strings [-a | -] [-t format | -o] [-n number | -number] [file...]
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.
The following options are supported:
-a | - Look everywhere in the file for strings. If this flag is omitted, strings only looks in the initialized data space of object files.
-n number | -number Use a number as the minimum string length rather than the default, which is 4.
-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 will be written in decimal.
o The offset will be written in octal.
x The offset will be written in hexadecimal.
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 will read from the standard input.
See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of strings: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion.
>0 An error occurred.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
|ATTRIBUTE TYPE||ATTRIBUTE VALUE|
od(1), attributes(5), environ(5), standards(5)
The algorithm for identifying strings is extremely primitive.
For backwards compatibility, the options -a and - are interchangeable.