bat - Man Page

a cat(1) clone with syntax highlighting and Git integration.

Examples (TL;DR)


bat [Options] [FILE]...

bat cache [CACHE-OPTIONS] [--build|--clear]


bat prints the syntax-highlighted content of a collection of FILEs to the terminal. If no FILE is specified, or when FILE is '-', it reads from standard input.

bat supports a large number of programming and markup languages. It also communicates with git(1) to show modifications with respect to the git index. bat automatically pipes its output through a pager (by default: less).

Whenever the output of bat goes to a non-interactive terminal, i.e. when the output is piped into another process or into a file, bat will act as a drop-in replacement for cat(1) and fall back to printing the plain file contents.


General remarks: Command-line options like '-l'/'--language' that take values can be specified as either '--language value', '--language=value', '-l value' or '-lvalue'.

-A, --show-all

Show non-printable characters like space, tab or newline. Use '--tabs' to control the width of the tab-placeholders.

-p, --plain

Only show plain style, no decorations. This is an alias for '--style=plain'. When '-p' is used twice ('-pp'), it also disables automatic paging (alias for '--style=plain --pager=never').

-l, --language <language>

Explicitly set the language for syntax highlighting. The language can be specified as a name (like 'C++' or 'LaTeX') or possible file extension (like 'cpp', 'hpp' or 'md'). Use '--list-languages' to show all supported language names and file extensions.

-H, --highlight-line <N:M>...

Highlight the specified line ranges with a different background color For example:

--highlight-line 40

highlights line 40

--highlight-line 30:40

highlights lines 30 to 40

--highlight-line :40

highlights lines 1 to 40

--highlight-line 40:

highlights lines 40 to the end of the file

--tabs <T>

Set the tab width to T spaces. Use a width of 0 to pass tabs through directly

--wrap <mode>

Specify the text-wrapping mode (*auto*, never, character). The '--terminal-width' option can be used in addition to control the output width.

--terminal-width <width>

Explicitly set the width of the terminal instead of determining it automatically. If prefixed with '+' or '-', the value will be treated as an offset to the actual terminal width. See also: '--wrap'.

-n, --number

Only show line numbers, no other decorations. This is an alias for '--style=numbers'

--color <when>

Specify when to use colored output. The automatic mode only enables colors if an interactive terminal is detected. Possible values: *auto*, never, always.

--italic-text <when>

Specify when to use ANSI sequences for italic text in the output. Possible values: always, *never*.

--decorations <when>

Specify when to use the decorations that have been specified via '--style'. The automatic mode only enables decorations if an interactive terminal is detected. Possible values: *auto*, never, always.

--paging <when>

Specify when to use the pager. To control which pager is used, set the PAGER or BAT_PAGER environment variables (the latter takes precedence) or use the '--pager' option. To disable the pager permanently, set BAT_PAGER to an empty string or set '--paging=never' in the configuration file. Possible values: *auto*, never, always.

--pager <command>

Determine which pager is used. This option will overwrite the PAGER and BAT_PAGER environment variables. The default pager is 'less'. To disable the pager completely, use the '--paging' option. Example: '--pager "less -RF"'.

-m, --map-syntax <glob-pattern:syntax-name>...

Map a glob pattern to an existing syntax name. The glob pattern is matched on the full path and the filename. For example, to highlight *.build files with the Python syntax, use -m '*.build:Python'. To highlight files named '.myignore' with the Git Ignore syntax, use -m '.myignore:Git Ignore'.

--theme <theme>

Set the theme for syntax highlighting. Use '--list-themes' to see all available themes. To set a default theme, add the '--theme="..."' option to the configuration file or export the BAT_THEME environment variable (e.g.: export BAT_THEME="...").


Display a list of supported themes for syntax highlighting.

--style <style-components>

Configure which elements (line numbers, file headers, grid borders, Git modifications, ..) to display in addition to the file contents. The argument is a comma-separated list of components to display (e.g. 'numbers,changes,grid') or a pre-defined style ('full'). To set a default style, add the '--style=".."' option to the configuration file or export the BAT_STYLE environment variable (e.g.: export BAT_STYLE=".."). Possible values: *auto*, full, plain, changes, header, grid, numbers, snip.

-r, --line-range <N:M>...

Only print the specified range of lines for each file. For example:

--line-range 30:40

prints lines 30 to 40

--line-range :40

prints lines 1 to 40

--line-range 40:

prints lines 40 to the end of the file

-L, --list-languages

Display a list of supported languages for syntax highlighting.

-u, --unbuffered

This option exists for POSIX-compliance reasons ('u' is for 'unbuffered'). The output is always unbuffered - this option is simply ignored.

-h, --help

Print this help message.

-V, --version

Show version information.

Positional Arguments


Files to print and concatenate. Use a dash ('-') or no argument at all to read from standard input.


cache - Modify the syntax-definition and theme cache.


bat can also be customized with a configuration file. The location of the file is dependent on your operating system. To get the default path for your system, call:

bat --config-file

Alternatively, you can use the BAT_CONFIG_PATH environment variable to point bat to a non-default location of the configuration file.