This post will show you how to grep tar.gz or .gz files without unzipping it.

grep gz file without unzipping(not tar.gz)

You can use command zgrep to do this

zgrep -a string file.gz
  • -a means process a binary file as if it were text

Zgrep invokes grep on compressed or gzipped files. All options specified are passed directly to grep.

For example:

j@ubuntu:~/tmp$ zgrep -a test file1.gz 

grep tar.gz file without unzipping

Actually zgrep also can deal with tar.gz file but the output is not so friendly.

j@ubuntu:~/tmp$ zgrep -a hello file.tar.gz 
file20000664000175000017500000000000714101525007007240 0ustar  jjhello2

So we can use tar instead.

tar -xzOf file.tar.gz | grep STRING
  • -x : Extract files from an archive
  • -z : Filter the archive through gzip
  • -o : Extract files to standard output
  • -f : Use archive file

Below is one real example:

j@ubuntu:~/tmp$ tar -xzOf file.tar.gz | grep hello

grep tar.gz and print which actual files match

You know ,a tar.gz file may contains many files , if you need to know which sub files contain the strings you want to grep.

tar xzf file.tar.gz --to-command 'grep --label="$TAR_FILENAME" -H stringtosearch ; true'
  • –to-command : Pipe extracted files to command
  • –label : Display input actually coming from standard input as input coming from file TAR_FILENAME
  • TAR_FILENAME : Internal environment variable of –to-command , means the name of the files which been extracted by tar
  • -H : Print the file name for each match

Below is a real example:

j@ubuntu:~/tmp$ tar tzf file.tar.gz 
j@ubuntu:~/tmp$ tar xzf file.tar.gz --to-command 'grep --label="$TAR_FILENAME" -H  hello ; true'

We can see file.tar.gz contains 2 files, file1 and file1 , and only file2 match