I have a zip which contains files with very long names.

If I try to extract on the command line, I get the error "File name too long".
If I use the graphical archive manager it will not extract the files and it will not let me rename them. The same problem occurs if I mount the archive.

I can extract and rename files individually using:

unzip -p -c example.zip "long file name.ogg" > shortname.ogg

This is impractical with lots of files.

Is there a tool which will truncate filenames as they are extracted?

  • What's the output of unzip -l <ARCHIVE> and how do you want the names truncated? Do you want to retain the directory structure inside the archive during extraction? – David Foerster May 19 '17 at 11:04

To extract

We can use zipinfo as a part of this process, it's a program from zip package.

zipinfo -2 example.zip

will only shows the files names in example.zip, something look like:


so we can use this feature to extract all files:

zipinfo -2 example.zip | while read i;
  unzip -p -c example.zip "$i" > "${long_fname:0:250}.${i##*.}"
  • long_fname=${i%.*}: Removes extension from long file name, so in case of file name being less that of 256 character; We're not going to get a duplicate extension.
  • ${long_fname:0:250}.${i##*.}: Creates a new file name with legitimate number of character also adds a . and file real extension.

Simply we are looping into files list and extract each of them with a new legitimate file name which is 256 character.

To rename

You can use zipnote command, it's a part of zip package too.

Get a backup of your zip file first.

Run this command:

zipnote example.zip > names

Open names using an editor, it's look like this:

@ file name long in zip and a lot of other strings in the file name
@ (comment above this line)
@ (zip file comment below this line)

Add new file names like this:

@ file name long in zip and a lot of other strings in the file name
@=new short name for above file
@ (comment above this line)
@ (zip file comment below this line)

Then to rename files use:

zipnote -w example.zip < names

You renamed them all, you can also write a simple script which do this automatically for you.

  • Those are incredibly useful, thanks! I couldn't get the zipnote example to work - and the first one removes the file extension - but that's good enough for what I need to do. Thanks! – Terence Eden May 14 '17 at 11:05
  • I updated the answer, now it will keep the extension too ;) – Ravexina May 14 '17 at 11:24
  • You should use IFS= read -r i in case the file names start with white space or contain things that the shell may interpret as escape sequences. – David Foerster May 19 '17 at 11:05
  • I was still getting errors at a length of 250. I just lowered it to 100 and everything worked. – David Baucum Apr 2 at 19:29

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