Linux Command to find Strings in Binary or non ascii file

Solution 1:

The command you are looking for is strings

Its name is quite self-explanatory, it retrieves any printable string from a given file.

man strings gives:


strings - find the printable strings in a object, or other binary, file

strings [ - ] [ -a ] [ -o ] [ -t format ] [ -number ] [ -n number ] [--] [file ...]

Solution 2:

The strings command is the way to go for this particular type of problems. Sometimes you also have to pipe it out to grep.

For example:

strings somebinaryfile | grep textuwanttofind

Solution 3:

The command does exist, and is called.... strings!

Solution 4:

The od command can do this:

od -c *filename*

Solution 5:

A problem with using strings is that you don't see surrounding non printables and you have to be careful with the minimum string length.

A problem using

od -c FILE
hexdump -C FILE
is that a sequence can be difficult to find if it wraps a line.

Something I like a lot for this is ZTreeWin running in WINE on Linux - you can do a lot with it but the searching in any file or editing binaries can be particularly useful.

The awesome ytree package is available for many Linux and Unix variants and has a good Hex dump view of any file but doesn't have the search that ZTreeWin (and its 16bit predecessor, XTree) have.