I have a file like this : enter image description here

and I want the output as:

enter image description here

I tried using awk :

awk 'BEGIN { OFS=FS="\t" } { sub("\\..*", "", $1); print }'

and it prints the first id ENST. But when I change it to:

awk 'BEGIN { OFS=FS="\t" } { sub("\\..*", "", $5); print }'

it doesnt work.

What is wrong that I am doing here. Kindly help.

  • $\begingroup$ could you please provide a text-format toy example (or first few lines) of your input file? that would help to quickly see an application of your tests with awk. $\endgroup$
    – aechchiki
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ done.KIndly see $\endgroup$
    – Amit
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ thanks, although i meant more in an easily copy-pastable text format (not a screenshot) in a code snippet for example, same you used to write in your awk lines $\endgroup$
    – aechchiki
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 23:27

3 Answers 3


Assuming you want to only show the fifth id from the first field, the following Perl script should work:

perl -pe 's/^(.*?)\t//; @F=split("\\|", $1); print(@F[4]."\t")' input.tsv > output.tsv

Explanation of the Perl code:

  1. Loop over the lines in the input file (this is enabled by the command-line option -p)
  2. Remove everything up to the first tab character from the input line, and save the removed part (excluding tab character) into the grouping variable $1 [identified by brackets].
  3. Split variable $1 at the pipe character, |, saving the split components into the array @F
  4. Print the fifth field [0,1,2,3,4] from the array @F [without a line break at the end]
  5. Print the remainder of the input line (this is also enabled by the command-line option -p)
  • $\begingroup$ DDX11L1-202 is in the very first line of the excel document 5th character in the pipe. $\endgroup$
    – Amit
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 13:18

You need the first column's 6th component when split by | and then the remaining columns of the file where \t is the delimiter. Use awk.

awk -F "\t" -vOFS="\t" 'NR==1 {print} NR>1{split($1,arr,"|"); print arr[6],$2,$3,$4,$5}' your_file

You could just do this in libreoffice calc using text to columns (data menu)

If you want to use awk (or maybe gawk) you could use capture groups; but rather that mess around with a fairly complex regex I'd probably do it in two stages like below

awk -F"|" '{print $5,$0}' OFS="\t" your_file|\
awk -F"\t" '{print $1,substr($0,index($0,$3))}'

The second awk prints everything except field 2

  • $\begingroup$ DDX11L1-202 1657|lncRNA| it retains the other columns with pipes. $\endgroup$
    – Amit
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 11:27

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