The Linux column command makes it easy to display data in a columnar format — often making it easier to view, digest, or incorporate into a report. While column is a command that’s simple to use, it has some very useful options that are worth considering. In the examples in this post, you will get a feel for how the command works and how you can get it to format data in the most useful ways.
By default, the column command will ignore blanks lines in the input data. When displaying data in multiple columns, it will organize the content by filling the left column first and then moving to the right. For example, a file containing numbers 1 to 12 might be displayed in this order:
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