Line continuation enables long lines of code to split across several lines for the purpose of making them easier to read.

The backslash symbol as a continuation character

In awk, the backslash symbol can be used as a continuation character, enabling a statement to be split across several lines:

   # The backslash symbol can be used to spread a statement across several lines
   print \
     "Hello World!"

Continuation characters must be appropriately placed within a statement

In awk, a continuation character should not be placed in the middle of a keyword, [[literal_string?]] or regular expression:

 # Do not split a regular expression
 # /foo\
 # bar/ { print $1 }
 # Whitespace is the best place to split a line
 /foobar / \
 { print $1 }
 # Comments cannot be split with a backslash symbol \
 # because the backlash is treated as part of the comment