tail Man page

TAIL(1) User Commands TAIL(1)


tail – output the last part of files


tail [OPTION]… [FILE]…


Print the last 10 lines of each FILE to standard output. With more
than one FILE, precede each with a header giving the file name.

With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options

-c, –bytes=[+]NUM
output the last NUM bytes; or use -c +NUM to output starting
with byte NUM of each file

-f, –follow[={name|descriptor}] output appended data as the file grows;

an absent option argument means ‘descriptor’

-F same as –follow=name –retry

-n, –lines=[+]NUM
output the last NUM lines, instead of the last 10; or use -n
+NUM to output starting with line NUM

with –follow=name, reopen a FILE which has not

changed size after N (default 5) iterations to see if it has
been unlinked or renamed (this is the usual case of rotated log
files); with inotify, this option is rarely useful

with -f, terminate after process ID, PID dies

-q, –quiet, –silent
never output headers giving file names

keep trying to open a file if it is inaccessible

-s, –sleep-interval=N
with -f, sleep for approximately N seconds (default 1.0) between
iterations; with inotify and –pid=P, check process P at least
once every N seconds

-v, –verbose
always output headers giving file names

-z, –zero-terminated
line delimiter is NUL, not newline

–help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

NUM may have a multiplier suffix: b 512, kB 1000, K 1024, MB 1000*1000,
M 1024*1024, GB 1000*1000*1000, G 1024*1024*1024, and so on for T, P,
E, Z, Y.

With –follow (-f), tail defaults to following the file descriptor,
which means that even if a tail’ed file is renamed, tail will continue
to track its end. This default behavior is not desirable when you
really want to track the actual name of the file, not the file descrip‐
tor (e.g., log rotation). Use –follow=name in that case. That causes
tail to track the named file in a way that accommodates renaming,
removal and creation.


Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie, Ian Lance Taylor, and Jim Mey‐


GNU coreutils online help:
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Copyright © 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU
GPL version 3 or later .
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.



Full documentation at:
or available locally via: info ‘(coreutils) tail invocation’

GNU coreutils 8.25 February 2016 TAIL(1)