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Remove color codes (special characters) with sed | commandlinefu.com

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Tags: bash shell-scripting colors terminal ansi sed one-liners www.commandlinefu.com
Clipped on: 2016-03-12


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Remove color codes (special characters) with sed

Image (Asset 5/12) alt= Terminal - Remove color codes (special characters) with sed
2009-09-23 12:06:33
User: Cowboy
Functions: sed
Remove color codes (special characters) with sed


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

sed -r "s:\x1B\[[0-9;]*[mK]::g"'
sed "s,\x1B\[[0-9;]*[a-zA-Z],,g"
2013-03-18 14:49:30
User: Zhoul
Functions: sed

Remove ( color / special / escape / ANSI ) codes, from text, with sed

Credit to the original folks who I've copied this command from.

The diff here is:

Theirs: [m|K]

Theirs is supposed to remove \E[NUMBERS;NUMBERS[m OR K]

This statement is incorrect in 2 ways.

1. The letters m and K are two of more than 20+ possible letters that can end these sequences.

2. Inside []'s , OR is already assumed, so they are also looking for sequences ending with | which is not correct.

This : [a-zA-Z]

This resolves the "OR" issue noted above, and takes care of all sequences, as they all end with a lower or upper cased letter.

This ensures 100% of any escape code 'mess' is removed.

sed -r 's/'$(echo -e "\033")'\[[0-9]{1,2}(;([0-9]{1,2})?)?[mK]//g'
2012-01-04 20:57:09
User: frntn
Functions: echo sed
Tags: bash sed

Remove ANSI colors from stream or file

sed -r "s/\x1B\[([0-9]{1,2}(;[0-9]{1,2})?)?[m|K]//g"
2012-06-12 11:20:46
User: rcbarnes
Functions: sed

Handles the color codes intended for 256-color terminals (such as xterm-(256)color and urxvt-unicode-256color), in addition to the standard 16-color ANSI forms. Overkill for strict ANSI output, see other options for something simpler.

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

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See also http://www.pixelbeat.org/scripts/ansi2html.sh for other possible codes to strip

Comment by pixelbeat 337 weeks and 3 days ago
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Just what I needed for cleaning the capture of the 'script' command. Thanks!

Comment by funollet 331 weeks and 4 days ago
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Does this work when you have 2 colors on a line?

Comment by matthewbauer 331 weeks and 1 day ago
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badass. nice seddage :)

i wonder if there is a simpler way to do it with simple redirection of stdout.. hmm not sure yet. anyway awesome, i'm using this for now xD

Comment by kevinquinnyo 213 weeks and 6 days ago
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FWIW, the `-r` does not work with `sed` on Mac OS-X.

Comment by jaytaylor 141 weeks and 2 days ago
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Here's the OS X equivalent:

sed -E "s/"$'\E'"\[([0-9]{1,3}((;[0-9]{1,3})*)?)?[m|K]//g


-E is the OS X equivalent of the -r option.

$'\E' splices a literal Escape character into the regex, because OS X sed doesn't recognize the \xnn escapes.


One of the ()? constructs is redundant, because it is covered by the enclosed ()*.

The '|' is probably misplaced, as the enclosing construct is the set operator, not an alternative, so '[mK]' is sufficient.

The terminal 'K' relates to the 'Erase in Line' command, and not a color or style, and thus may not be needed.

You only need *3* digits for *non-standard* sequences relating to aixterm, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANSI_escape_sequences#CSI_codes; if you only care about standard behavior, 2 digits will do.

With the above in mind, we get the following:


sed -r "s/\x1B\[([0-9]{1,2}(;[0-9]{1,2})*)?m//g


sed -E "s/"$'\E'"\[([0-9]{1,2}(;[0-9]{1,2})*)?m//g
Comment by mklement0 134 weeks and 6 days ago
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Is there any way to undo the effect of sed command?

Comment by Wajiha 98 weeks and 5 days ago

Your point of view

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