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)

TAR (.tar, .tgz, .tb2, .tbz2)

  • Import and Export fully support the TAR format.
  • Import and Export can work with general TAR archives, as well as with specific application formats consisting of multiple related files.


    MIME types: application/tar, application/x-tar
    TAR archive file format.
    Combines collections of files in a single archive.
    Popular on Unix systems.
    Often used in combination with compression utilities.
    The extensions .tgz, .tb2, and .tbz2 are supported for GZIP or BZIP2-compressed TAR files.
    TAR is an acronym derived from Tape Archive.
    Stores files sequentially and without using compression, while preserving file system information and directory structures.
    Does not support encryption or compression.
    Part of the POSIX.1-1998 and POSIX.1-2001 standards.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • When importing from a TAR archive that constitutes a supported multifile Import format, the converter for this format will be used.
  • Import["file.tar"] gives full path specifications for all files in a general TAR file.
  • Export["file.tar","fn"->expr] exports expr to a file and saves it as a TAR archive, inferring the file format from the file extension of .
  • Export["file.tar",{"fn1"->expr1,"fn2"->expr2, }] exports multiple expressions to a TAR archive.
  • Import["file.tar"] returns an expression of the form .
  • Import["file.tar","fn"] extracts from the archive and imports it.
  • Import["file.tar",elem] imports the specified element from a TAR file.
  • Import["file.tar",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.tar",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • 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.
  • Export["file.tar",expr,elem] creates a TAR archive by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.tar",{expr1,expr2,},{{elem1,elem2,}}] treats each as specifying the corresponding .
  • Export["file.tar",expr,opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file.tar",{elem1->expr1,elem2->expr2,},"Rules"] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the TAR archive format.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • The following can be used to select or specify individual files:
  • "FileNames"list of file names representing the contents of a TAR archive
    "filename"a single file
    "filename","format" a single file, taken to be in the specified format
    "filename","format",elemelement elem from the specified file
  • Import by default uses the element for the TAR format.
  • Import["file.tar","fn"] imports file .
  • Import["file.tar",All] imports an entire TAR archive.
  • File names can include relative or absolute directory specifications and the abbreviated string patterns supported by StringMatchQ.
  • Import["file.tar","dir/*.jpg"] imports all JPEG files from subdirectory dir.
  • Export["file.tar",{"file1.gif"->"expr1","file2.txt"->"expr2"}] creates an archive containing a GIF and a text file.
  • Export["file",{expr1,expr2},{"TAR",{{"file1","GIF"},{"file2","Text"}}}] is equivalent to the above.

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)Basic Examples  (1)

Create a TAR file that contains a PNG file and a text file:

Click for copyable input

Show the names of the files in the generated TAR:

Click for copyable input

Extract and import the PNG file:

Click for copyable input

Show the Import elements available in the PNG file:

Click for copyable input

Import all text files, using a file pattern specification:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 2007
| Updated in 2008