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Using or matching backslash character ('\') correctly with grep or similar tools such as ack takes some investigation. Here is a note on what I found.

GNU grep

I created a text file temp.txt with


What I get from trying to match each line with grep (GNU bash 3.2.48) from Bash command line:

  • Use "\\\\" to match \

    $ grep -x --color=always "\\" temp.txt \

  • So to match \\, \\\\\\\\ is needed:

    $ grep -x --color=always "\\\\" temp.txt \

  • To Match \:0251 which is the Mathematica InputForm string of a Chinese character:

    $ grep -x --color=always "\\:0251" temp.txt :0251

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