> Linux Man Page: "head"


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The Linux Documentation Project maintains an archive of snaphots of the (English language) core Linux manual pages that are maintained by Michael Kerrisk. Corrections and additions are welcome, but review the "Help Wanted" list, first.

Man pages belonging to programs are usually distributed together with those programs. Therefore, the core Linux man-pages mainly contains the pages for system calls and library routines, special devices, and file formats. However, it also contains documentation for a few programs, in cases where the authors or maintainers of the program do not distribute man pages themselves.

This page is part of release 3.11 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can be found at


man page(1) manual page Table of Contents


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=[-]N
print the first N bytes of each file; with the leading ‘-’, print all but the last N bytes of each file

-n, --lines=[-]N
print the first N lines instead of the first 10; with the leading ‘-’, print all but the last N lines of each file

-q, --quiet, --silent
never print headers giving file names

-v, --verbose
always print headers giving file names

--help display this help and exit

output version information and exit

N may have a multiplier suffix: b 512, k 1024, m 1024*1024.


Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms of the GNU General Public License <>. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

See Also

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 head

should give you access to the complete manual.

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