How to suppress a binary file matching results in grep on Linux?

The grep command in Linux is used to filter searches in a file for a particular pattern of characters. It is one of the most used Linux utility commands to display the lines that contain the pattern that we are trying to search.

Normally, the pattern that we are trying to search in the file is referred to as the regular expression.


grep [options] pattern [files]

While there are plenty of different options available to us, some of the most used are −

-c : It lists only a count of the lines that match a pattern
-h : displays the matched lines only.
-i : Ignores, case for matching
-l : prints filenames only
-n : Display the matched lines and their line numbers.
-v : It prints out all the lines that do not match the pattern

Now, let’s consider a case where we want to find a particular pattern in all the files in a particular directory, say dir1.


grep -rni "word" *

In the above command replace the “word” placeholder with

For that we make use of the command shown below −

grep -rni "func main()" *

The above command will try to find a string “func main()” in all the files in a particular directory and also in the subdirectories as well.


main.go:120:func main() {}

In case we only want to find a particular pattern in a single directory and not the subdirectories then we need to use the command shown below −

grep -s "func main()" *

In the above command we made use of the -s flag which will help us to not get a warning for each subdirectory that is present inside the directory where we are running the command.


main.go:120:func main() {}

Now we know how grep command works in Linux. If we want to ignore all the cases that are matched are from a binary file, then we can make use of the following flags shown below along with the grep command


-I -- process a binary file as if it did not contain matching data;
-n -- prefix each line of output with the 1-based line number within its input file
-H -- print the file name for each match


grep -I -n -H “func main()” *


main.go:120:func main() {}