GIT-CAT-FILE(1) Git Manual GIT-CAT-FILE(1)
git-cat-file - Provide content or type and size information for
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]
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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 git-rev-
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)
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
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 print:
<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
symlink SP <size> 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
is printed when the initial symlink exists, but something that it
(transitive-of) points to does not.
loop SP <size> LF
is printed for symlink loops (or any symlinks that require more than 40
link resolutions to resolve).
notdir SP <size> LF
is printed when, during symlink resolution, a file is used as a
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 repack.
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.
Part of the git(1) suite
Git 2.17.1 05/29/2018 GIT-CAT-FILE(1)