TAR (.tar, .tgz, .tb2, .tbz2, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2)


    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 Export

  • When importing files from a TAR archive, the specific converter for each format will be used.
  • Import["file.tar"] returns an expression of the form {"fn1", "fn2",}, giving full path specifications for all files in "file.zip".
  • Import["file.tar",elem] imports the specified element from a TAR file.
  • Import["file.tar","fn"] extracts "fn" from the archive and imports it.
  • Import["file.tar",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.tar",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • Import["file","TAR"] or Import["file",{"TAR",elem,}] imports any file as a TAR archive.
  • 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 expri as specifying the corresponding elemi.
  • Export["file.tar",expr,opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • 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 "fn".
  • Export["file.tar",{"fn1"->expr1,"fn2"->expr2, }] exports multiple expressions to a TAR archive.
  • 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 "FileNames" element for the TAR format.
  • Import["file.tar","fn"] imports file "fn".
  • 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.


open allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)

This creates a TAR file that contains a PNG file and a text file:

Click for copyable input

Importing a TAR archive gives the names of the files in the archive by default:

Click for copyable input

Import all files using their default element:

Click for copyable input

Extract and import the PNG file:

Click for copyable input

Extract and import all text files:

Click for copyable input

Scope  (1)

Import Elements  (1)

See Also

"BZIP2"  "Directory"  "GZIP"  "ZIP"

Introduced in 2007
| Updated in 2017