Linux tar command is used to create archives for data, files, and folders. The tar command name comes from
tape archive . One of the most useful features of the tar command is compressing multiple files and folders into a single file which can be easily compressed with different tools like gz, bz, 7z etc. In this tutorial, we examine how to use the tar command for different cases and scenarios.
tar Command Syntax
The tar command has the following syntax.
tar OPTIONS TAR_FILE FILE
- OPTIONS are used to take different action with tar command.
- TAR_FILE is the tar file which will be used to created.
- FILE is single or more files and folders to tar or extract.
The tar command has a lot of options but some of them are very popular. We list the popular options below.
|-c||Compres Create tar Archive|
|-x||Extract tar Archive|
|-f||Create tar Archive with the provided name|
|-t||Display files inside the tar archive|
|-u||Add a new file to an existing tar archive|
|-v||Display verbose information|
|-A||Concatane archive fişles|
|-z||Create *.tar.gz file|
|-j||Filter archive tar file using tbzip|
|-W||Verify tar archive file|
|-r||Update or Add file or directory into an existing tar archive|
Create Tar File
The tar command uses the
cvf option in order to create a tar archive file. In the following example we will create the tar archive of the files with
Create Tar File for Directory
The tar command can be also used to create a tar archive from a single specified directory. Similar to the previous example the
cvf options are used to create a tar archive of a single directory.
$ tar cvf Downloads.tar Downloads
Create Tar File for Multiple Directories
The tar command can be also used to create tar archive of multiple directories. The directories are added after the tar file name.
$ tar cvf Downloads.tar Downloads1 downloads2 mydownloads
Extract Tar File
xvf option is used to extract existing tar archive.
$ tar xvf Downlaods.tar
Compress Gzip and Tar
The tar command only archives a file but does not compress it technically. The tar is generally used with compression commands like gzip. The
*.tar.gz is used for tarred and gzipped files. The
cvzf option is used to archive and compress this archive with gzip algorithm.
$ tar cvzf downlaods.tar.gz downloads
Extract Gzip and Tar
xvfj option is used to extract existing
*.tar.gz compressed archive file.
$ tar cvzf downlaods.tar.gz
Print Size of Tar File
In some cases, we may need to get or print the size of the extracted files. We can accomplish this without extracting the archive completely. We will extract the archive and redirect it into
wc command in order to count the character count which is around the file size as KB.
$ tar xvf nmap.tar | wc -c
Add New File To Existing Tar File
rvf option is used to add a new file to the existing tar file. The file name is provided as the last parameter.
$ tar rvf downlaods.tar myfile.txt
List Tar File Contents
The contents of a tar file can be listed with the
$ tar tf downloads.tar
Grep Tar File Content
Generally, tar archive files contain a lot of files and folders and in order to find a specified file or folder, the
grep command can be used to filter a list of files and folders. In the following example, we search or filter for files or folders with the name of
$ tar tf downloads.tar | grep "data"