Linux for Beginners: The Bat Command is the Cooler Cousin of the Cat Command


As you embark on your Linux journey, mastering essential commands is akin to wielding a magic wand. Among these, the bat command stands out—a versatile tool that elevates your file-viewing experience. In this blog post, tailored for Linux beginners, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the bat command. Buckle up, fellow penguin enthusiasts, as we explore syntax highlighting, line numbering, and more!

What Is the bat Command?

Think of bat as the suave cousin of the traditional cat command. While cat gets the job done, bat adds a dash of elegance. Here’s the lowdown:

Syntax Highlighting and Beyond

The bat command isn’t just about displaying file contents—it’s about doing it with flair. Syntax highlighting? Check. Line numbers? Double-check. Graphical non-printing characters? Absolutely! Whether you’re peeking into code files or sifting through prose, bat makes it a visual feast.

Git Integration

But wait, there’s more! bat cozies up to Git like a seasoned matchmaker. It annotates modified lines in Git-tracked files, making version control a breeze. You can even time-travel (sort of) by viewing past file versions. Impressive, right?

How Does bat Differ from cat?

Let’s compare our contenders:

  1. cat: The classic workhorse. It displays file contents, no frills attached.
  2. bat: The stylish sibling. Syntax highlighting, Git integration, and readability galore.

Installing bat

Fear not, installation is a breeze:

Debian and Ubuntu Users

sudo apt install bat

Note: On Debian and Ubuntu, bat goes by the name batcat. To link it, run:

mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
ln -s /usr/bin/batcat ~/.local/bin/bat

Remember to remove conflicting packages like bacula-console-qt.

Fedora Enthusiasts

sudo dnf install bat

AlmaLinux and CentOS Adventurers

  1. Install tar (if not already done):
sudo yum install tar
  1. Download the appropriate bat release and extract it.

Using bat Like a Pro

1. Display File Contents

bat myfile.txt

2. Create a New File

bat > newfile.txt

Type your content, press Ctrl + D, and voilà!

3. Git Good


See those Git annotations? Sweet!


With bat, you’re not just reading files—you’re savoring them. Syntax, Git, and elegance converge in this command. So go forth, fellow Linux explorer, and let bat be your trusty sidekick. Happy Linux-ing!

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