STRINGS(1) User Commands STRINGS(1)


NAME


strings - find printable strings in an object or binary file

SYNOPSIS


strings [-a | -]
[-t format | -o] [-n number | -number] [-N name] [file]...


DESCRIPTION


The strings utility looks for ASCII strings in a binary file. A string is
any sequence of 4 or more printing characters ending with a NEWLINE or a
NULL character.


strings is useful for identifying random object files and many other
things.


By default, strings looks at program sections that are loaded in memory.
Program sections are identified by the section type SHT_PROGBITS.
Sections that are loaded in memory are identified by the section flag
SHF_ALLOC. Use elfdump(1) to display complete section information for a
file.


All sections can be inspected with the -a option. Individual sections can
be inspected with the -N option.

OPTIONS


The following options are supported:

-a | -
Look everywhere in the file for strings.


-n number | -number
Use a number as the minimum string length rather
than the default, which is 4.


-N name
Look only in ELF section name. See elfdump(1).
Multiple -N options can be specified to inspect
multiple sections.

If the -a or - option is specified, all -N options
are ignored .


-o
Equivalent to -t d option.


-t format
Write each string preceded by its byte offset from
the start of the file. The format is dependent on
the single character used as the format option-
argument:

d
The offset is written in decimal.


o
The offset is written in octal.


x
The offset is written in hexadecimal.


OPERANDS


The following operand is supported:

file
A path name of a regular file to be used as input. If no file
operand is specified, the strings utility reads from the standard
input.


ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES


See environ(7) for descriptions of the following environment variables
that affect the execution of strings: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE,
LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.

EXIT STATUS


The following exit values are returned:

0
Successful completion.


>0
An error occurred.


ATTRIBUTES


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:


+--------------------+-----------------+
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
+--------------------+-----------------+
|CSI | Enabled |
+--------------------+-----------------+
|Interface Stability | See below. |
+--------------------+-----------------+


The strings utility, including all options except -N, are specified by
standards. See standards(7). The -N option is not currently specified by
any standard.

SEE ALSO


elfdump(1), od(1), attributes(7), environ(7), standards(7)

NOTES


The algorithm for identifying strings is extremely primitive.


For backwards compatibility, the options -a and - are interchangeable.


June 13, 2021 STRINGS(1)