Linux / Unix: Rsync Copy Files / Directories Names With WhiteSpaces / Blanks

by on November 28, 2012 · 1 comment· LAST UPDATED November 28, 2012

in , ,

I need to transfer a file called 'some cool movie.avi' that contains whitespace under rsync. How do I escape a filename or directory name with spaces in them while using rsync command under Linux / *BSD / Unix like operating systems? How do I use rsync when files / dirs contain spaces?

You escape spaces in a remote path when using rsync over a remote SSH connection under Apple OS X / Linux or Unix like operating systems.
Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Estimated completion timeN/A
If a filename contains whitespace, you can use any one of the following method to get rid of it.


The syntax is as follows to copy a file called "/path/to/This is a test youtube video.mp4":

rsync -av user@desktop:'This\ is\ a\ test\ youtube\ video.mp4' /path/to/here


rsync -av 'user@desktop:This\ is\ a\ test\ youtube\ video.mp4' /path/to/here

You can also pass the -s or --protect-args option to avoid no space-splitting ( wildcard chars only ). The syntax is (note black slashes are removed with this option):

rsync -avs 'user@desktop:This is a test youtube video.mp4' /path/to/here


rsync -av --protect-args 'user@desktop:This is a test youtube video.mp4' /path/to/here


rsync -av --protect-args 'user@desktop:This is a test youtube video.mp4' '/path/to/My Download Folder'

A note about older versions of rsync

If you are using an older versions of rsync Try the following syntax:

rsync -av user@server2:'dir1/file1 dir2/file2' /path/to/dest
rsync user@macbook.local::'modname/dir1/file1 modname/dir2/file2' /path/to/here/dest

See also:

  1. BASH Shell: For Loop File Names With Spaces
  2. man page rsync
TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Jalal Hajigholamali November 29, 2012 at 3:50 am


Thanks, nice and useful article


Leave a Comment

Tagged as: , , ,

Previous Faq:

Next Faq: