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I want to see the contents(list of files and folders) of tar.gz file without extracting it.

Is there any methods of seeing that?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Run the below command on terminal to see the contents of a tar.gz file without extracting it,

tar -tf filename.tar.gz

enter image description here

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You can also use vim

vim filename.tar.gz
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This is awesome. You can also see the contents of the files! –  Nico Oct 21 '14 at 13:24

less can also open gz-compressed and uncompressed tar archives. It gives you a lovely ls -l style output too:

$ less ~/src/compiz_0.9.7.8-0ubuntu1.6.debian.tar.gz
drwxrwxr-x 0/0               0 2012-09-21 11:41 debian/
drwxrwxr-x 0/0               0 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/source/
-rw-rw-r-- 0/0              12 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/source/format
-rw-rw-r-- 0/0              25 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/libdecoration0-dev.docs
-rw-rw-r-- 0/0              25 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/compiz-dev.docs
-rw-rw-r-- 0/0             347 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/compiz-core.install
-rw-rw-r-- 0/0             125 2012-08-09 13:32 debian/libdecoration0-dev.install

And because it's less, you can scroll through it, search it, etc. However it fails miserably with other compression algorithms (in my experience).

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