Chapter 12. Arithmetic Expansion

Arithmetic expansion provides a powerful tool for performing (integer) arithmetic operations in scripts. Translating a string into a numerical expression is relatively straightforward using backticks, double parentheses, or let.

Variations

Arithmetic expansion with backticks (often used in conjunction with expr)

z=`expr $z + 3` # The 'expr' command performs the expansion.

Arithmetic expansion with double parentheses, and using let

The use of backticks (backquotes) in arithmetic expansion has been superseded by double parentheses -- ((...)) and $((...)) -- and also by the very convenient let construction.

z=$(($z+3)) z=$((z+3)) # Also correct. # Within double parentheses, #+ parameter dereferencing #+ is optional. # $((EXPRESSION)) is arithmetic expansion. # Not to be confused with #+ command substitution. # You may also use operations within double parentheses without assignment. n=0 echo "n = $n" # n = 0 (( n += 1 )) # Increment. # (( $n += 1 )) is incorrect! echo "n = $n" # n = 1 let z=z+3 let "z += 3" # Quotes permit the use of spaces in variable assignment. # The 'let' operator actually performs arithmetic evaluation, #+ rather than expansion.

Examples of arithmetic expansion in scripts:

  1. Example 15-9

  2. Example 10-14

  3. Example 26-1

  4. Example 26-11

  5. Example A-17