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Bash Reference Manual

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3.6.5 Here Documents

This type of redirection instructs the shell to read input from the current source until a line containing only word (with no trailing blanks) is seen. All of the lines read up to that point are then used as the standard input for a command.

The format of here-documents is:
 
<<[-]word
        here-document
delimiter

No parameter expansion, command substitution, arithmetic expansion, or filename expansion is performed on word. If any characters in word are quoted, the delimiter is the result of quote removal on word, and the lines in the here-document are not expanded. If word is unquoted, all lines of the here-document are subjected to parameter expansion, command substitution, and arithmetic expansion. In the latter case, the character sequence \newline is ignored, and `\' must be used to quote the characters `\', `$', and ``'.

If the redirection operator is `<<-', then all leading tab characters are stripped from input lines and the line containing delimiter. This allows here-documents within shell scripts to be indented in a natural fashion.


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