Wolfram Language & System 10.4 (2016)|Legacy Documentation

This is documentation for an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.View current documentation (Version 11.2)

BZIP2 (.bz2)


    MIME type: application/x-bzip2
    BZIP2 compression method and file format.
    General-purpose lossless compression method.
    Occasionally used for archiving data on Unix systems and for exchanging files on the internet.
    Binary format.
    Compresses data using a combination of the BurrowsWheeler transform and Huffman entropy coding.
    Stores a single file.
    Typically used in combination with TAR.
    Developed and maintained by Julian Seward.
    Introduced in 1996, released as Version 1.0 in 2000.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file.ext.bz2"] uncompresses and imports a BZIP2 compressed archive.
  • Export["file.ext.bz2",expr] exports any expression expr to a BZIP2 compressed file whose format is implied by the file name extension .ext.
  • Import["file.bz2"] uncompresses file.bz2 and imports file, automatically inferring the format from the file contents.
  • Import["file.bz2","format"] uncompresses a BZIP2 file and imports it as .
  • Since the Wolfram Language can automatically recognize all common file compression and archive formats, it is never necessary to specify as a format in the second argument of Import.
  • Import["file.ext.bz2",elem] imports the specified element from file.
  • Import["file.ext.bz2",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.ext.bz2",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The import format can be explicitly specified with Import["file.bz2",{"format",elems1,elems2,}].
  • Export["file.ext.bz2",expr,elem] creates a BZIP2 compressed .ext file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.ext.bz2",{expr1,expr2,},{{elem1,elem2,}}] treats each as specifying the corresponding .
  • Export["file.ext.bz2",expr,opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • The export format and BZIP2 compression method can be explicitly specified with Export["file",exprs,{"BZIP2","format",elems}].
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString can handle BZIP2 compressed data.


  • The BZIP2 format itself does not support Import or Export elements.
  • Import elements of the BZIP2-compressed file:
  • "Elements" elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full rules for each element and option
    "Options"rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Import["file.ext.bz2","Elements"] returns the names of elements available in , effectively unpacking the compressed archive before importing the enclosed file.

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (2)Basic Examples  (2)

Export a string to a BZIP2-compressed text file:

Click for copyable input

Convert the previous output back to a Wolfram Language string:

Click for copyable input

Export graphics to a BZIP2-compressed PNG file:

Click for copyable input

This gives the available Import elements of the PNG file:

Click for copyable input

When importing any element from a BZIP2 file, the Wolfram Language automatically uncompresses it:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 2007