I redirect both standard output and standard error to the same file?

Yes, you can achieve this using the &> or &>> syntax. For instance:

ls non_existent_directory &> combined_output.txt

How can I view the contents of a file without displaying them on the terminal?

You can use input redirection to achieve this. For example:

less < large_file.txt

Is it possible to redirect output to multiple files simultaneously?

Yes, you can accomplish this by using the tee command. For instance:

ls | tee output.txt

Can I redirect output to a file and the terminal simultaneously?

Certainly! By using the tee command with the -a flag for append, you can achieve this. For example:

ls | tee -a output.txt

How can I redirect output to a file while discarding error messages?

You can use /dev/null to discard error messages while redirecting normal output to a file. For instance:

ls non_existent_directory > output.txt 2> /dev/null

Is there a way to redirect output to a file as well as display it on the terminal?

Absolutely! By combining the tee command and standard output redirection, you can achieve this dual functionality. For example:

ls | tee output.txt

What is ‘>’ in Linux?

In Linux, ‘>’ is used for output redirection, sending command output to a file.

What is an example of redirection in Linux?

An example of redirection in Linux is: ls > file.txt, which redirects the output of ‘ls’ command to a file called ‘file.txt’.

How to redirect file in Linux?

To redirect file output in Linux, use the ‘>’ symbol followed by the file name, like command > output.txt.

How does redirection work in Linux?

Redirection in Linux works by capturing the standard output (stdout) of a command and sending it to a file instead of the terminal.

How do you forward output to a file in Linux?

You can forward output to a file in Linux using the ‘>’ symbol, like command > output.txt, which saves the command’s output to ‘output.txt’.


In the realm of Linux, command redirection stands as a powerful technique that elevates your ability to manage and manipulate data through the terminal. From basic output and input redirection to advanced stream manipulation, this feature empowers users to streamline their tasks and achieve greater efficiency. By mastering the art of redirection, you gain a valuable tool that enhances your Linux experience and broadens your skill set.

Remember, the key to becoming proficient in command redirection lies in practice. Experiment with different scenarios, explore the vast array of possibilities, and gradually build your expertise. As you become more comfortable with redirection, you’ll find yourself harnessing the true potential of Linux’s command-line interface.

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