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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Extract Only Desired Files from Compressed File

Lately I have been working with some large tarballs (tar.gz files).  To access the compressed contents, usually I would extract all the files that were compressed in the archive.  This was time consuming to decompress all the files, a pain to filter through looking for the files I wanted, and required more time to delete everything I didn't want.  I knew there was a better way to just get the files I wanted.  Sure enough, the basic tar command has options that allow you just to extract a file of interest or even a set of files using wildcards.  The command looks like this:

big_file.tar.gz is the tarball you are extracting from
path is the path to your file in the tarball
your_file.txt is the file you want to extract

This can also be done using wildcards.  For example, if I wanted all text files in the above path I could substitute *.txt for your_file.txt.

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