Bash Unexpected end of file. What Does This Syntax Error Mean?

You are running a Bash script, and you see a syntax error: Unexpected end of file.

What does it mean?

This can happen if you create your script using Windows.


Because Windows uses a combination of two characters, Carriage Return and Line Feed, as line break in text files (also known as CRLF).

On the other side Unix (or Linux) only use the Line Feed character as line break.

So, let’s see what happens if we save a script using Windows and then we execute it in Linux.

Using the Windows notepad I have created a Bash script called


if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then
  echo "More than one argument passed"
  echo "No arguments passed"

And here is the output I get when I execute it:

[ec2-user@localhost scripts]$ ./ 
./ line 2: $'\r': command not found
./ line 8: syntax error: unexpected end of file 

How do we see where the problem is?

Edit the script with the vim editor using the -b flag that runs the editor in binary mode:

[ec2-user@localhost scripts]$ vim -b

(Below you can see the content of the script)

if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then^M
  echo "More than one argument passed"^M
  echo "No arguments passed"^M

At the end of each line we see the ^M character. What is that?

It’s the carriage return we have mentioned before. Used by Windows but not by Unix (Linux) in line breaks.

To solve both errors we need to convert our script into a format that Linux understands.

The most common tool to do that is called dos2unix.

If dos2unix is not present on your system you can use the package manager of your distribution to install it.

For instance, on my server I can use YUM (Yellowdog Updater Modified).

To search for the package I use the yum search command:

[root@localhost ~]$ yum search dos2unix
Loaded plugins: extras_suggestions, langpacks, priorities, update-motd
====================== N/S matched: dos2unix =====================================
dos2unix.x86_64 : Text file format converters

And then the yum install command to install it:

[root@localhost ~]$ yum install dos2unix
Loaded plugins: extras_suggestions, langpacks, priorities, update-motd
amzn2-core                                                   | 2.4 kB  00:00:00
amzn2extra-docker                                            | 1.8 kB  00:00:00     
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package dos2unix.x86_64 0:6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution 

Dependencies Resolved 

  Package       Arch        Version            Repository            Size
  dos2unix      x86_64      6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2  amzn2-core            75 k
 Transaction Summary
 Install  1 Package

 Total download size: 75 k
 Installed size: 194 k
 Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
 Downloading packages:
 dos2unix-6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2.x86_64.rpm                      |  75 kB  00:00:00     
 Running transaction check
 Running transaction test
 Transaction test succeeded
 Running transaction
   Installing : dos2unix-6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2.x86_64                          1/1 
   Verifying  : dos2unix-6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2.x86_64                          1/1 

   dos2unix.x86_64 0:6.0.3-7.amzn2.0.2                                                                                                                         

We are ready to convert our script using dos2unix!

[ec2-user@localhost scripts]$ dos2unix 
dos2unix: converting file to Unix format ... 

And now it’s time to execute it:

[ec2-user@localhost scripts]$ ./  No arguments passed

It works!

If you are interested I have written an article that explains the basics of Bash script arguments.


I have found myself having to use the dos2unix command several times over the years.

And now you know what to do if you see the syntax error “Unexpected end of file” while running a Bash script 🙂

Related FREE Course: Decipher Bash Scripting

Share knowledge with your friends!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *