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dependabot[bot] b7e44c76dc
Bump semver from 1.0.21 to 1.0.23 (#2981)
Bumps [semver]( from 1.0.21 to 1.0.23.
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- dependency-name: semver
  dependency-type: direct:production
  update-type: version-update:semver-patch

Signed-off-by: dependabot[bot] <>
Co-authored-by: dependabot[bot] <49699333+dependabot[bot]>
2 weeks ago
.github Add support for Apple Silicon (#2967) 2 weeks ago
assets fix the prefix 2 weeks ago
build Relax syntax mapping rule restrictions to allow brace expansion 4 months ago
diagnostics fix: warnings of ShellCheck 4 years ago
doc fix: some typos 2 months ago
examples Inline `format!` args wherever possible 4 months ago
src refactor: factorize constants by inverting loop and condition order 2 months ago
tests update lisp test 2 weeks ago
.gitignore Add bash completion 3 years ago
.gitmodules Add support for WGSL 8 months ago changelog 2 weeks ago Change according to new changelog requirements (#2839) 4 months ago
Cargo.lock Bump semver from 1.0.21 to 1.0.23 (#2981) 2 weeks ago
Cargo.toml Bump itertools from 0.12.1 to 0.13.0 (#2978) 2 weeks ago
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LICENSE-MIT Update copyright year 1 year ago
NOTICE Credit syntax definition and theme authors with new `--acknowledgements` option (#1971) 3 years ago Clarify when/how default args are added to less 4 months ago
rustfmt.toml Write `# Defaults are used` in the file 2 years ago

bat - a cat clone with wings
Build Status license Version info
A cat(1) clone with syntax highlighting and Git integration.

Key FeaturesHow To UseInstallationCustomizationProject goals, alternatives
[English] [中文] [日本語] [한국어] [Русский]


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Feel more productive on the command line with parameterized commands,
autosuggestions, and an IDE-like text editor.

Syntax highlighting

bat supports syntax highlighting for a large number of programming and markup languages:

Syntax highlighting example

Git integration

bat communicates with git to show modifications with respect to the index (see left side bar):

Git integration example

Show non-printable characters

You can use the -A/--show-all option to show and highlight non-printable characters:

Non-printable character example

Automatic paging

By default, bat pipes its own output to a pager (e.g. less) if the output is too large for one screen. If you would rather bat work like cat all the time (never page output), you can set --paging=never as an option, either on the command line or in your configuration file. If you intend to alias cat to bat in your shell configuration, you can use alias cat='bat --paging=never' to preserve the default behavior.

File concatenation

Even with a pager set, you can still use bat to concatenate files 😉. Whenever bat detects a non-interactive terminal (i.e. when you pipe into another process or into a file), bat will act as a drop-in replacement for cat and fall back to printing the plain file contents, regardless of the --pager option's value.

How to use

Display a single file on the terminal

> bat

Display multiple files at once

> bat src/*.rs

Read from stdin, determine the syntax automatically (note, highlighting will only work if the syntax can be determined from the first line of the file, usually through a shebang such as #!/bin/sh)

> curl -s | bat

Read from stdin, specify the language explicitly

> yaml2json .travis.yml | json_pp | bat -l json

Show and highlight non-printable characters:

> bat -A /etc/hosts

Use it as a cat replacement:

bat >  # quickly create a new file

bat >

bat -n  # show line numbers (only)

bat f - g  # output 'f', then stdin, then 'g'.

Integration with other tools


You can use bat as a previewer for fzf. To do this, use bats --color=always option to force colorized output. You can also use --line-range option to restrict the load times for long files:

fzf --preview "bat --color=always --style=numbers --line-range=:500 {}"

For more information, see fzf's README.

find or fd

You can use the -exec option of find to preview all search results with bat:

find … -exec bat {} +

If you happen to use fd, you can use the -X/--exec-batch option to do the same:

fd … -X bat


With batgrep, bat can be used as the printer for ripgrep search results.

batgrep needle src/

tail -f

bat can be combined with tail -f to continuously monitor a given file with syntax highlighting.

tail -f /var/log/pacman.log | bat --paging=never -l log

Note that we have to switch off paging in order for this to work. We have also specified the syntax explicitly (-l log), as it can not be auto-detected in this case.


You can combine bat with git show to view an older version of a given file with proper syntax highlighting:

git show v0.6.0:src/ | bat -l rs

git diff

You can combine bat with git diff to view lines around code changes with proper syntax highlighting:

batdiff() {
    git diff --name-only --relative --diff-filter=d | xargs bat --diff

If you prefer to use this as a separate tool, check out batdiff in bat-extras.

If you are looking for more support for git and diff operations, check out delta.


The line numbers and Git modification markers in the output of bat can make it hard to copy the contents of a file. To prevent this, you can call bat with the -p/--plain option or simply pipe the output into xclip:

bat main.cpp | xclip

bat will detect that the output is being redirected and print the plain file contents.


bat can be used as a colorizing pager for man, by setting the MANPAGER environment variable:

export MANPAGER="sh -c 'col -bx | bat -l man -p'"
man 2 select

(replace bat with batcat if you are on Debian or Ubuntu)

It might also be necessary to set MANROFFOPT="-c" if you experience formatting problems.

If you prefer to have this bundled in a new command, you can also use batman.

Note that the Manpage syntax is developed in this repository and still needs some work.

Also, note that this will not work with Mandocs man implementation.

prettier / shfmt / rustfmt

The prettybat script is a wrapper that will format code and print it with bat.

Highlighting --help messages

You can use bat to colorize help text: $ cp --help | bat -plhelp

You can also use a wrapper around this:

# in your .bashrc/.zshrc/*rc
alias bathelp='bat --plain --language=help'
help() {
    "$@" --help 2>&1 | bathelp

Then you can do $ help cp or $ help git commit.

When you are using zsh, you can also use global aliases to override -h and --help entirely:

alias -g -- -h='-h 2>&1 | bat --language=help --style=plain'
alias -g -- --help='--help 2>&1 | bat --language=help --style=plain'

This way, you can keep on using cp --help, but get colorized help pages.

Be aware that in some cases, -h may not be a shorthand of --help (for example with ls).

Please report any issues with the help syntax in this repository.


Packaging status

On Ubuntu (using apt)

... and other Debian-based Linux distributions.

bat is available on Ubuntu since 20.04 ("Focal") and Debian since August 2021 (Debian 11 - "Bullseye").

If your Ubuntu/Debian installation is new enough you can simply run:

sudo apt install bat

Important: If you install bat this way, please note that the executable may be installed as batcat instead of bat (due to a name clash with another package). You can set up a bat -> batcat symlink or alias to prevent any issues that may come up because of this and to be consistent with other distributions:

mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
ln -s /usr/bin/batcat ~/.local/bin/bat

On Ubuntu (using most recent .deb packages)

... and other Debian-based Linux distributions.

If the package has not yet been promoted to your Ubuntu/Debian installation, or you want the most recent release of bat, download the latest .deb package from the release page and install it via:

sudo dpkg -i bat_0.18.3_amd64.deb  # adapt version number and architecture

On Alpine Linux

You can install the bat package from the official sources, provided you have the appropriate repository enabled:

apk add bat

On Arch Linux

You can install the bat package from the official sources:

pacman -S bat

On Fedora

You can install the bat package from the official Fedora Modular repository.

dnf install bat

On Funtoo Linux

You can install the bat package from dev-kit.

emerge sys-apps/bat

On Gentoo Linux

You can install the bat package from the official sources:

emerge sys-apps/bat

On Void Linux

You can install bat via xbps-install:

xbps-install -S bat

On Termux

You can install bat via pkg:

pkg install bat

On FreeBSD

You can install a precompiled bat package with pkg:

pkg install bat

or build it on your own from the FreeBSD ports:

cd /usr/ports/textproc/bat
make install

On OpenBSD

You can install bat package using pkg_add(1):

pkg_add bat

Via nix

You can install bat using the nix package manager:

nix-env -i bat

On openSUSE

You can install bat with zypper:

zypper install bat

Via snap package

There is currently no recommended snap package available. Existing packages may be available, but are not officially supported and may contain issues.

On macOS (or Linux) via Homebrew

You can install bat with Homebrew:

brew install bat

On macOS via MacPorts

Or install bat with MacPorts:

port install bat

On Windows

There are a few options to install bat on Windows. Once you have installed bat, take a look at the "Using bat on Windows" section.


You will need to install the Visual C++ Redistributable package.

With WinGet

You can install bat via WinGet:

winget install sharkdp.bat

With Chocolatey

You can install bat via Chocolatey:

choco install bat

With Scoop

You can install bat via scoop:

scoop install bat

From prebuilt binaries:

You can download prebuilt binaries from the Release page,

You will need to install the Visual C++ Redistributable package.

From binaries

Check out the Release page for prebuilt versions of bat for many different architectures. Statically-linked binaries are also available: look for archives with musl in the file name.

From source

If you want to build bat from source, you need Rust 1.70.0 or higher. You can then use cargo to build everything:

cargo install --locked bat

Note that additional files like the man page or shell completion files can not be installed in this way. They will be generated by cargo and should be available in the cargo target folder (under build).


Highlighting theme

Use bat --list-themes to get a list of all available themes for syntax highlighting. To select the TwoDark theme, call bat with the --theme=TwoDark option or set the BAT_THEME environment variable to TwoDark. Use export BAT_THEME="TwoDark" in your shell's startup file to make the change permanent. Alternatively, use bats configuration file.

If you want to preview the different themes on a custom file, you can use the following command (you need fzf for this):

bat --list-themes | fzf --preview="bat --theme={} --color=always /path/to/file"

bat looks good on a dark background by default. However, if your terminal uses a light background, some themes like GitHub or OneHalfLight will work better for you. You can also use a custom theme by following the 'Adding new themes' section below.

8-bit themes

bat has three themes that always use 8-bit colors, even when truecolor support is available:

  • ansi looks decent on any terminal. It uses 3-bit colors: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, and white.
  • base16 is designed for base16 terminal themes. It uses 4-bit colors (3-bit colors plus bright variants) in accordance with the base16 styling guidelines.
  • base16-256 is designed for base16-shell. It replaces certain bright colors with 8-bit colors from 16 to 21. Do not use this simply because you have a 256-color terminal but are not using base16-shell.

Although these themes are more restricted, they have three advantages over truecolor themes. They:

  • Enjoy maximum compatibility. Some terminal utilities do not support more than 3-bit colors.
  • Adapt to terminal theme changes. Even for already printed output.
  • Visually harmonize better with other terminal software.

Output style

You can use the --style option to control the appearance of bats output. You can use --style=numbers,changes, for example, to show only Git changes and line numbers but no grid and no file header. Set the BAT_STYLE environment variable to make these changes permanent or use bats configuration file.

Adding new syntaxes / language definitions

Should you find that a particular syntax is not available within bat, you can follow these instructions to easily add new syntaxes to your current bat installation.

bat uses the excellent syntect library for syntax highlighting. syntect can read any Sublime Text .sublime-syntax file and theme.

A good resource for finding Sublime Syntax packages is Package Control. Once you found a syntax:

  1. Create a folder with syntax definition files:

    mkdir -p "$(bat --config-dir)/syntaxes"
    cd "$(bat --config-dir)/syntaxes"
    # Put new '.sublime-syntax' language definition files
    # in this folder (or its subdirectories), for example:
    git clone
  2. Now use the following command to parse these files into a binary cache:

    bat cache --build
  3. Finally, use bat --list-languages to check if the new languages are available.

    If you ever want to go back to the default settings, call:

    bat cache --clear
  4. If you think that a specific syntax should be included in bat by default, please consider opening a "syntax request" ticket after reading the policies and instructions here: Open Syntax Request.

Adding new themes

This works very similar to how we add new syntax definitions.

First, create a folder with the new syntax highlighting themes:

mkdir -p "$(bat --config-dir)/themes"
cd "$(bat --config-dir)/themes"

# Download a theme in '.tmTheme' format, for example:
git clone

# Update the binary cache
bat cache --build

Finally, use bat --list-themes to check if the new themes are available.

Adding or changing file type associations

You can add new (or change existing) file name patterns using the --map-syntax command line option. The option takes an argument of the form pattern:syntax where pattern is a glob pattern that is matched against the file name and the absolute file path. The syntax part is the full name of a supported language (use bat --list-languages for an overview).

Note: You probably want to use this option as an entry in bat's configuration file for persistence instead of passing it on the command line as a one-off. Generally you'd just use -l if you want to manually specify a language for a file.

Example: To use "INI" syntax highlighting for all files with a .conf file extension, use


Example: To open all files called .ignore (exact match) with the "Git Ignore" syntax, use:

--map-syntax='.ignore:Git Ignore'

Example: To open all .conf files in subfolders of /etc/apache2 with the "Apache Conf" syntax, use (this mapping is already built in):

--map-syntax='/etc/apache2/**/*.conf:Apache Conf'

Using a different pager

bat uses the pager that is specified in the PAGER environment variable. If this variable is not set, less is used by default. If you want to use a different pager, you can either modify the PAGER variable or set the BAT_PAGER environment variable to override what is specified in PAGER.

[!NOTE] If PAGER is more or most, bat will silently use less instead to ensure support for colors.

If you want to pass command-line arguments to the pager, you can also set them via the PAGER/BAT_PAGER variables:

export BAT_PAGER="less -RF"

Instead of using environment variables, you can also use bats configuration file to configure the pager (--pager option).

Using less as a pager

When using less as a pager, bat will automatically pass extra options along to less to improve the experience. Specifically, -R/--RAW-CONTROL-CHARS, -F/--quit-if-one-screen, and under certain conditions, -X/--no-init and/or -S/--chop-long-lines.

[!IMPORTANT] These options will not be added if:

  • The pager is not named less.
  • The --pager argument contains any command-line arguments (e.g. --pager="less -R").
  • The BAT_PAGER environment variable contains any command-line arguments (e.g. export BAT_PAGER="less -R")

The --quit-if-one-screen option will not be added when:

  • The --paging=always argument is used.
  • The BAT_PAGING environment is set to always.

The -R option is needed to interpret ANSI colors correctly.

The -F option instructs less to exit immediately if the output size is smaller than the vertical size of the terminal. This is convenient for small files because you do not have to press q to quit the pager.

The -X option is needed to fix a bug with the --quit-if-one-screen feature in versions of less older than version 530. Unfortunately, it also breaks mouse-wheel support in less. If you want to enable mouse-wheel scrolling on older versions of less and do not mind losing the quit-if-one-screen feature, you can set the pager (via --pager or BAT_PAGER) to less -R. For less 530 or newer, it should work out of the box.

The -S option is added when bat's -S/--chop-long-lines option is used. This tells less to truncate any lines larger than the terminal width.


bat expands tabs to 4 spaces by itself, not relying on the pager. To change this, simply add the --tabs argument with the number of spaces you want to be displayed.

Note: Defining tab stops for the pager (via the --pager argument by bat, or via the LESS environment variable for less) won't be taken into account because the pager will already get expanded spaces instead of tabs. This behaviour is added to avoid indentation issues caused by the sidebar. Calling bat with --tabs=0 will override it and let tabs be consumed by the pager.

Dark mode

If you make use of the dark mode feature in macOS, you might want to configure bat to use a different theme based on the OS theme. The following snippet uses the default theme when in the dark mode and the GitHub theme when in the light mode.

alias cat="bat --theme=\$(defaults read -globalDomain AppleInterfaceStyle &> /dev/null && echo default || echo GitHub)"

Configuration file

bat can also be customized with a configuration file. The location of the file is dependent on your operating system. To get the default path for your system, call

bat --config-file

Alternatively, you can use the BAT_CONFIG_PATH environment variable to point bat to a non-default location of the configuration file:

export BAT_CONFIG_PATH="/path/to/bat.conf"

A default configuration file can be created with the --generate-config-file option.

bat --generate-config-file

There is also now a systemwide configuration file, which is located under /etc/bat/config on Linux and Mac OS and C:\ProgramData\bat\config on windows. If the system wide configuration file is present, the content of the user configuration will simply be appended to it.


The configuration file is a simple list of command line arguments. Use bat --help to see a full list of possible options and values. In addition, you can add comments by prepending a line with the # character.

Example configuration file:

# Set the theme to "TwoDark"

# Show line numbers, Git modifications and file header (but no grid)

# Use italic text on the terminal (not supported on all terminals)

# Use C++ syntax for Arduino .ino files
--map-syntax "*.ino:C++"

Using bat on Windows

bat mostly works out-of-the-box on Windows, but a few features may need extra configuration.


You will need to install the Visual C++ Redistributable package.


Windows only includes a very limited pager in the form of more. You can download a Windows binary for less from its homepage or through Chocolatey. To use it, place the binary in a directory in your PATH or define an environment variable. The Chocolatey package installs less automatically.


Windows 10 natively supports colors in both conhost.exe (Command Prompt) and PowerShell since v1511, as well as in newer versions of bash. On earlier versions of Windows, you can use Cmder, which includes ConEmu.

Note: Old versions of less do not correctly interpret colors on Windows. To fix this, you can add the optional Unix tools to your PATH when installing Git. If you dont have any other pagers installed, you can disable paging entirely by passing --paging=never or by setting BAT_PAGER to an empty string.


bat on Windows does not natively support Cygwin's unix-style paths (/cygdrive/*). When passed an absolute cygwin path as an argument, bat will encounter the following error: The system cannot find the path specified. (os error 3)

This can be solved by creating a wrapper or adding the following function to your .bash_profile file:

bat() {
    local index
    local args=("$@")
    for index in $(seq 0 ${#args[@]}) ; do
        case "${args[index]}" in
        -*) continue;;
        *)  [ -e "${args[index]}" ] && args[index]="$(cygpath --windows "${args[index]}")";;
    command bat "${args[@]}"


Garbled output

If an input file contains color codes or other ANSI escape sequences or control characters, bat will have problems performing syntax highlighting and text wrapping, and thus the output can become garbled. When displaying such files it is recommended to disable both syntax highlighting and wrapping by passing the --color=never --wrap=never options to bat.

Terminals & colors

bat handles terminals with and without truecolor support. However, the colors in most syntax highlighting themes are not optimized for 8-bit colors. It is therefore strongly recommended that you use a terminal with 24-bit truecolor support (terminator, konsole, iTerm2, ...), or use one of the basic 8-bit themes designed for a restricted set of colors. See this article for more details and a full list of terminals with truecolor support.

Make sure that your truecolor terminal sets the COLORTERM variable to either truecolor or 24bit. Otherwise, bat will not be able to determine whether or not 24-bit escape sequences are supported (and fall back to 8-bit colors).

Line numbers and grid are hardly visible

Please try a different theme (see bat --list-themes for a list). The OneHalfDark and OneHalfLight themes provide grid and line colors that are brighter.

File encodings

bat natively supports UTF-8 as well as UTF-16. For every other file encoding, you may need to convert to UTF-8 first because the encodings can typically not be auto-detected. You can iconv to do so. Example: if you have a PHP file in Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1) encoding, you can call:

iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t UTF-8 my-file.php | bat

Note: you might have to use the -l/--language option if the syntax can not be auto-detected by bat.


# Recursive clone to retrieve all submodules
git clone --recursive

# Build (debug version)
cd bat
cargo build --bins

# Run unit tests and integration tests
cargo test

# Install (release version)
cargo install --path . --locked

# Build a bat binary with modified syntaxes and themes
bash assets/
cargo install --path . --locked --force

If you want to build an application that uses bats pretty-printing features as a library, check out the the API documentation. Note that you have to use either regex-onig or regex-fancy as a feature when you depend on bat as a library.


Take a look at the guide.


Security vulnerabilities

Please contact David Peter via email if you want to report a vulnerability in bat.

Project goals and alternatives

bat tries to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide beautiful, advanced syntax highlighting
  • Integrate with Git to show file modifications
  • Be a drop-in replacement for (POSIX) cat
  • Offer a user-friendly command-line interface

There are a lot of alternatives, if you are looking for similar programs. See this document for a comparison.


Copyright (c) 2018-2023 bat-developers.

bat is made available under the terms of either the MIT License or the Apache License 2.0, at your option.

See the LICENSE-APACHE and LICENSE-MIT files for license details.