How To Pipe Output To A File Linux

Understanding the Basics: What Does “Piping” Mean?

In Linux, “piping” refers to the process of directing the output of one command into the input of another. In other words, you use the output of a command as the input for a different one. This is done using the pipe symbol “|“.

How to Pipe Output to a File

Piping output to a file in Linux is a pretty straightforward process. For this, you’ll primarily need to use the “>” and “>>” operators.

Let’s break it down:

1. >: This operator is used to write the output of a command to a file. If the file already exists, it will be overwritten. If it doesn’t exist, it will be created.

ls -l > output.txt

In this example, the “ls -l” command lists the contents of a directory in long format. The “>” operator then writes this output to a file named “output.txt“.

2. >>: This operator, on the other hand, is used to append the output of a command to a file. If the file already exists, the output will be added to the end of the file without deleting anything. If the file doesn’t exist, a new one will be created.

ls -l >> output.txt

Here, the “ls -l” command’s output is appended to the end of “output.txt“, if it exists. If not, it is created.

Redirecting Both Standard Output and Error

There might be cases where you’d want to redirect both the standard output and the error messages to the same file. This is possible with the “&>” operator.

command &> file.txt

With this command, both the standard output from “command” and any error messages are directed to “file.txt“, replacing any existing content.


Understanding how to pipe output to a file in Linux is a valuable skill that can greatly enhance your data management abilities. Whether you’re saving the output of a lengthy command for review or troubleshooting, or appending data to an existing log file, mastering this process will make you a more effective Linux user.

Although it may seem complex at first, with practice, you’ll find it’s actually quite simple. Just remember to take it step by step, and before you know it, you’ll be piping output like a pro!

Happy Linux-ing!