man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

tail (1g)


tail - output the last part of files


tail [OPTION]... [FILE]...


User Commands                                             TAIL(1)

     tail - output the last part of files

     tail [OPTION]... [FILE]...

     Print  the  last  10  lines of each FILE to standard output.
     With more than one FILE, precede each with a  header  giving
     the  file name.  With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read stan-
     dard input.

     Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for  short
     options too.

     -c, --bytes=K
          output  the  last  K bytes; alternatively, use -c +K to
          output bytes starting with the Kth of each file

     -f, --follow[={name|descriptor}]
          output appended data as the file grows;  -f,  --follow,
          and --follow=descriptor are equivalent

     -F   same as --follow=name --retry

     -n, --lines=K
          output the last K lines, instead of the last 10; or use
          -n +K to output lines starting with the Kth

          with --follow=name, reopen a FILE which has not changed
          size  after  N  (default 5) iterations to see if it has
          been unlinked or renamed (this is  the  usual  case  of
          rotated  log  files).   With  inotify,  this  option is
          rarely useful.

          with -f, terminate after process ID, PID dies

     -q, --quiet, --silent
          never output headers giving file names

          keep trying to open a file even when it is  or  becomes
          inaccessible; useful when following by name, i.e., with

     -s, --sleep-interval=N
          with -f, sleep for  approximately  N  seconds  (default
          1.0)  between  iterations.   With  inotify and --pid=P,
          check process P at least once every N seconds.

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User Commands                                             TAIL(1)

     -v, --verbose
          always output headers giving file names

          display this help and exit

          output version information and exit

     If the first character of K (the number of bytes  or  lines)
     is  a  '+', print beginning with the Kth item from the start
     of each file, otherwise, print the last K items in the file.
     K  may  have a multiplier suffix: b 512, kB 1000, K 1024, MB
     1000*1000, M 1024*1024, GB 1000*1000*1000, G 1024*1024*1024,
     and so on for T, P, E, Z, Y.

     With  --follow  (-f),  tail  defaults  to following the file
     descriptor, which means that  even  if  a  tail'ed  file  is
     renamed,  tail will continue to track its end.  This default
     behavior is not desirable when you really want to track  the
     actual  name of the file, not the file descriptor (e.g., log
     rotation).  Use --follow=name in  that  case.   That  causes
     tail  to  track  the  named  file in a way that accommodates
     renaming, removal and creation.

     Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie,  Ian  Lance  Taylor,
     and Jim Meyering.

     Report tail bugs to
     GNU  coreutils home page: <
     General help using GNU  software:  <
     Report  tail  translation  bugs  to  <http://translationpro->

     Copyright (C) 2012 Free Software Foundation,  Inc.   License
     GPLv3+:      GNU      GPL     version     3     or     later
     This is free software: you are free  to  change  and  redis-
     tribute  it.   There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted
     by law.

     See  attributes(5)  for  descriptions   of   the   following

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User Commands                                             TAIL(1)

     |Availability   | file/gnu-coreutils |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted        |
     The  full  documentation for tail is maintained as a Texinfo
     manual.   If  the  info  and  tail  programs  are   properly
     installed at your site, the command

          info coreutils 'tail invocation'

     should give you access to the complete manual.

     This   software   was   built   from   source  available  at   The   original
     community       source       was       downloaded       from

     Further information about this software can be found on  the
     open  source  community  website at

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