git-cat-file - Linux


git-cat-file is a utility that reads the contents of an object from the Git repository and displays it on the standard output. It is primarily used for inspecting the contents of objects without checking them out or modifying the working tree.


git cat-file [-p] <object-name> [-- <extra-args>]


  • <object-name>: The SHA-1 object name of the object to display.
  • --: Separates object-name from extra arguments.


  • -p: Print the object in a human-readable format.


Display the contents of a blob object:

git cat-file blob 8d77b2e447b82709b06f5cb85c9b579fa3698f0e

Display the contents of a tree object:

git cat-file tree 4b825dc642cb6eb9a060e54bf8d69288fbee4904

Display the contents of a tag object:

git cat-file tag refs/tags/v1.0

Display the contents of an object in a human-readable format:

git cat-file -p blob 8d77b2e447b82709b06f5cb85c9b579fa3698f0e

Common Issues

  • Permission denied: Ensure you have read access to the repository.
  • Object not found: Check the object name or path.


git-cat-file can be used in combination with other Git commands to perform more advanced tasks, such as:

  • Create a custom command to display object sizes:
git cat-file --batch-check='%(objectsize) %(objectname)'
  • Export an object to a file:
git cat-file blob 8d77b2e447b82709b06f5cb85c9b579fa3698f0e > myfile.txt

Related Commands

  • git-obj-tree: Displays the raw data of a tree object.
  • git-obj-tag: Displays the raw data of a tag object.
  • git-rev-parse: Resolves object names and references.