Needle in a Haystack

Tutorials – odfgrep

Article from Issue 213/2018
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What grep cannot accomplish with LibreOffice and OpenOffice documents, a small odfgrep script can.

If you have a lot of text files, slide shows, and spreadsheets on your computer, you will need, sooner or later, to know quickly which files contain certain words or sentences. You might also want to use that information to perform some other actions automatically, like sending email notifications or adding new records to a database. Sometimes, you can do this with the Recoll desktop search engine described in the previous issue of Linux Pro Magazine [1]. Should you, however, want something lighter or more flexible than Recoll, try odfgrep: It not only might work better, but also teach you other, very efficient ways to manage all your office documents.

What and Why

A really basic knowledge of the command line and Bash syntax is helpful, but not mandatory: The code is short and explained as accurately as possible, to help you learn some basics of shell programming, if needed.

In fact, the hardest part of this whole tutorial may not be the code itself, but figuring out why you might want to learn and use it. In a nutshell, learning how to search or otherwise process ODF files from the command line, with odfgrep or similar tools, can help you to become a much more productive desktop user, able to delegate to your computer many more otherwise very time-consuming tasks. That's it, really.

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