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nm - Man Page

list symbols from object files

Examples (TL;DR)


nm [-A|-o|--print-file-name]
  [-l|--line-numbers] [--inlines]
  [-t radix|--radix=radix]
  [-X 32_64]
  [--plugin name]


GNU nm lists the symbols from object files objfile.... If no object files are listed as arguments, nm assumes the file a.out.

For each symbol, nm shows:


The long and short forms of options, shown here as alternatives, are equivalent.


Precede each symbol by the name of the input file (or archive member) in which it was found, rather than identifying the input file once only, before all of its symbols.


Display all symbols, even debugger-only symbols; normally these are not listed.


The same as --format=bsd (for compatibility with the MIPS nm).


Decode (demangle) low-level symbol names into user-level names. Besides removing any initial underscore prepended by the system, this makes C++ function names readable. Different compilers have different mangling styles. The optional demangling style argument can be used to choose an appropriate demangling style for your compiler.


Do not demangle low-level symbol names.  This is the default.


Enables or disables a limit on the amount of recursion performed whilst demangling strings.  Since the name mangling formats allow for an infinite level of recursion it is possible to create strings whose decoding will exhaust the amount of stack space available on the host machine, triggering a memory fault.  The limit tries to prevent this from happening by restricting recursion to 2048 levels of nesting.

The default is for this limit to be enabled, but disabling it may be necessary in order to demangle truly complicated names.  Note however that if the recursion limit is disabled then stack exhaustion is possible and any bug reports about such an event will be rejected.


Display the dynamic symbols rather than the normal symbols.  This is only meaningful for dynamic objects, such as certain types of shared libraries.

-f format

Use the output format format, which can be bsd, sysv, posix or just-symbols.  The default is bsd. Only the first character of format is significant; it can be either upper or lower case.


Display only external symbols.


Show a summary of the options to nm and exit.


When display GNU indirect function symbols nm will default to using the i character for both local indirect functions and global indirect functions.  The --ifunc-chars option allows the user to specify a string containing one or two characters. The first character will be used for global indirect function symbols and the second character, if present, will be used for local indirect function symbols.


The same as --format=just-symbols.


For each symbol, use debugging information to try to find a filename and line number.  For a defined symbol, look for the line number of the address of the symbol.  For an undefined symbol, look for the line number of a relocation entry which refers to the symbol.  If line number information can be found, print it after the other symbol information.


When option -l is active, if the address belongs to a function that was inlined, then this option causes the source  information for all enclosing scopes back to the first non-inlined function to be printed as well.  For example, if main inlines callee1 which inlines callee2, and address is from callee2, the source information for callee1 and main will also be printed.


Sort symbols numerically by their addresses, rather than alphabetically by their names.


Do not bother to sort the symbols in any order; print them in the order encountered.


Use the POSIX.2 standard output format instead of the default format. Equivalent to -f posix.


Reverse the order of the sort (whether numeric or alphabetic); let the last come first.


Print both value and size of defined symbols for the bsd output style. This option has no effect for object formats that do not record symbol sizes, unless --size-sort is also used in which case a calculated size is displayed.


When listing symbols from archive members, include the index: a mapping (stored in the archive by ar or ranlib) of which modules contain definitions for which names.

-t radix

Use radix as the radix for printing the symbol values.  It must be d for decimal, o for octal, or x for hexadecimal.


Display only undefined symbols (those external to each object file). By default both defined and undefined symbols are displayed.


Display only defined symbols for each object file. By default both defined and undefined symbols are displayed.


Show the version number of nm and exit.


This option is ignored for compatibility with the AIX version of nm.  It takes one parameter which must be the string 32_64.  The default mode of AIX nm corresponds to -X 32, which is not supported by GNU nm.

--plugin name

Load the plugin called name to add support for extra target types.  This option is only available if the toolchain has been built with plugin support enabled.

If --plugin is not provided, but plugin support has been enabled then nm iterates over the files in ${libdir}/bfd-plugins in alphabetic order and the first plugin that claims the object in question is used.

Please note that this plugin search directory is not the one used by ld's -plugin option.  In order to make nm use the  linker plugin it must be copied into the ${libdir}/bfd-plugins directory.  For GCC based compilations the linker plugin is called liblto_plugin.so.0.0.0.  For Clang based compilations it is called LLVMgold.so.  The GCC plugin is always backwards compatible with earlier versions, so it is sufficient to just copy the newest one.


Sort symbols by size.  For ELF objects symbol sizes are read from the ELF, for other object types the symbol sizes are computed as the difference between the value of the symbol and the value of the symbol with the next higher value.  If the bsd output format is used the size of the symbol is printed, rather than the value, and -S must be used in order both size and value to be printed.

Note - this option does not work if --undefined-only has been enabled as undefined symbols have no size.


Display symbols which have a target-specific special meaning.  These symbols are usually used by the target for some special processing and are not normally helpful when included in the normal symbol lists. For example for ARM targets this option would skip the mapping symbols used to mark transitions between ARM code, THUMB code and data.


Include synthetic symbols in the output.  These are special symbols created by the linker for various purposes.  They are not shown by default since they are not part of the binary's original source code.


Controls the display of UTF-8 encoded multibyte characters in strings. The default (--unicode=default) is to give them no special treatment.  The --unicode=locale option displays the sequence in the current locale, which may or may not support them.  The options --unicode=hex and --unicode=invalid display them as hex byte sequences enclosed by either angle brackets or curly braces.

The --unicode=escape option displays them as escape sequences (\uxxxx) and the --unicode=highlight option displays them as escape sequences highlighted in red (if supported by the output device).  The colouring is intended to draw attention to the presence of unicode sequences where they might not be expected.


Do not display weak symbols.


Enables or disables the display of symbol version information.  The version string is displayed as a suffix to the symbol name, preceded by an @ character.  For example foo@VER_1.  If the version is the default version to be used when resolving unversioned references to the symbol then it is displayed as a suffix preceded by two @ characters.  For example foo@@VER_2.  By default, symbol version information is displayed.


Specify an object code format other than your system's default format.


Read command-line options from file.  The options read are inserted in place of the original @file option.  If file does not exist, or cannot be read, then the option will be treated literally, and not removed.

Options in file are separated by whitespace.  A whitespace character may be included in an option by surrounding the entire option in either single or double quotes.  Any character (including a backslash) may be included by prefixing the character to be included with a backslash.  The file may itself contain additional @file options; any such options will be processed recursively.

See Also

ar(1), objdump(1), ranlib(1), and the Info entries for binutils.

Referenced By

ar(1), elf(5), gstack(1), ld(1), lttng-enable-event(1), lttng-event-rule(7), objdump(1), ranlib(1), rpmelfsym(1), rs(1), strings(1).

2024-05-31 binutils-2.42.50 GNU Development Tools