Go to main content

man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

pv (1)


pv - monitor the progress of data through a pipe


pv [OPTION] [FILE]...
pv [-h|-V]


pv(1)                            User Manuals                            pv(1)

       pv - monitor the progress of data through a pipe

       pv [OPTION] [FILE]...
       pv [-h|-V]

       pv  shows the progress of data through a pipeline by giving information
       such as time elapsed, percentage completed (with progress bar), current
       throughput rate, total data transferred, and ETA.

       To  use  it,  insert  it  in a pipeline between two processes, with the
       appropriate options.  Its standard input will be passed through to  its
       standard output and progress will be shown on standard error.

       pv  will  copy  each  supplied FILE in turn to standard output (- means
       standard input), or if no FILEs are specified just  standard  input  is
       copied. This is the same behaviour as cat(1).

       A  simple  example  to  watch  how  quickly a file is transferred using

              pv file | nc -w 1 somewhere.com 3000

       A similar example, transferring a file from another process and passing
       the expected size to pv:

              cat file | pv -s 12345 | nc -w 1 somewhere.com 3000

       A  more  complicated example using numeric output to feed into the dia-
       log(1) program for a full-screen progress display:

              (tar cf - . \
               | pv -n -s $(du -sb . | awk '{print $1}') \
               | gzip -9 > out.tgz) 2>&1 \
              | dialog --gauge 'Progress' 7 70

       Taking an image of a disk, skipping errors:

              pv -EE /dev/sda > disk-image.img

       Writing an image back to a disk:

              pv disk-image.img > /dev/sda

       Zeroing a disk:

              pv < /dev/zero > /dev/sda

       Note that if the input size cannot be calculated, and the output  is  a
       block  device,  then  the  size of the block device will be used and pv
       will automatically stop at that size as if -S had been given.

       (Linux only): Watching file descriptor  3  opened  by  another  process

              pv -d 1234:3

       (Linux only): Watching all file descriptors used by process 1234:

              pv -d 1234

       pv  takes many options, which are divided into display switches, output
       modifiers, and general options.

       If no display switches are specified, pv behaves as if -p, -t, -e,  -r,
       and  -b had been given (i.e. everything except average rate is switched
       on).  Otherwise, only those display types that are explicitly  switched
       on will be shown.

       -p, --progress
              Turn  the  progress bar on.  If standard input is not a file and
              no size was given (with the -s modifier), the progress bar  can-
              not indicate how close to completion the transfer is, so it will
              just move left and right to indicate that data is moving.

       -t, --timer
              Turn the timer on.  This will display  the  total  elapsed  time
              that pv has been running for.

       -e, --eta
              Turn  the  ETA  timer  on.  This will attempt to guess, based on
              previous transfer rates and the total data  size,  how  long  it
              will  be  before completion.  This option will have no effect if
              the total data size cannot be determined.

       -I, --fineta
              Turn the ETA timer on, but display the estimated local  time  of
              arrival  instead  of time left.  When the estimated time is more
              than 6 hours in the future, the date is shown as well.

       -r, --rate
              Turn the rate counter on.  This will display the current rate of
              data transfer.

       -a, --average-rate
              Turn the average rate counter on.  This will display the average
              rate of data transfer so far.

       -b, --bytes
              Turn the total byte counter on.  This  will  display  the  total
              amount of data transferred so far.

       -T, --buffer-percent
              Turn  on the transfer buffer percentage display.  This will show
              the percentage of the transfer buffer  in  use  -  but  see  the
              caveat under %T in the FORMATTING section below.

       -A, --last-written NUM
              Show  the  last NUM bytes written - but see the caveat under %nA
              in the FORMATTING section below.

       -F, --format FORMAT
              Ignore the options -p, -t, -e, -r,  -a,  -b,  -T,  and  -A,  and
              instead  use  the  format  string FORMAT to determine the output
              format.  See the FORMATTING section below.

       -n, --numeric
              Numeric output.   Instead  of  giving  a  visual  indication  of
              progress,  pv  will give an integer percentage, one per line, on
              standard error, suitable for piping (via convoluted redirection)
              into  dialog(1).   Note  that  -f is not required if -n is being

              Note that if --numeric is in use, then adding --bytes will cause
              the  number  of bytes processed so far to be output instead of a
              percentage; if --line-mode is also in use, then instead of bytes
              or  a  percentage,  the  number  of lines so far is output.  And
              finally, if --timer is also in use, then  each  output  line  is
              prefixed  with  the  elapsed time so far, as a decimal number of

       -q, --quiet
              No output.  Useful if the -L option is being used on its own  to
              just limit the transfer rate of a pipe.

       -W, --wait
              Wait  until  the  first byte has been transferred before showing
              any progress information or calculating any ETAs.  Useful if the
              program  you  are  piping  to or from requires extra information
              before it starts, eg piping data into gpg(1) or mcrypt(1)  which
              require a passphrase before data can be processed.

       -D, --delay-start SEC
              Wait  until  SEC seconds have passed before showing any progress
              information, for example in a script where you only want to show
              a  progress bar if it starts taking a long time.  Note that this
              can be a decimal such as 0.5.

       -s SIZE, --size SIZE
              Assume the total amount of data to be transferred is SIZE  bytes
              when  calculating  percentages  and  ETAs.  The same suffixes of
              "k", "m" etc can be used as with -L.

              Has no effect if used with -d PID to watch all file  descriptors
              of a process, but will work with -d PID:FD.

       -l, --line-mode
              Instead of counting bytes, count lines (newline characters). The
              progress bar will only move when a new line is  found,  and  the
              value  passed  to  the  -s  option will be interpreted as a line
              count.  Note that file sizes are  not  automatically  calculated
              when  this  option  is  used,  to avoid having to read all files

       -0, --null
              Count  lines  as   null   terminated.    This   option   implies

       -i SEC, --interval SEC
              Wait  SEC  seconds  between  updates.   The default is to update
              every second.  Note that this can be a decimal such as 0.1.

       -w WIDTH, --width WIDTH
              Assume the terminal is WIDTH characters wide, instead of  trying
              to work it out (or assuming 80 if it cannot be guessed).

       -H HEIGHT, --height HEIGHT
              Assume  the  terminal  is HEIGHT rows high, instead of trying to
              work it out (or assuming 25 if it cannot be guessed).

       -N NAME, --name NAME
              Prefix the output information with NAME.  Useful in  conjunction
              with  -c  if  you have a complicated pipeline and you want to be
              able to tell different parts of it apart.

       -f, --force
              Force output.  Normally, pv will not output any  visual  display
              if  standard  error is not a terminal.  This option forces it to
              do so.

       -c, --cursor
              Use cursor positioning escape sequences instead  of  just  using
              carriage  returns.  This is useful in conjunction with -N (name)
              if you are using multiple pv  invocations  in  a  single,  long,

       -L RATE, --rate-limit RATE
              Limit  the  transfer  to  a maximum of RATE bytes per second.  A
              suffix of "K", "M", "G", or "T" can be added to denote kibibytes
              (*1024), mebibytes, and so on.

       -B BYTES, --buffer-size BYTES
              Use  a  transfer  buffer  size of BYTES bytes.  A suffix of "K",
              "M", "G", or "T" can  be  added  to  denote  kibibytes  (*1024),
              mebibytes, and so on.  The default buffer size is the block size
              of the input file's filesystem multiplied by 32 (512KiB max), or
              400KiB if the block size cannot be determined.

       -C, --no-splice
              Never use splice(2), even if it would normally be possible.  The
              splice(2) system call is a more efficient  way  of  transferring
              data  from  or  to a pipe than regular read(2) and write(2), but
              means that the transfer buffer may not be used.   This  prevents
              -A  and -T from working, so if you want to use -A or -T then you
              will need to use -C, at the cost of a  small  loss  in  transfer
              efficiency.   (This  option  has  no  effect  on  systems  where
              splice(2) is unavailable).

       -E, --skip-errors
              Ignore read errors by attempting to skip past the offending sec-
              tions.   The  corresponding  parts  of  the  output will be null
              bytes.  At first only a few bytes will be skipped, but if  there
              are  many  errors in a row then the skips will move up to chunks
              of 512.  This is intended to be similar to dd  conv=sync,noerror
              but has not been as thoroughly tested.

              Specify  -E  twice  to  only  report a read error once per file,
              instead of reporting each byte range skipped.

       -S, --stop-at-size
              If a size was specified with -s,  stop  transferring  data  once
              that  many bytes have been written, instead of continuing to the
              end of input.

       -d PID[:FD], --watchfd PID[:FD]
              Instead of  transferring  data,  watch  file  descriptor  FD  of
              process  PID,  and  show its progress.  The pv process will exit
              when FD either changes to a different file,  changes  read/write
              mode,  or  is closed; other data transfer modifiers - and remote
              control - may not be used with this option.

              If only a PID is specified, then that process will  be  watched,
              and  all  regular files and block devices it opens will be shown
              with a progress bar.  The pv process will exit when process  PID

       -R PID, --remote PID
              If PID is an instance of pv that is already running, -R PID will
              cause that instance to act as though  it  had  been  given  this
              instance's  command line instead.  For example, if pv -L 123K is
              running with process ID 9876, then running pv -R  9876  -L  321K
              will  cause  it to start using a rate limit of 321KiB instead of
              123KiB.  Note that some options cannot be changed while running,
              such as -c, -l, -f, -D, -E, and -S.

       -P FILE, --pidfile FILE
              Save  the  process ID of pv in FILE.  The file will be truncated
              if it already exists, and will be removed when pv exits.   While
              pv  is running, it will contain a single number - the process ID
              of pv - followed by a newline.

       -h, --help
              Print a usage message on standard output and exit successfully.

       -V, --version
              Print version information on standard output and  exit  success-

       If  the -F option is given, then the output format is determined by the
       given format string.  Within that string, the following  sequences  can
       be used:

       %p     Progress  bar.  Expands to fill the remaining space. Should only
              be specified once.  Equivalent to -p.

       %t     Elapsed time.  Equivalent to -t.

       %e     ETA as time remaining.  Equivalent to -e.

       %I     ETA as local time of completion.  Equivalent to -I.

       %r     Current data transfer rate.  Equivalent to -r.

       %a     Average data transfer rate.  Equivalent to -a.

       %b     Bytes transferred so far (or lines if -l was specified).  Equiv-
              alent to -b.

       %T     Percentage  of  the  transfer  buffer in use.  Equivalent to -T.
              Shows "{----}" if the transfer is  being  done  with  splice(2),
              since splicing to or from pipes does not use the buffer.

       %nA    Show  the  last  n  bytes  written  (e.g.   %16A for the last 16
              bytes).  Shows only dots if the  transfer  is  being  done  with
              splice(2), since splicing to or from pipes does not use the buf-

       %N     Name prefix given by -N.  Padded to 9  characters  with  spaces,
              and suffixed with :.

       %%     A single %.

       The  format string equivalent of turning on all display switches is `%N
       %b %T %t %r %a %p %e'.

       Some suggested common switch combinations:

       pv -ptebar
              Show a progress bar, elapsed time,  estimated  completion  time,
              byte counter, average rate, and current rate.

       pv -betlap
              Show  a  progress  bar, elapsed time, estimated completion time,
              line counter, and average rate, counting lines instead of bytes.

       pv -t  Show only the elapsed time - useful  as  a  simple  timer,  e.g.
              sleep 10m | pv -t.

       pv -pterb
              The  default  behaviour:  progress  bar, elapsed time, estimated
              completion time, current rate, and byte counter.

       An exit status of 1 indicates a problem with the -R or -P options.

       Any other exit status is a bitmask of the following:

       2      One or more files could not be accessed, stat(2)ed, or opened.

       4      An input file was the same as the output file.

       8      Internal error with closing a file or moving to the next file.

       16     There was an error while transferring  data  from  one  or  more
              input files.

       32     A signal was caught that caused an early exit.

       64     Memory allocation failed.

              A zero exit status indicates no problems.

       Written by Andrew Wood, with patches submitted by various other people.
       Please see the package README for a complete list of contributors.

       The following problems are known to exist in pv:

       *      The -c option does not work properly on Cygwin without cygserver
              running, if started near the bottom of the screen (IPC is needed
              to handle the terminal scrolling).  To fix this, start cygserver
              before using pv -c.

       *      The  -R option is not available on Cygwin without cygserver run-
              ning (SYSV IPC is needed). To fix this, start  cygserver  before
              running  the  instance of pv you want, at runtime, to change the
              parameters of.

       If you find any other problems, please report them.

       Report bugs in pv to pv@ivarch.com or use the contact form linked  from
       the pv home page: <http://www.ivarch.com/programs/pv.shtml>

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | shell/pipe-viewer |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted       |
       cat(1), dialog(1), splice(2)

       This is free software, distributed under the ARTISTIC 2.0 license.

       This     software     was    built    from    source    available    at
       https://github.com/oracle/solaris-userland.   The  original   community
       source      was     downloaded     from      http://www.ivarch.com/pro-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at http://www.ivarch.com/programs/pv.shtml.

Linux                              June 2017                             pv(1)