How To: Add A New Line With CURL

Today’s article isn’t going to be all that long and it’s definitely not going to be complicated, as we just discuss how to add a new line with curl. It’s just an annoyance factor and something I was reminded of today. Lacking a better idea, I decided I’d use this annoyance and recollection as a reason to write an article about how to add a new line with curl.

First, this obviously requires a terminal.

Second, this obviously requires curl. You almost certainly have curl installed, so you won’t have to install anything. 

If you’re curious, you’ll find that the curl man page defines the application as:

curl – transfer a URL

You’ll understand why I’d use that in a second, but you can imagine that it’s a pretty handy tool to have in your Linux toolbox. We’ve previously used curl in many articles. Here’s a sampling of those articles:

Let’s Have a Limited Look at Linux’s cURL Application
Weather In The Terminal? We can do that!
How To: Find Your IP Address Through Your Terminal

… and more!

So, in this case, I show ads on the site. To do this, Google relies on a file known as ‘ads.txt’ being in your web’s root folder (often called ‘public_html’). If the file is not there, there’s an ad inventory issue and Google won’t show ads.

Well, if you read the previous article you’d know that there was an outage. During this outage, it appeared that the site was still reachable – except it wasn’t. It was during this time that AdSense decided to check and see if the ‘ads.txt’ file is there. (This is nothing private. Everyone using AdSense has an ads.txt file.)

Because of this, I decided to verify that the ads.txt file existed and contained the appropriate information. To do this, I simply used the following command:

It gave me the answer I wanted, but I disliked the formatting of the output. But, it was enough for me to determine that the file existed and that I just had to wait for Google to confirm this.

The formatting was horrible. I’ll show you an image in the next section and you’ll see…

Add A New Line With curl:

So, when I saw the output from the above command (feel free to run it on your computer), it just ran the line into the next prompt. I had to dig through my ~/bash_history file because I couldn’t remember how to fix the formatting.

A picture is probably going to describe this best. In the picture, you’ll see the ugly formatting and you’ll see the solution.

adding a new line to the curl output
As you can see, the second command has a much nicer output.

So, to make sure you have a new line, you use the -w (write-out) flag and add the character for a new line in quotes – which is "\n". It’d look like this:

As you can see (and I hit the enter button between commands to start on a fresh new line) the output is much nicer. So, instead of curl starting a new line, a command entry line as it were, you’re starting with a nice fresh new line.

I messed with this way too long before I started digging into my bash history to find other curl commands used over time. Eventually, I found it, but I’d already verified that the file existed and that Google would notice the next time they checked.


Well, it’s not the greatest of articles – but it’s useful if you want to know how to add a new line with curl. It’s a much tidier output this way. I just need to remember to do it without having to dig through my bash history each time I want to have a clear curl output.

Meh… I’m sure it’ll eventually be handy for someone…

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Let’s Talk About Using dos2unix

Today, we’re going to talk about using dos2unix, a tool for converting Windows text files to Unix (Linux) formatted text files. The command isn’t very difficult to use, so this article is more about making you aware of the existence and purpose of said dos2unix. It should be a remarkably short article.

First, we have to go back in time…

Once upon a time, when you reached the end of the line with text, you had to instruct the hardware to start a new line. These were the old days of things like teletype machines and dumb terminals. They needed to be told when to begin a new line.

Well, that still exists in software today. The thing is, if a file was created on Windows it will have two characters denoting when a new line should begin while a file created on Linux will only have one character indicating when a new line should begin. Yay for compatibility issues!

Anyhow… This is why you will sometimes get errors with text files. For example, writing a shell script on Windows and then trying to use it on Linux may result in end of line errors. Windows uses CR (Carriage Return) and LF (Line Feed, you may know it as /n) while Linux (and Unix) just uses LF. This, of course, can cause some confusion for the operating system.

This is where dos2unix comes into play. This is why you’re getting an article about using dos2unix… So, with that in mind…

Using dos2unix:

This article requires an open terminal, like oh so many other articles. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. Tada!

Now, you’ll need to install dos2unix. It probably isn’t installed by default. Just use your package manager’s standard install command and I’m like 99% certain it’s a package available to you by default. For example, in Debian, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu derivatives and flavors, it’s just a simple apt command:

Once you have dos2unix installed, you can convert Windows-created text files to Unix (and thus Linux) formatted text files by fixing the way they end a line and start a new line. That’s really easy. It’s just:


Well, I suppose you could also do /path/to/filename.txt if you needed, or you can just navigate to the directory and use the command above. It really is that easy.

There’s more to the dos2unix application, but that’s about all you’re really going to need to know under normal circumstances. It really is that simple. Do check the man page (man dos2unix) for other options, but you’ll see that’s about all you’re gonna need.


Like I said, this article is really about making you aware of the problem and solution, so that you can start using dos2unix if and when you need it. It turns out that dos2unix is more than just a contributing forum member on, it’s actually a useful application for dealing with Windows files on a Linux box!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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