fmt — simple optimal text formatter

Examples (TL;DR)


fmt [-WIDTH] [OPTION]... [FILE]...


Reformat each paragraph in the FILE(s), writing to standard output. The option -WIDTH is an abbreviated form of --width=DIGITS.

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

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

-c, --crown-margin

preserve indentation of first two lines

-p, --prefix=STRING

reformat only lines beginning with STRING, reattaching the prefix to reformatted lines

-s, --split-only

split long lines, but do not refill

-t, --tagged-paragraph

indentation of first line different from second

-u, --uniform-spacing

one space between words, two after sentences

-w, --width=WIDTH

maximum line width (default of 75 columns)

-g, --goal=WIDTH

goal width (default of 93% of width)


display this help and exit


output version information and exit


Written by Ross Paterson.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <>
Report any translation bugs to <>

See Also

Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) fmt invocation'

Referenced By

diction(1), mailx(1), perlform(1), shtool-table(1), vis(1).

October 2019 GNU coreutils 8.31