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Manual Pages  — APPLY


apply – apply a command to a set of arguments



apply [-a c] [-d] [-#] command argument ...


The apply utility runs the named command on each argument argument in turn.

Character sequences of the form "%d" in command, where 'd' is a digit from 1 to 9, are replaced by the dth following unused argument. In this case, the largest digit number of arguments are discarded for each execution of command.

The options are as follows:
  Normally arguments are taken singly; the optional number -# specifies the number of arguments to be passed to command. If the number is zero, command is run, without arguments, once for each argument.

If any sequences of "%d" occur in command, the -# option is ignored.

-a c
  The use of the character '%' as a magic character may be changed with the -a option.
  Display the commands that would have been executed, but do not actually execute them.


The following environment variable affects the execution of apply:
SHELL Pathname of shell to use. If this variable is not defined, the Bourne shell is used.


  default shell


apply echo *
  is similar to ls(1);
apply -2 cmp a1 b1 a2 b2 a3 b3
  compares the `a' files to the `b' files;
apply -0 who 1 2 3 4 5
  runs who(1) 5 times; and
apply ln %1 /usr/joe *
  links all files in the current directory to the directory /usr/joe.


The apply command appeared in BSD 4.2 .


Rob Pike


Shell metacharacters in command may have bizarre effects; it is best to enclose complicated commands in single quotes ('').

The apply utility does not recognize multibyte characters.

APPLY (1) December 13, 2006

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