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Linux Redirect Error Output To File

I am a new Ubuntu Linux and bash shell user. I also know how to redirect output from display/screen to a file using the following syntax:

cmd > file
ls > file

However, some time errors are displayed on screen. How do I store and redirect output from the computer screen to a file on a Linux or Unix-like systems?

Bash / ksh and other modern shell on Linux has three file descriptors:

  1. stdin (0)
  2. stdout (1)
  3. stderr (2)

Syntax To redirect all output to file

The syntax is as follows to redirect output (stdout) as follows:

command-name >  output.txt
command-name >  stdout.txt

Syntax To redirect all error to file

The syntax is as follows to redirect errors (stderr) as follows:

command-name 2> errors.txt
command-name 2> stderr.txt

Syntax to redirect both output (stdout) and errors (stderr) to different files

The syntax:

command1 > out.txt 2> err.txt
command2 -f -z -y > out.txt 2> err.txt

Syntax to redirect both output (stdout) and errors (stderr) to same file

The syntax is:

command1 > everything.txt 2>&1
command1 -arg > everything.txt 2>&1

Syntax to redirect errors (stderr) to null or zero devices

Data written to a null or zero special file is discarded by your system. This is useful to silence out errors (also know as ‘error spam’):

command1 2> /dev/null
command1 2> /dev/zero
command2 -arg 2> /dev/null
command2 -arg 2> /dev/zero

Tip: Use tee command to redirect to both a file and the screen same time

The syntax is:

command1 |& tee log.txt
## or ##
command1 -arg |& tee log.txt
## or ##
command1 2>&1 | tee log.txt

Another usage:

# My script to do blah ...
} 2>&1 | tee foo.log


# My script to do blah ...
} 2>&1 | tee script.log
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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Andrey Oliveira June 23, 2014, 12:15 pm

    In newer versions of bash and sh, for “Syntax to redirect both output (stdout) and errors (stderr) to same file” you can also use:

    command1 &> everything.txt

    • Dexter November 26, 2014, 5:20 am

      That good ways…

  • Philippe Petrinko June 24, 2014, 8:07 am

    Dear NixCraft (or Vivek?)

    You may consider to explain a bit more [tee] command.

    1) It can output to more than one file
    2) It can overwrite files, but also append to files
    3) It can even ignore interrupts.

    — Philippe

  • Jalal Hajigholamali June 24, 2014, 8:32 am


    Thanks a lot
    useful article…

  • Unni August 22, 2014, 1:27 pm

    is it possible to APPEND stdout and stderr to a file while printing to screen at the same time using TEE command.

  • xuhui November 24, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Useful for me!!!!

  • Gopal May 24, 2015, 2:10 am

    use tee -a to APPEND output using tee
    example : command | tee -a outfile.txt

  • Gopal May 24, 2015, 2:15 am

    Best way to achieve all echo outputs to both screen and file ( as suggested above )
    …. your complete shell script with multiple echo statements
    } > 2>&1 | tee -a script.log

  • aref ghobadi August 15, 2015, 9:56 am

    thanks a lot

  • karthikeyan December 6, 2015, 5:09 pm

    very useful. Thanks a lot.

  • rajesh November 27, 2016, 10:28 am

    Thanks very use full :)

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