ag man page

ag — The Silver Searcher. Like ack, but faster.


ag foo

ag -l foo

ag -i -o FOO

ag foo -G bar

ag '^ba(r|z)$'

ag -g foo


ag [options] pattern [path ...]


Recursively search for PATTERN in PATH. Like grep or ack, but faster.



Output results in a format parseable by AckMate


Set thread affinity (if platform supports it). Default is true.

-a --all-types

Search all files. This doesn´t include hidden files, and doesn´t respect any ignore files.

-A --after [LINES]

Print lines after match. If not provided, LINES defaults to 2.

-B --before [LINES]

Print lines before match. If not provided, LINES defaults to 2.


Print a newline between matches in different files. Enabled by default.

-c --count

Only print the number of matches in each file. Note: This is the number of matches, not the number of matching lines. Pipe output to wc -l if you want the number of matching lines.


Print color codes in results. Enabled by default.


Color codes for line numbers. Default is 1;33.


Color codes for result match numbers. Default is 30;43.


Color codes for path names. Default is 1;32.


Print column numbers in results.

-C --context [LINES]

Print lines before and after matches. Default is 2.

-D --debug

Output ridiculous amounts of debugging info. Not useful unless you´re actually debugging.

--depth NUM

Search up to NUM directories deep, -1 for unlimited. Default is 25.


Print file names. Enabled by default, except when searching a single file.

-f --[no]follow

Follow symlinks. Default is false.

-F --fixed-strings

Alias for --literal for compatibility with grep.


The default, --group, lumps multiple matches in the same file together, and presents them under a single occurrence of the filename. --nogroup refrains from this, and instead places the filename at the start of each match line.


Print filenames matching PATTERN.

-G --file-search-regex PATTERN

Only search files whose names match PATTERN.

-H --[no]heading

Print filenames above matching contents.


Search hidden files. This option obeys ignored files.

--ignore PATTERN

Ignore files/directories whose names match this pattern. Literal file and directory names are also allowed.

--ignore-dir NAME

Alias for --ignore for compatibility with ack.

-i --ignore-case

Match case-insensitively.

-l --files-with-matches

Only print the names of files containing matches, not the matching lines. An empty query will print all files that would be searched.

-L --files-without-matches

Only print the names of files that don´t contain matches.


See File Types below.

-m --max-count NUM

Skip the rest of a file after NUM matches. Default is 0, which never skips.


Toggle use of memory-mapped I/O. Defaults to true on platforms where mmap() is faster than read(). (All but macOS.)


Match regexes across newlines. Enabled by default.

-n --norecurse

Don´t recurse into directories.


Print line numbers. Default is to omit line numbers when searching streams.

-o --only-matching

Print only the matching part of the lines.


When recursing directories, don´t scan dirs that reside on other storage devices. This lets you avoid scanning slow network mounts. This feature is not supported on all platforms.

-p --path-to-ignore STRING

Provide a path to a specific .ignore file.

--pager COMMAND

Use a pager such as less. Use --nopager to override. This option is also ignored if output is piped to another program.


Parse the input stream as a search term, not data to search. This is meant to be used with tools such as GNU parallel. For example: echo "foo\nbar\nbaz" | parallel "ag {} ." will run 3 instances of ag, searching the current directory for "foo", "bar", and "baz".


Print matches on very long lines (> 2k characters by default).

--passthrough --passthru

When searching a stream, print all lines even if they don´t match.

-Q --literal

Do not parse PATTERN as a regular expression. Try to match it literally.

-r --recurse

Recurse into directories when searching. Default is true.

-s --case-sensitive

Match case-sensitively.

-S --smart-case

Match case-sensitively if there are any uppercase letters in PATTERN, case-insensitively otherwise. Enabled by default.


Search binary files for matches.


Suppress all log messages, including errors.


Print stats (files scanned, time taken, etc).


Print stats (files scanned, time taken, etc) and nothing else.

-t --all-text

Search all text files. This doesn´t include hidden files.

-u --unrestricted

Search all files. This ignores .ignore, .gitignore, etc. It searches binary and hidden files as well.

-U --skip-vcs-ignores

Ignore VCS ignore files (.gitignore, .hgignore), but still use .ignore.

-v --invert-match

Match every line not containing the specified pattern.

-V --version

Print version info.


Output results in the same form as Vim´s :vimgrep /pattern/g

Here is a ~/.vimrc configuration example:

set grepprg=ag\ --vimgrep\ $* set grepformat=%f:%l:%c:%m

Then use :grep to grep for something. Then use :copen, :cn, :cp, etc. to navigate through the matches.

-w --word-regexp

Only match whole words.

--workers NUM

Use NUM worker threads. Default is the number of CPU cores, with a max of 8.

-z --search-zip

Search contents of compressed files. Currently, gz and xz are supported. This option requires that ag is built with lzma and zlib.

-0 --null --print0

Separate the filenames with \0, rather than \n: this allows xargs -0 <command> to correctly process filenames containing spaces or newlines.

File Types

It is possible to restrict the types of files searched. For example, passing --html will search only files with the extensions htm, html, shtml or xhtml. For a list of supported types, run ag --list-file-types.

Ignoring Files

By default, ag will ignore files whose names match patterns in .gitignore, .hgignore, or .ignore. These files can be anywhere in the directories being searched. Binary files are ignored by default as well. Finally, ag looks in $HOME/.agignore for ignore patterns.

If you want to ignore .gitignore and .hgignore, but still take .ignore into account, use -U.

Use the -t option to search all text files; -a to search all files; and -u to search all, including hidden files.


ag printf: Find matches for "printf" in the current directory.

ag foo /bar/: Find matches for "foo" in path /bar/.

ag -- --foo: Find matches for "--foo" in the current directory. (As with most UNIX command line utilities, "--" is used to signify that the remaining arguments should not be treated as options.)


ag was originally created by Geoff Greer. More information (and the latest release) can be found at

See Also



December 2016