Linux: Show File Content

By Xah Lee. Date: .

Show file content

cat fname
print file content to screen.
cat fname | more
show file content by one screenful page at a time.
This is called “paging”.
Type q to exit. Type h for other keys.

Show first few lines or last few lines of a file

head fname
View the first few lines of a file. (most useful for big files, e.g. Log file.)
tail fname
View the last few lines of a file.
tail -f fname
View the last few lines of a growing file, updated continuously. Typically used on log files. Ctrl + c to exit.

Show file type

file fname
print what type of file it is. (For example, text, jpg, png, pdf, etc.)

edit a file

vi fname
edit a file. Type Escape : q to exit. [see vim Basics]

Linux Shell Basics

Directory and Files

Compress, Archive, Download

Text Processing

User, Group, File Perm


Process, Job Control


Linux Desktop