FreeKB - tar (extract an archive)
Linux Commands - tar (extract an archive)

Let's say you have a tar archive that contains the following.

tar -tf example.tar
. . .


The tar command with the -x or --extract and -f or --file optiions will extract the contents of the tar archive. In this example, the contents of example.tar will be extracted into the present working directory.

tar -xf example.tar


The -v or --verbose option can be used to display the files being extracted.

tar -xvf example.tar
. . .


As an example, if your present working directory is /home/john.doe, following will be where the archive is extracted.



The  -C or --directory options can be used to extract the contents to a specific directroy. In this example, both of these commands have the same result, where the contents of example.tar are extracted to the / directory.

tar -xf example.tar -C /
cd /; tar -cf example.tar


The -z option will be needed if the archive is gzip compressed.

tar -zxf example.tar.gz


The -j option will be needed if the archive is bz2 compressed.

tar -jxf example.tar.bz2


To extract a single file in the archive, include the path to the file in the archive.

tar -xf example.tar path/to/example.txt


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