A general purpose application and library for aligning text.



A general purpose application that aligns text

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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.

See the Wiki for usage examples!


  • 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


If you have suggestions or discover a bug, please open an issue. If you think you can make the fix, please use the Fork / Pull Request on your feature branch approach.

  • Issue39 alignment

    Issue39 alignment

    This resolves #39 (sort of).

    Instead of a flag that switches the justification of a numeric field (and correctly detecting the numeric field) I added a -v flag. This allows the user to set column overrides for the justification for any field that they specify. This example aligns all fields to the right, but aligns the specified fields differently with the argument to -v:

    align -f input.csv -a right -v 1-left,5-center

    • adding a map to the PaddingOpts struct which will get checked in the export() function.
    • updating README with usage, and examples
    • updating tests
    opened by Guitarbum722 9
  • Configurable padding

    Configurable padding

    Closes #30

    • add -p flag to specify number of spaces to pad each column around the separator/delimiter
    • consumer of the lib can set Surround on Align.PaddingOpts.
    • default is 1 space for padding, which is the current behavior anyway.

    Since the other features in #30 are either out of scope or covered by the current justification features, we will wait to see if any use cases present themselves for additional functionality.

    opened by Guitarbum722 5
  • Commas Between Quotes Seem to Be Used as Delimeters

    Commas Between Quotes Seem to Be Used as Delimeters

    45862 | 12515 | "Midwest Electric                        |  Inc"        | OH           | Bundled               | Cooperative           | 0.0915350239036  | 0.0777018476335 | 0.113463086111
    opened by briandowns 5
  • Issue72 transposed columns

    Issue72 transposed columns

    Refactors an unexported function that counts the length of each field accordingly.

    This function also benchmarked at about 10.1 ns/op from 33.2 ns/op on my particular machine after refactor.

    Resolves #72

    opened by Guitarbum722 4
  • latest release binary giving error output

    latest release binary giving error output

    v1.1.1 is running well on my Arch Linux machine.

    latest release binary is giving error output as below :

    align-linux: line 1: syntax error near unexpected token `newline'
    align-linux: line 1: `!<arch>'
    opened by muralikodali 3
  • Issue67 reduce allocs

    Issue67 reduce allocs

    Resolves #67

    Refactors a fair amount of the export() function to reduce some allocations.
    Running the same benchmark mentioned in #67, the allocs were reduced from 17 to 8.

    opened by Guitarbum722 3
  • [enhancement] Options: space around delimiter

    [enhancement] Options: space around delimiter

    Spacing Options

    • [ ] space around
    • [ ] leading space
    • [ ] trailing space
    • [ ] initial leading space
    • [ ] final trailing space

    To consider the spacing option, let's use the following input:

    | Prop | Type | Default | Description |
    | :-------: | :-------: | :-------: | ------- |
    | tag | String    | `"div"`   | Element tagName _(any valid HTML tag name)_ |
    | inline   | Boolean   | `false`   | `display: inline-flex` |

    Space Around

    Space around would specify the minimum amount of white-space to add before and after a delimiter. In this shortcut option, initial leading space and final trailing space would not be included.

    // space around: 1
    | Prop      | Type      | Default   | Description |
    | :-------: | :-------: | :-------: |   -------   |
    | tag       | String    | `"div"`   | Element tagName _(any valid HTML tag name)_ |
    | inline    | Boolean   | `false`   | `display: inline-flex` |

    Leading Space

    Leading space would only specify the minimum amount of space immediately following a delimiter, excepting an initial delimiter not preceded by content.

    // leading space: 1
    | Prop     | Type     | Default  | Description|
    | :-------:| :-------:| :-------:|   -------  |
    | tag      | String   | `"div"`  | Element tagName _(any valid HTML tag name)_|
    | inline   | Boolean  | `false`  | `display: inline-flex`|

    Trailing Space

    Trailing space would only specify the minimum amount of space immediately preceding a delimiter, excepting one that is not followed by content.

    // trailing space: 1
    |Prop      |Type      |Default   |Description |
    |:-------: |:-------: |:-------: |  -------   |
    |tag       |String    |`"div"`   |Element tagName _(any valid HTML tag name)_ |
    |inline    |Boolean   |`false`   |`display: inline-flex` |

    Initial Leading Space

    Specify an amount of space to place before all content

    Final Trailing Space

    Specify an amount of space to place after all content

    opened by alexsasharegan 2
  • Last column in row empty if empty

    Last column in row empty if empty

    If the last field (column) in the input is null, then the last column is completely omitted from the output. In other words, the final delimiter does not appear in the row in the output.

    This does not occur if the last column contains an empty quoted string.

    Sample input:

    john,doe,[email protected],123 Any St.,Lord of Scrum,111-111-1111
    jane,doe,[email protected],123 Any Street,,222-222-2222
    tim,biziboi,[email protected],222 W. Avenue 3,"Director, Sr.",333-333-3333
    ,,,"222 3rd Ave., Apt. 4",,
    ,,,"222 3rd Ave., Apt. 4",,""
    ,,,,"Level 3,,, Manager",
    grogu,,[email protected],?,"Formerly known as, baby yoda",


    first , last    , email                , address                , title                          , phone        
    john  , doe     , [email protected] , 123 Any St.            , Lord of Scrum                  , 111-111-1111 
    jane  , doe     , [email protected]  , 123 Any Street         ,                                , 222-222-2222 
    tim   , biziboi , [email protected] , 222 W. Avenue 3        , "Director, Sr."                , 333-333-3333 
          ,         ,                      ,                        ,                                , 444-444-4444 
          ,         ,                      , "222 3rd Ave., Apt. 4" ,                                
          ,         ,                      , "222 3rd Ave., Apt. 4" ,                                , ""           
          ,         ,                      ,                        ,                                
          ,         ,                      ,                        ,                                , 555-555-5555 
          ,         ,                      ,                        , "Level 3,,, Manager"           
    grogu ,         , [email protected]      , ?                      , "Formerly known as, baby yoda" 
    opened by Guitarbum722 1
  • Minor updates

    Minor updates

    • starts valid Justifications at 1
    • updates .gitignore
    • removes superfluous case for left justification when that is the default
    • removes an unused interface and references to it in commentary
    opened by Guitarbum722 1
  • Add option for column filtering

    Add option for column filtering

    This enhancement closes #48 .

    • -c flag added, which should be followed by a comma separated list of integers as the argument.
    • List consists of the desired field numbers expected in the output.
    • Indexing for the list starts at 1. Any number in the list less than 1 will also be ignored.
    • The list can be provided in any order, however the fields will still be output in the order in which they appear in the input (it might be cool to specify the order of the output fields, but that will have to be later).
    • If a number in the list is larger than the number of fields in the row, it will be ignored.
    • There will be no leading padding on the first field WRITTEN instead of the first field from the input (this avoids leading padding if the first field is excluded from the filter list)
    opened by Guitarbum722 1
  • parse command line flags with standard lib

    parse command line flags with standard lib

    Fixes #43 .

    • Remove vendored dependency
    • Parse command line args with standard flag package
      • Reassign flag.Usage to print the standard usage of the application
    opened by Guitarbum722 1
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