msgmerge Man page



msgmerge – merge message catalog and template


msgmerge [OPTION] def.po ref.pot


Merges two Uniforum style .po files together. The def.po file is an
existing PO file with translations which will be taken over to the
newly created file as long as they still match; comments will be pre‐
served, but extracted comments and file positions will be discarded.
The ref.pot file is the last created PO file with up-to-date source
references but old translations, or a PO Template file (generally cre‐
ated by xgettext); any translations or comments in the file will be
discarded, however dot comments and file positions will be preserved.
Where an exact match cannot be found, fuzzy matching is used to produce
better results.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options

Input file location:
def.po translations referring to old sources

references to new sources

-D, –directory=DIRECTORY
add DIRECTORY to list for input files search

-C, –compendium=FILE
additional library of message translations, may be specified
more than once

Operation mode:
-U, –update
update def.po, do nothing if def.po already up to date

Output file location:
-o, –output-file=FILE
write output to specified file

The results are written to standard output if no output file is speci‐
fied or if it is -.

Output file location in update mode: The result is written back to

make a backup of def.po

override the usual backup suffix

The version control method may be selected via the –backup option or
through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Here are the values:

none, off
never make backups (even if –backup is given)

numbered, t
make numbered backups

existing, nil
numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

simple, never
always make simple backups

The backup suffix is ‘~’, unless set with –suffix or the SIM‐
PLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX environment variable.

Operation modifiers:
-m, –multi-domain
apply ref.pot to each of the domains in def.po

-N, –no-fuzzy-matching
do not use fuzzy matching

keep previous msgids of translated messages

Input file syntax:
-P, –properties-input
input files are in Java .properties syntax

input files are in NeXTstep/GNUstep .strings syntax

Output details:


set ‘Language’ field in the header entry

use colors and other text attributes always

use colors and other text attributes if WHEN. WHEN may be
‘always’, ‘never’, ‘auto’, or ‘html’.

specify CSS style rule file for –color

-e, –no-escape
do not use C escapes in output (default)

-E, –escape
use C escapes in output, no extended chars

write PO file even if empty

-i, –indent
indented output style

suppress ‘#: filename:line’ lines

-n, –add-location
preserve ‘#: filename:line’ lines (default)

strict Uniforum output style

-p, –properties-output
write out a Java .properties file

write out a NeXTstep/GNUstep .strings file

-w, –width=NUMBER
set output page width

do not break long message lines, longer than the output page
width, into several lines

-s, –sort-output
generate sorted output

-F, –sort-by-file
sort output by file location

Informative output:
-h, –help
display this help and exit

-V, –version
output version information and exit

-v, –verbose
increase verbosity level

-q, –quiet, –silent
suppress progress indicators


Written by Peter Miller.


Report bugs to .


Copyright © 1995-1998, 2000-2010 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.


The full documentation for msgmerge is maintained as a Texinfo manual.
If the info and msgmerge programs are properly installed at your site,
the command

info msgmerge

should give you access to the complete manual.

GNU gettext-tools 0.19.7 December 2015 MSGMERGE(1)