GIT-CAT-FILE(1)                  Git Manual                  GIT-CAT-FILE(1)

NAME         top

       git-cat-file - Provide content or type and size information for
       repository objects

SYNOPSIS         top

       git cat-file (-t [--allow-unknown-type]| -s [--allow-unknown-type]| -e | -p | <type> | --textconv | --filters ) [--path=<path>] <object>
       git cat-file (--batch | --batch-check) [ --textconv | --filters ] [--follow-symlinks]

DESCRIPTION         top

       In its first form, the command provides the content or the type of an
       object in the repository. The type is required unless -t or -p is
       used to find the object type, or -s is used to find the object size,
       or --textconv or --filters is used (which imply type "blob").

       In the second form, a list of objects (separated by linefeeds) is
       provided on stdin, and the SHA-1, type, and size of each object is
       printed on stdout. The output format can be overridden using the
       optional <format> argument. If either --textconv or --filters was
       specified, the input is expected to list the object names followed by
       the path name, separated by a single white space, so that the
       appropriate drivers can be determined.

OPTIONS         top

           The name of the object to show. For a more complete list of ways
           to spell object names, see the "SPECIFYING REVISIONS" section in

           Instead of the content, show the object type identified by

           Instead of the content, show the object size identified by

           Exit with zero status if <object> exists and is a valid object.
           If <object> is of an invalid format exit with non-zero and emits
           an error on stderr.

           Pretty-print the contents of <object> based on its type.

           Typically this matches the real type of <object> but asking for a
           type that can trivially be dereferenced from the given <object>
           is also permitted. An example is to ask for a "tree" with
           <object> being a commit object that contains it, or to ask for a
           "blob" with <object> being a tag object that points at it.

           Show the content as transformed by a textconv filter. In this
           case, <object> has to be of the form <tree-ish>:<path>, or
           :<path> in order to apply the filter to the content recorded in
           the index at <path>.

           Show the content as converted by the filters configured in the
           current working tree for the given <path> (i.e. smudge filters,
           end-of-line conversion, etc). In this case, <object> has to be of
           the form <tree-ish>:<path>, or :<path>.

           For use with --textconv or --filters, to allow specifying an
           object name and a path separately, e.g. when it is difficult to
           figure out the revision from which the blob came.

       --batch, --batch=<format>
           Print object information and contents for each object provided on
           stdin. May not be combined with any other options or arguments
           except --textconv or --filters, in which case the input lines
           also need to specify the path, separated by white space. See the
           section BATCH OUTPUT below for details.

       --batch-check, --batch-check=<format>
           Print object information for each object provided on stdin. May
           not be combined with any other options or arguments except
           --textconv or --filters, in which case the input lines also need
           to specify the path, separated by white space. See the section
           BATCH OUTPUT below for details.

           Instead of reading a list of objects on stdin, perform the
           requested batch operation on all objects in the repository and
           any alternate object stores (not just reachable objects).
           Requires --batch or --batch-check be specified. Note that the
           objects are visited in order sorted by their hashes.

           Normally batch output is flushed after each object is output, so
           that a process can interactively read and write from cat-file.
           With this option, the output uses normal stdio buffering; this is
           much more efficient when invoking --batch-check on a large number
           of objects.

           When --batch-all-objects is in use, visit objects in an order
           which may be more efficient for accessing the object contents
           than hash order. The exact details of the order are unspecified,
           but if you do not require a specific order, this should generally
           result in faster output, especially with --batch. Note that
           cat-file will still show each object only once, even if it is
           stored multiple times in the repository.

           Allow -s or -t to query broken/corrupt objects of unknown type.

           With --batch or --batch-check, follow symlinks inside the
           repository when requesting objects with extended SHA-1
           expressions of the form tree-ish:path-in-tree. Instead of
           providing output about the link itself, provide output about the
           linked-to object. If a symlink points outside the tree-ish (e.g.
           a link to /foo or a root-level link to ../foo), the portion of
           the link which is outside the tree will be printed.

           This option does not (currently) work correctly when an object in
           the index is specified (e.g.  :link instead of HEAD:link) rather
           than one in the tree.

           This option cannot (currently) be used unless --batch or
           --batch-check is used.

           For example, consider a git repository containing:

               f: a file containing "hello\n"
               link: a symlink to f
               dir/link: a symlink to ../f
               plink: a symlink to ../f
               alink: a symlink to /etc/passwd

           For a regular file f, echo HEAD:f | git cat-file --batch would

               ce013625030ba8dba906f756967f9e9ca394464a blob 6

           And echo HEAD:link | git cat-file --batch --follow-symlinks would
           print the same thing, as would HEAD:dir/link, as they both point
           at HEAD:f.

           Without --follow-symlinks, these would print data about the
           symlink itself. In the case of HEAD:link, you would see

               4d1ae35ba2c8ec712fa2a379db44ad639ca277bd blob 1

           Both plink and alink point outside the tree, so they would
           respectively print:

               symlink 4

               symlink 11

OUTPUT         top

       If -t is specified, one of the <type>.

       If -s is specified, the size of the <object> in bytes.

       If -e is specified, no output, unless the <object> is malformed.

       If -p is specified, the contents of <object> are pretty-printed.

       If <type> is specified, the raw (though uncompressed) contents of the
       <object> will be returned.

BATCH OUTPUT         top

       If --batch or --batch-check is given, cat-file will read objects from
       stdin, one per line, and print information about them. By default,
       the whole line is considered as an object, as if it were fed to

       You can specify the information shown for each object by using a
       custom <format>. The <format> is copied literally to stdout for each
       object, with placeholders of the form %(atom) expanded, followed by a
       newline. The available atoms are:

           The 40-hex object name of the object.

           The type of the object (the same as cat-file -t reports).

           The size, in bytes, of the object (the same as cat-file -s

           The size, in bytes, that the object takes up on disk. See the
           note about on-disk sizes in the CAVEATS section below.

           If the object is stored as a delta on-disk, this expands to the
           40-hex sha1 of the delta base object. Otherwise, expands to the
           null sha1 (40 zeroes). See CAVEATS below.

           If this atom is used in the output string, input lines are split
           at the first whitespace boundary. All characters before that
           whitespace are considered to be the object name; characters after
           that first run of whitespace (i.e., the "rest" of the line) are
           output in place of the %(rest) atom.

       If no format is specified, the default format is %(objectname)
       %(objecttype) %(objectsize).

       If --batch is specified, the object information is followed by the
       object contents (consisting of %(objectsize) bytes), followed by a

       For example, --batch without a custom format would produce:

           <sha1> SP <type> SP <size> LF
           <contents> LF

       Whereas --batch-check='%(objectname) %(objecttype)' would produce:

           <sha1> SP <type> LF

       If a name is specified on stdin that cannot be resolved to an object
       in the repository, then cat-file will ignore any custom format and

           <object> SP missing LF

       If --follow-symlinks is used, and a symlink in the repository points
       outside the repository, then cat-file will ignore any custom format
       and print:

           symlink SP <size> LF
           <symlink> LF

       The symlink will either be absolute (beginning with a /), or relative
       to the tree root. For instance, if dir/link points to ../../foo, then
       <symlink> will be ../foo. <size> is the size of the symlink in bytes.

       If --follow-symlinks is used, the following error messages will be

           <object> SP missing LF

       is printed when the initial symlink requested does not exist.

           dangling SP <size> LF
           <object> LF

       is printed when the initial symlink exists, but something that it
       (transitive-of) points to does not.

           loop SP <size> LF
           <object> LF

       is printed for symlink loops (or any symlinks that require more than
       40 link resolutions to resolve).

           notdir SP <size> LF
           <object> LF

       is printed when, during symlink resolution, a file is used as a
       directory name.

CAVEATS         top

       Note that the sizes of objects on disk are reported accurately, but
       care should be taken in drawing conclusions about which refs or
       objects are responsible for disk usage. The size of a packed
       non-delta object may be much larger than the size of objects which
       delta against it, but the choice of which object is the base and
       which is the delta is arbitrary and is subject to change during a

       Note also that multiple copies of an object may be present in the
       object database; in this case, it is undefined which copy’s size or
       delta base will be reported.

GIT         top

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COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the git (Git distributed version control system)
       project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual page,
       see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2018-10-29.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2018-10-26.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Git           10/28/2018                  GIT-CAT-FILE(1)

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