sed + remove “#” and empty lines with one sed command

If you’re worried about starting two sed processes in a pipeline for performance reasons, you probably shouldn’t be, it’s still very efficient. But based on your comment that you want to do in-place editing, you can still do that with distinct commands (sed commands rather than invocations of sed itself).

You can either use multiple -e arguments or separate commands with a semicolon, something like (just one of these, not both):

sed -i 's/#.*$//' -e '/^$/d' fileName
sed -i 's/#.*$//;/^$/d' fileName

The following transcript shows this in action:

pax> printf 'Line # with a comment\n\n# Line with only a comment\n' >file

pax> cat file
Line # with a comment

# Line with only a comment

pax> cp file filex ; sed -i 's/#.*$//;/^$/d' filex ; cat filex

pax> cp file filex ; sed -i -e 's/#.*$//' -e '/^$/d' filex ; cat filex

Note how the file is modified in-place even with two -e options. You can see that both commands are executed on each line. The line with a comment first has the comment removed then all is removed because it’s empty.

In addition, the original empty line is also removed.

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