HOWTO Convert carriage returns between UNIX and DOS on Debian

This article was first written in February 2005 for the BeezNest technical
website (

The convert carriage returns between UNIX- and DOS-kind of CR, use the tools dos2unix and unix2dos from the sysutils package.

Usage is really simple:

$ dos2unix filename


$ unix2dos filename

where filename is the name of the file to convert.

To convert a hierarchy of files starting from current directory:

$ find . -type f -exec dos2unix {} ;

For more information see the manpages.

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  1. The following tools are availiable in package “tofrodos” in Debian Lenny, with the following package description:

    “Converts DOS Unix text files, alias tofromdos

    DOS text files traditionally have CR/LF (carriage return/line feed) pairs as their new line delimiters while Unix text files traditionally have LFs (line feeds) to terminate each line.

    Tofrodos comprises one program, “fromdos” alias “todos”, which converts text files to and from these formats. Use “fromdos” to convert DOS text files to the Unix format, and “todos” to convert Unix text files to the DOS format.

    This functionality is also available via the dos2unix/unix2dos symlinks.”



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