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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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file [options] files

Classify the named files according to the type of data they contain. file checks the magic file (usually /etc/magic) to identify some file types.



Check the format of the magic file (files argument is invalid with -c ).


Run file on the filenames in list.


Do not follow symbolic links.


Test the file that is referenced by a symbolic link, rather than the link itself.


Use file as the magic file instead of /etc/magic.

Many file types are understood. Output lists each filename, followed by a brief classification such as:

ascii text
c program text
c-shell commands
iAPX 386 executable
[nt]roff, tbl, or eqn input text
shell commands
symbolic link to ../usr/etc/arp


List all files that are deemed to be troff/nroff input:

file * | grep roff

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