When using apt-get install <package_name>, and there are dependencies that need to be downloaded, the terminal outputs names of additional packages and total size, and asks for confirmation before downloading.

But, when dependencies are satisfied and nothing but the named package needs to be downloaded there is no size output and no confirmation.

When using Synaptic, I can see the total size that new packages that will use after installation but no way to see the size that needs to be downloaded, except to go from package to package and use properties to see the compressed size.

I would like to know if there is a way to see the size of a package(s) in terminal and Synaptic prior to downloading and installing it/them?

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In the terminal, for a single package:

apt-cache --no-all-versions show $package | grep '^Size: '

for more than a package:

apt-cache --no-all-versions show $packages | 
    awk '$1 == "Package:" { p = $2 }
         $1 == "Size:"    { printf("%10d %s\n", $2, p) }'

I have no idea about Synaptic.

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  • what UNIT is this? – tatsu Mar 4 '19 at 17:24
  • I guess that Size is bytes and Installed-Size is KiB but I don't know if this is defined anywhere. E.g. Firefox versions: apt-cache show firefox | grep -E "Package:|Version:|Size:" – Mikko Rantalainen Jun 13 '19 at 14:10
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    Intended human CLI is nowadays apt. For example, apt show firefox | grep Size – Mikko Rantalainen Jun 13 '19 at 14:16
  • Found the documentaton: The apt-cache show will emit the actual value specified in the file debian/control the documentation of Installed-Size can be found here: debian.org/doc/debian-policy/… – Mikko Rantalainen Jun 13 '19 at 14:19

apt-cache show <package> or aptitude show <package> will show more information about a package, including its size.

For the package size only, you can use:

apt-cache show <package> | grep Installed-Size


aptitude show <package> | grep 'Uncompressed Size'

For .deb packages you can use:

dpkg-deb -I <package>.deb | grep Installed-Size
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    Will it show the size of the dependancies too? – Tachyons Jul 29 '13 at 16:37
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    But including size of the dep's can made your answer efficient. just suggestion my friend,:) – rɑːdʒɑ Jul 29 '13 at 16:47
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    @Jai dpkg-deb -I <package>.deb | grep Installed-Size – Radu Rădeanu Jul 29 '13 at 18:07
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    For me it returns 68...MB? GB? Spoons? – puk Jul 14 '18 at 0:44
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    up. utterly ridiculous that people omit to say what unit of measurement is being returned. – tatsu Mar 4 '19 at 17:24

You could use the "dry run" mode, which just pretends to download and install packages

$ aptitude install -sy xlockmore
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 packages upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 27 not upgraded.
Need to get 194 kB of archives. After unpacking 373 kB will be used.
Would download/install/remove packages.
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  • Tried but I don't see the size. The line: Need to get x of archives. After unpacking x will be used. doesn't show. – user14590 Apr 19 '11 at 19:08
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    Sorry, this should be aptitude not apt-get (I have a shell alias for that). Updated. This solution has the advantage of showing what you really need to download (doesn't count already installed dependencies). – Adam Byrtek Apr 19 '11 at 21:20

This is also right but size is displayed in bytes. And this shows size in better format but if package is of very small size (say < 1MB) then in-spite of echo 'n'it will install package (Because in that case, apt doesn't prompt).

So, You use --no-download with --assume-no as follows:

sudo apt-get --no-download --assume-no install <package_name> | grep 'Need to get'

Here --no-download argues not to download package and --assume-no is for assuming no (n) in case of any prompt.


$ sudo apt-get --no-download --assume-no install ttf-devanagari-fonts 2>/dev/null | grep 'Need to get'
Need to get 938 kB of archives.
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  • This answer is great because it also includes dependencies. To show the 'real' storage which will be used up, grep for 'additional disk space' – Panki Oct 28 '18 at 15:19

The latest and best way to do this is with apt show, which includes units:

apt show firefox | grep Size

Installed-Size: 202 MB
Download-Size: 51.7 MB

apt show can be used to see lots of other useful information about a package before you install it, including version, dependencies, "Breaks", "Replaces", and a description.

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You could try the below command to see the size of archieves that are needed to be downloaded for a particular package.

echo 'n' | sudo apt-get install package | awk '/^Need to get/ {print $4,$5}'

@enzotib answer is good but it show the size of the archives that are needed to be downloaded in some other format not in mb's. But this command will show the size in Mb's.


$ apt-cache --no-all-versions show chromium-browser | grep '^Size: '
Size: 41493718

$ echo 'n' | sudo apt-get install chromium-browser | awk '/^Need to get/ {print $4,$5}'
44.4 MB
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  • echo 'n' | sudo apt-get install <package> still stars installing package if it is of very small size – Pandya Mar 13 '16 at 4:09

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