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Manual Pages  — STRINGS


strings – print the strings of printable characters in files



strings [-a | --all] [-e encoding | --encoding= encoding] [-f | --print-file-name] [-h | --help] [-n number | --bytes= number | number] [-o] [-t radix | --radix= radix] [-v | --version] [file ...]


For each file specified, the strings utility prints contiguous sequences of printable characters that are at least n characters long and are followed by an unprintable character. The default value of n is 4. By default, the strings utility only scans the initialized and loaded sections of ELF objects; for other file types, the entire file is scanned. The strings utility is mainly used for determining the contents of non-text files.

If no file name is specified as an argument, standard input is read.

The following options are available:
-a | --all
  For ELF objects, scan the entire file for printable strings.
-e encoding | --encoding= encoding
  Select the character encoding to be used while searching for strings. Valid values for argument encoding are:
s for single 7-bit-byte characters (ASCII, ISO 8859).
S for single 8-bit-byte characters.
l for 16-bit little-endian.
b for 16-bit big-endian.
L for 32-bit little-endian.
B for 32-bit big-endian.
The default is to assume that characters are encoded using a single 7-bit byte.
-f | --print-file-name
  Print the name of the file before each string.
-h | --help
  Print a usage summary and exit.
-n number | --bytes= number | number Print the contiguous character sequence of at least number characters long, instead of the default of 4 characters. Argument number should specify a positive decimal integer.
  Equivalent to specifying -t o.
-t radix | --radix= radix
  Print the offset from the start of the file before each string using the specified radix. Valid values for argument radix are:
d for decimal
o for octal
x for hexadecimal
-v | --version
  Display a version identifier and exit.


The utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


To display strings in /bin/ls use:

    $ strings /bin/ls

To display strings in all sections of /bin/ln use:

    $ strings -a /bin/ln

To display strings in all sections of /bin/cat prefixed with the filename and the offset within the file use:

    $ strings -a -f -t x /bin/cat


ar(1), nm(1), objdump(1), ranlib, readelf(1), size(1)


The first FreeBSD strings utility appeared in FreeBSD v3. It was later discontinued in FreeBSD v5, when i386-only a.out format was dropped in favor of ELF.


The strings utility was re-written by S.Sam Arun Raj <Mt samarunraj@gmail.com>. This manual page was written by S.Sam Arun Raj <Mt samarunraj@gmail.com>.

STRINGS (1) January 24, 2016

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