/ Text Processing

A general purpose application and library for aligning text

A general purpose application and library for aligning text


The focus of this application is to provide a fast, efficient, and useful tool for aligning text. Its creation is the result of inspiration from several other amazing alignment tools, namely column or the Sublime Text plugin AlignTab.


  • A simple yet useful CLI with options to specify your delimiter, input and output files, etc.
  • Align by any string as your delimiter or separator, not just a single character.
  • If your separator string is contained within the data itself, it can be escaped by specifying a text qualifier.
  • Right, Center, or Left justification of each field.


Sometimes, it's just easier to align a CSV (or delimited file) by its delimiter and view the columns in your plain text editor (which saves you from opening Excel!).

Another use is to align blocks of code by = or =>, etc.


$ go get github.com/Guitarbum722/align
$ make install

$ # build all binaries
$ make release

Usage - CLI examples

Usage: align [-h] [-f] [-o] [-q] [-s] [-d] [-a] [-c] [-i] [-p]
  -h | --help  help
  -f           input file.  If not specified, pipe input to stdin
  -o           output file. (default: stdout)
  -q           text qualifier (if applicable)
  -s           delimiter (default: ',')
  -d           output delimiter (defaults to the value of sep)
  -a           <left>, <right>, <center> justification (default: left)
  -c           output specific fields (default: all fields)
  -i           override justification by column number (e.g. 2:center,5:right)
  -p           extra padding surrounding delimiter

Specify your input file, output file, delimiter.
You can also pipe input to stdin (if the -f option is provided, it will take precedence over Stdin)
If no -o option is provided, stdout will be used.

$ align -f input_file.csv -o output_file.csv

$ align -f input_file.csv -o 

$ cat awesome.csv | align

Do you have rows with a different number of fields? This might be more common with code, but align doesn't care!

$ echo "field1|field2\nValue1|Value2\nCoolValue1|CoolValue2|CoolValue3" | align -s \|
field1     | field2
Value1     | Value2
CoolValue1 | CoolValue2 | CoolValue3

Column filtering (specifiy output fields and optionally override the justification of the output fields). This might be useful if you would like to display a dollar amount or number field differently. The specified fields are indexed at 1.

# output fields 1,3,5 justified 'right'
$ cat file.csv | align -a right -c 1,3,5

# output fields 1,2,3,7,8 with default justification (left) except for field 7, which is right justified
$ cat file.csv | align -c 1,2,3,7,8 -i 1:right,7:center

#output all fields by default, with right justification, with overridden justification on certain columns
$ cat file.csv | align -a right -i 1:center,5:left

Support for worldwide characters.

first          , last              , middle  , email
paul           , danny             ,  かど    , や製油

It is perfectly acceptable to even use emojis as your input/output delimiters.

first  😮 last     😮 email
Hector 😮 Gonzalez 😮 [email protected]

Add additional padding if desired with the -p flag. Default is 1 space, and 0 will output with no additional padding. If the value supplied is less than 0, then the behavior will be as if it were set to 0 and no padding will be applied.

# padding of 4 spaces surrounding the delimiter.
align -p 4