zcat − decompress and concatenate files to standard output


zcat [options] [files]


Zcat copies each given file to standard output. If any given file is compressed, its decompressed content is used. If a given file does not exist, and its name does not end with one of the known extensions, zcat tries the compressed file names corresponding to the supported formats.

If no files are specified, or if a file is specified as ’−’, data are read from standard input, decompressed if needed, and sent to standard output. Data read from standard input must be of the same type; all uncompressed or all in the same compression format.

The supported formats are bzip2, gzip, lzip and xz.

Exit status is 0 if no errors occurred, non−zero otherwise.


−h, −−help

display this help and exit

−V, −−version

output version information and exit

−A, −−show−all

equivalent to ’−vET’

−b, −−number−nonblank

number nonblank output lines


equivalent to ’−vE’

−E, −−show−ends

display ’$’ at end of each line

−M, −−format=<list>

process only the formats in <list>

−n, −−number

number all output lines

−N, −−no−rcfile

don’t read runtime configuration file

−O, −−force−format=<fmt>

force given format (bz2, gz, lz, xz)

−q, −−quiet

suppress all messages

−r, −−recursive

operate recursively on directories

−s, −−squeeze−blank

never more than one single blank line


equivalent to ’−vT’

−T, −−show−tabs

display TAB characters as ’^I’

−v, −−show−nonprinting

use ’^’ and ’M−’ notation, except for LF and TAB


verbose mode (show error messages)


set compressor and options for bzip2 format


set compressor and options for gzip format


set compressor and options for lzip format


set compressor and options for xz format


Report bugs to zutils−bug [AT]
Zutils home page:


Copyright © 2017 Antonio Diaz Diaz. License GPLv2+: GNU GPL version 2 or later <>;
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.