uudecode - macOS


uudecode is a utility that decodes files encoded in the uuencode format, typically used to transfer binary files over email or other text-based systems.


uudecode [options] <encoded-file>


  • -o : Specify the output file name (default: the encoded file name without “.uue”).
  • -d : Decode the file into the specified directory.
  • -v: Enable verbose mode, displaying detailed decoding information.
  • -p: Decode the file as a pipe, outputting the decoded data to stdout.
  • -s: Strip any whitespace from the decoded file.


Decode a single file:

uudecode example.uue

Decode a file to a specific location:

uudecode -o decoded.txt example.uue

Decode multiple files:

uudecode *.uue

Decode a file and pipe the output to another command:

uudecode -p example.uue | tar -xvf -

Common Issues

  • Error: Bad uuencode header format: Ensure that the input file is a valid uuencoded file.
  • Error: No space left on device: Check if there is sufficient disk space for the decoded file.


Combine uudecode with other commands for advanced tasks:

  • Use uudecode to decode a compressed tar file:
uudecode -p example.uue | tar -xvf -
  • Extract specific files from a decoded tar archive:
uudecode -p example.uue | tar -xfv - example/file1 example/file2
  • uuencode: Encodes files in the uuencode format.
  • tail: Displays the last part of a file, useful for inspecting decoded files.
  • more: Displays a file one page at a time, suitable for reviewing large decoded files.