Bat is a cat command clone with advance syntax highlighting for a large number of programming and markup languages and it also comes with Git integration to show file modifications. Its other features include automatic paging, file concatenation, themes for syntax highlighting and various styles for presenting output.

Read Also: ccat – Show ‘cat Command’ Output with Syntax Highlighting or Colorizing

In addition, you can also add new syntaxes / language definitions, themes and set a custom pager. In this article, we will show how to install and use a Bat (cat clone) in Linux.

Read Also: How to Use ‘cat’ and ‘tac’ Commands with Examples in Linux

How to Install Bat (A cat clone) in Linux


On Debian and other Debian-based Linux distributions, you can download the latest .deb package from the release page or use the following the wget command to download and install it as shown.

$ wget https://github.com/sharkdp/bat/releases/download/v0.8.0/bat_0.8.0_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i bat_0.8.0_amd64.deb

On Arch Linux, you can install it from the Community repository as shown.

$ sudo pacman -S bat

After installing bat, simply run it in the same way you normally run cat command, for example, the following command will display the specified file content with syntax highlighting.

$ bat bin/bashscripts/sysadmin/topprocs.sh

View a File with Syntax Highlighting

View a File with Syntax Highlighting

To display multiple files at ones, use the following command.

$ bat domains.txt hosts

Display Multiple Files Content

Display Multiple Files Content

You can only print a specified range of lines (for example print lines 13 to 24 only) for a file or each file, using the --line-range switch as shown.

$ bat --line-range 13:24 bin/bashscripts/sysadmin/topprocs.sh

Print Specified Range of Lines

Print Specified Range of Lines

To show all supported language names and file extensions, use the –list-languages option.

$ bat --list-languages

List Supported Languages for Syntax Highlighting

List Supported Languages for Syntax Highlighting

Then explicitly set a language for syntax highlighting using the -l switch.

$ bat -l Python httpie/setup.py

Set Language for Syntax Highlighting

Set Language for Syntax Highlighting

You can also read from stdin as in this example.

$ ls -l | bat

Read from Stdin Output

Read from Stdin Output

To see a list of available themes for syntax highlighting, use the --list-themes option.

$ bat --list-themes

List Themes for Syntax Highlighting

List Themes for Syntax Highlighting

After you have picked a theme to use, enable it with the --theme option.

$ bat --theme=Github

Note that these settings will be lost after a reboot, to make the changes permanent, export the BAT_THEME environment variable in the file ~/.bashrc (user specific) or /etc/bash.bashrc (system-wide) by adding the following line in it.

export BAT_THEME="Github"

To only show line numbers without any other decorations, use the -n switch.

$ bat -n domains.txt hosts

Bat uses “less” as the default pager. However, you can specify when to use the pager, with the --paging and the possible values include *auto*, never and always.
$ bat –paging always

In addition, you can define the pager using the PAGER or BAT_PAGER (this takes precedence) environment variables, in a similar fashion as the BAT_THEME env variable, as explained above. Setting these variables with empty values disables the pager.

For more information on how to use or customize bat, type man bat or go to its Github Repository: https://github.com/sharkdp/bat.

Summary

Bat is a user-friendly cat clone with syntax highlighting and git integration. Share your thoughts about it, with us via the feedback form below. If you have come across any similar CLI utilities out there, let us know as well.

Facebook Comments

More Stuff

Boston Dynamics debuts the production version of SpotMini Last year at our TC Sessions: Robotics conference, Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini will be its first commercially available product. A revampe...
Platforms Want Centralized Censorship. That Should Scare You In the immediate aftermath of the horrific attacks at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, internet companies f...
3 Ways to Install Atom Text Editor in openSUSE Atom is a free, open-source, hackable, easy to customize and cross-platform text editor, that works on Linux, OS X, and Windows. It is a desktop appli...
How to Delete all Text in a File Using Vi/Vim Editor Vim is a great tool for editing text or configuration files in Linux. One of the lesser-known Vim tricks is clearing or deleting all text or lines in ...
Spread the love

Posted by News Monkey