split — split a file into pieces


split [OPTION...] [ FILE [PREFIX] ]


Output pieces of FILE to PREFIXaa, PREFIXab, ...; default size is 1000 lines, and default PREFIX is 'x'.

With no FILE, or when FILE is −, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

−a, −−suffix−length=N/

generate suffixes of length N (default 2)


append an additional SUFFIX to file names

−b, −−bytes=SIZE/

put SIZE bytes per output file

−C, −−line−bytes=SIZE/

put at most SIZE bytes of records per output file


use numeric suffixes starting at 0, not alphabetic


same as −d, but allow setting the start value


use hex suffixes starting at 0, not alphabetic


same as −x, but allow setting the start value

−e, −−elide−empty−files

do not generate empty output files with '−n'


write to shell COMMAND; file name is $FILE

−l, −−lines=NUMBER/

put NUMBER lines/records per output file

−n, −−number=CHUNKS/

generate CHUNKS output files; see explanation below

−t, −−separator=SEP/

use SEP instead of newline as the record separator; '\0' (zero) specifies the NUL character

−u, −−unbuffered

immediately copy input to output with '−n r/...'


print a diagnostic just before each output file is opened


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

The SIZE argument is an integer and optional unit (example: 10K is 10*1024). Units are K,M,G,T,P,E,Z,Y (powers of 1024) or KB,MB,... (powers of 1000). Binary prefixes can be used, too: KiB=K, MiB=M, and so on.

CHUNKS may be:


split into N files based on size of input


output Kth of N to stdout


split into N files without splitting lines/records


output Kth of N to stdout without splitting lines/records


like 'l' but use round robin distribution


likewise but only output Kth of N to stdout


Written by Torbjorn Granlund and Richard M. Stallman.


GNU coreutils online help: <>

Report any translation bugs to <>


Full documentation <>

or available locally via: info '(coreutils) split invocation'


Copyright © 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.

This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.