file [file...]

Determine file type


fileFile name(s)


--helpPrint a help message and exit
--appleCauses the file command to output the file type and creator code as used by older MacOS versions. The code consists of eight letters, the first describing the file type, the latter the creator. This option works properly only for file formats that have the apple-style output defined
--brief, -bDo not prepend filenames to output lines (brief mode)
--checking-printoug, -cCause a checking printout of the parsed form of the magic file. This is usually used in conjunction with the -m option to debug a new magic file before installing it
--compile, -CWrite a magic.mgc output file that contains a pre-parsed version of the magic file or directory
-dApply the default system tests; this is the default behavior unless -M is specified
-DPrint debugging messages
-EOn filesystem errors (file not found etc), instead of handling the error as regular output as POSIX mandates and keep going, issue an error message and exit
--exclude, -e <testname>Exclude the test named in testname from the list of tests made to determine the file type
--exclude-quietLike --exclude but ignore tests that file does not know about. This is intended for compatibility with older versions of file
--extensionPrint a slash-separated list of valid extensions for the file type found
--separator, -F <separator>Use the specified string as the separator between the filename and the file result returned
--files-from, -f <namefile>Read the names of the files to be examined from namefile (one per line) before the argument list. Either namefile or at least one filename argument must be present; to test the standard input, use ‘-’ as a filename argument. Please note that namefile is unwrapped and the enclosed filenames are processed when this option is encountered and before any further options processing is done. This allows one to process multiple lists of files with different command line arguments on the same file invocation. Thus if you want to set the delimiter, you need to do it before you specify the list of files, like: "-F @ -f namefile", instead of: "-f namefile -F @"
--no-dereference, -hThis option causes symlinks not to be followed (on systems that support symbolic links)
-iIf the file is a regular file, do not classify its contents
--mime, -ICauses the file command to output mime type strings rather than the more traditional human readable ones. Thus it may say 'text/plain; charset=us-ascii' rather than "ASCII text"
--mime-type, --mime-encodingLike -I, but print only the specified element(s)
--keep-going, -kDon't stop at the first match, keep going. Subsequent matches will be have the string '\012- ' prepended. (If you want a newline, see the -r option.) The magic pattern with the highest strength (see the -l option) comes first
--list, -lShows a list of patterns and their strength sorted descending by magic(5) strength which is used for the matching (see also the -k option)
--dereference, -LThis option causes symlinks to be followed, as the like-named option in ls(1) (on systems that support symbolic links). This is the default behavior
--magic-file, -m <list>Specify an alternate list of files and directories containing magic. This can be a single item, or a colon-separated list. If a compiled magic file is found alongside a file or directory, it will be used instead
-M <list>Like -m, except that the default rules are not applied unless -d is specified
--no-buffer, -nForce stdout to be flushed after checking each file. This is only useful if checking a list of files. It is intended to be used by programs that want filetype output from a pipe
--preserve-data, -pOn systems that support utime(3) or utimes(2), attempt to preserve the access time of files analyzed, to pretend that file never read them
--parameter, -P <name=value>
  • Repeatable ♾
--raw, -rNo operation, included for historical compatibility
--special-files, sNormally, file only attempts to read and determine the type of argument files which stat(2) reports are ordinary files. This prevents problems, because reading special files may have peculiar consequences. Specifying the -s option causes file to also read argument files which are block or character special files. This is useful for determining the filesystem types of the data in raw disk partitions, which are block special files. This option also causes file to disregard the file size as reported by stat(2) since on some systems it reports a zero size for raw disk partitions
--version, -vPrint the version of the program and exit
--uncompress, -zTry to look inside compressed files
--uncompress-noreport, -ZTry to look inside compressed files, but report information about the contents only not the compression
--print0, -0Output a null character '' after the end of the filename. Nice to cut(1) the output. This does not affect the separator, which is still printed