head — output the first part of files


head [OPTION...] [FILE...]


Print the first 10 lines of each FILE to standard output. With more than one FILE, precede each with a header giving the file name. With no FILE, or when FILE is −, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

−c, −−bytes=[−]K

print the first K bytes of each file; with the leading '−', print all but the last K bytes of each file

−n, −−lines=[−]K

print the first K lines instead of the first 10; with the leading '−', print all but the last K lines of each file

−q, −−quiet, −−silent

never print headers giving file names

−v, −−verbose

always print headers giving file names


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

K may have a multiplier suffix: b 512, kB 1000, K 1024, MB 1000*1000, M 1024*1024, GB 1000*1000*1000, G 1024*1024*1024, and so on for T, P, E, Z, Y.


Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.


Report head bugs to bug−

GNU coreutils home page: <>

General help using GNU software: <>

Report head translation bugs to <>


The full documentation for head is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and head programs are properly installed at your site, the command

  • info coreutils 'head invocation'

should give you access to the complete manual.


Copyright © 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.

This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.