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ZSTD(1) User Commands ZSTD(1)

zstd - zstd, zstdmt, unzstd, zstdcat - Compress or decompress .zst files

zstd [OPTIONS] [-|INPUT-FILE] [-o OUTPUT-FILE]

zstdmt is equivalent to zstd -T0

unzstd is equivalent to zstd -d

zstdcat is equivalent to zstd -dcf

zstd is a fast lossless compression algorithm and data compression tool, with command line syntax similar to gzip (1) and xz (1). It is based on the LZ77 family, with further FSE & huff0 entropy stages. zstd offers highly configurable compression speed, with fast modes at > 200 MB/s per core, and strong modes nearing lzma compression ratios. It also features a very fast decoder, with speeds > 500 MB/s per core.

zstd command line syntax is generally similar to gzip, but features the following differences :

  • Source files are preserved by default. It´s possible to remove them automatically by using the --rm command.
  • When compressing a single file, zstd displays progress notifications and result summary by default. Use -q to turn them off.
  • zstd does not accept input from console, but it properly accepts stdin when it´s not the console.
  • zstd displays a short help page when command line is an error. Use -q to turn it off.

zstd compresses or decompresses each file according to the selected operation mode. If no files are given or file is -, zstd reads from standard input and writes the processed data to standard output. zstd will refuse to write compressed data to standard output if it is a terminal : it will display an error message and skip the file. Similarly, zstd will refuse to read compressed data from standard input if it is a terminal.

Unless --stdout or -o is specified, files are written to a new file whose name is derived from the source file name:

  • When compressing, the suffix .zst is appended to the source filename to get the target filename.
  • When decompressing, the .zst suffix is removed from the source filename to get the target filename

It is possible to concatenate .zst files as is. zstd will decompress such files as if they were a single .zst file.

In most places where an integer argument is expected, an optional suffix is supported to easily indicate large integers. There must be no space between the integer and the suffix.
KiB
Multiply the integer by 1,024 (2^10). Ki, K, and KB are accepted as synonyms for KiB.
MiB
Multiply the integer by 1,048,576 (2^20). Mi, M, and MB are accepted as synonyms for MiB.

If multiple operation mode options are given, the last one takes effect.
-z, --compress
Compress. This is the default operation mode when no operation mode option is specified and no other operation mode is implied from the command name (for example, unzstd implies --decompress).
-d, --decompress, --uncompress
Decompress.
-t, --test
Test the integrity of compressed files. This option is equivalent to --decompress --stdout except that the decompressed data is discarded instead of being written to standard output. No files are created or removed.
-b#
Benchmark file(s) using compression level #
--train FILEs
Use FILEs as a training set to create a dictionary. The training set should contain a lot of small files (> 100).
-l, --list
Display information related to a zstd compressed file, such as size, ratio, and checksum. Some of these fields may not be available. This command can be augmented with the -v modifier.

  • -#: # compression level [1-19] (default: 3)
  • --fast[=#]: switch to ultra-fast compression levels. If =# is not present, it defaults to 1. The higher the value, the faster the compression speed, at the cost of some compression ratio. This setting overwrites compression level if one was set previously. Similarly, if a compression level is set after --fast, it overrides it.
  • --ultra: unlocks high compression levels 20+ (maximum 22), using a lot more memory. Note that decompression will also require more memory when using these levels.
  • --long[=#]: enables long distance matching with # windowLog, if not # is not present it defaults to 27. This increases the window size (windowLog) and memory usage for both the compressor and decompressor. This setting is designed to improve the compression ratio for files with long matches at a large distance.
Note: If windowLog is set to larger than 27, --long=windowLog or --memory=windowSize needs to be passed to the decompressor.
--patch-from=FILE: Specify the file to be used as a reference point for zstd´s diff engine. This is effectively dictionary compression with some convenient parameter selection, namely that windowSize > srcSize.
Note: cannot use both this and -D together Note: --long mode will be automatically activated if chainLog < fileLog (fileLog being the windowLog requried to cover the whole file). You can also manually force it. Node: for all levels, you can use --patch-from in --single-thread mode to improve compression ratio at the cost of speed Note: for level 19, you can get increased compression ratio at the cost of speed by specifying --zstd=targetLength= to be something large (i.e 4096), and by setting a large --zstd=chainLog=
-M#, --memory=#: Set a memory usage limit. By default, Zstandard uses 128 MB for decompression as the maximum amount of memory the decompressor is allowed to use, but you can override this manually if need be in either direction (ie. you can increase or decrease it).
This is also used during compression when using with --patch-from=. In this case, this parameter overrides that maximum size allowed for a dictionary. (128 MB).
  • -T#, --threads=#: Compress using # working threads (default: 1). If # is 0, attempt to detect and use the number of physical CPU cores. In all cases, the nb of threads is capped to ZSTDMT_NBTHREADS_MAX==200. This modifier does nothing if zstd is compiled without multithread support.
  • --single-thread: Does not spawn a thread for compression, use a single thread for both I/O and compression. In this mode, compression is serialized with I/O, which is slightly slower. (This is different from -T1, which spawns 1 compression thread in parallel of I/O). This mode is the only one available when multithread support is disabled. Single-thread mode features lower memory usage. Final compressed result is slightly different from -T1.
  • --adapt[=min=#,max=#] : zstd will dynamically adapt compression level to perceived I/O conditions. Compression level adaptation can be observed live by using command -v. Adaptation can be constrained between supplied min and max levels. The feature works when combined with multi-threading and --long mode. It does not work with --single-thread. It sets window size to 8 MB by default (can be changed manually, see wlog). Due to the chaotic nature of dynamic adaptation, compressed result is not reproducible. note : at the time of this writing, --adapt can remain stuck at low speed when combined with multiple worker threads (>=2).
  • --stream-size=# : Sets the pledged source size of input coming from a stream. This value must be exact, as it will be included in the produced frame header. Incorrect stream sizes will cause an error. This information will be used to better optimize compression parameters, resulting in better and potentially faster compression, especially for smaller source sizes.
  • --size-hint=#: When handling input from a stream, zstd must guess how large the source size will be when optimizing compression parameters. If the stream size is relatively small, this guess may be a poor one, resulting in a higher compression ratio than expected. This feature allows for controlling the guess when needed. Exact guesses result in better compression ratios. Overestimates result in slightly degraded compression ratios, while underestimates may result in significant degradation.
  • --rsyncable : zstd will periodically synchronize the compression state to make the compressed file more rsync-friendly. There is a negligible impact to compression ratio, and the faster compression levels will see a small compression speed hit. This feature does not work with --single-thread. You probably don´t want to use it with long range mode, since it will decrease the effectiveness of the synchronization points, but your milage may vary.
  • -D file: use file as Dictionary to compress or decompress FILE(s)
  • --no-dictID: do not store dictionary ID within frame header (dictionary compression). The decoder will have to rely on implicit knowledge about which dictionary to use, it won´t be able to check if it´s correct.
  • -o file: save result into file (only possible with a single INPUT-FILE)
  • -f, --force: overwrite output without prompting, and (de)compress symbolic links
  • -c, --stdout: force write to standard output, even if it is the console
  • --[no-]sparse: enable / disable sparse FS support, to make files with many zeroes smaller on disk. Creating sparse files may save disk space and speed up decompression by reducing the amount of disk I/O. default: enabled when output is into a file, and disabled when output is stdout. This setting overrides default and can force sparse mode over stdout.
  • --[no-]content-size: enable / disable whether or not the original size of the file is placed in the header of the compressed file. The default option is --content-size (meaning that the original size will be placed in the header).
  • --rm: remove source file(s) after successful compression or decompression
  • -k, --keep: keep source file(s) after successful compression or decompression. This is the default behavior.
  • -r: operate recursively on directories
  • --filelist=FILE read a list of files to process as content from FILE. Format is compatible with ls output, with one file per line.
  • --output-dir-flat[=dir]: resulting files are stored into target dir directory, instead of same directory as origin file. Be aware that this command can introduce name collision issues, if multiple files, from different directories, end up having the same name. Collision resolution ensures first file with a given name will be present in dir, while in combination with -f, the last file will be present instead.
  • --format=FORMAT: compress and decompress in other formats. If compiled with support, zstd can compress to or decompress from other compression algorithm formats. Possibly available options are zstd, gzip, xz, lzma, and lz4. If no such format is provided, zstd is the default.
  • -h/-H, --help: display help/long help and exit
  • -V, --version: display version number and exit. Advanced : -vV also displays supported formats. -vvV also displays POSIX support.
  • -v, --verbose: verbose mode
  • --show-default-cparams: Shows the default compresssion parameters that will be used for a particular src file. If the provided src file is not a regular file (eg. named pipe), the cli will just output the default paramters. That is, the parameters that are used when the src size is unknown.
  • -q, --quiet: suppress warnings, interactivity, and notifications. specify twice to suppress errors too.
  • --no-progress: do not display the progress bar, but keep all other messages.
  • -C, --[no-]check: add integrity check computed from uncompressed data (default: enabled)
  • --: All arguments after -- are treated as files

Using environment variables to set parameters has security implications. Therefore, this avenue is intentionally restricted. Only ZSTD_CLEVEL is supported currently, for setting compression level. ZSTD_CLEVEL can be used to set the level between 1 and 19 (the "normal" range). If the value of ZSTD_CLEVEL is not a valid integer, it will be ignored with a warning message. ZSTD_CLEVEL just replaces the default compression level (3). It can be overridden by corresponding command line arguments.

zstd offers dictionary compression, which greatly improves efficiency on small files and messages. It´s possible to train zstd with a set of samples, the result of which is saved into a file called a dictionary. Then during compression and decompression, reference the same dictionary, using command -D dictionaryFileName. Compression of small files similar to the sample set will be greatly improved.
--train FILEs
Use FILEs as training set to create a dictionary. The training set should contain a lot of small files (> 100), and weight typically 100x the target dictionary size (for example, 10 MB for a 100 KB dictionary).
Supports multithreading if zstd is compiled with threading support. Additional parameters can be specified with --train-fastcover. The legacy dictionary builder can be accessed with --train-legacy. The cover dictionary builder can be accessed with --train-cover. Equivalent to --train-fastcover=d=8,steps=4.
-o file
Dictionary saved into file (default name: dictionary).
--maxdict=#
Limit dictionary to specified size (default: 112640).
-#
Use # compression level during training (optional). Will generate statistics more tuned for selected compression level, resulting in a small compression ratio improvement for this level.
-B#
Split input files in blocks of size # (default: no split)
--dictID=#
A dictionary ID is a locally unique ID that a decoder can use to verify it is using the right dictionary. By default, zstd will create a 4-bytes random number ID. It´s possible to give a precise number instead. Short numbers have an advantage : an ID < 256 will only need 1 byte in the compressed frame header, and an ID < 65536 will only need 2 bytes. This compares favorably to 4 bytes default. However, it´s up to the dictionary manager to not assign twice the same ID to 2 different dictionaries.
--train-cover[=k#,d=#,steps=#,split=#,shrink[=#]]
Select parameters for the default dictionary builder algorithm named cover. If d is not specified, then it tries d = 6 and d = 8. If k is not specified, then it tries steps values in the range [50, 2000]. If steps is not specified, then the default value of 40 is used. If split is not specified or split <= 0, then the default value of 100 is used. Requires that d <= k. If shrink flag is not used, then the default value for shrinkDict of 0 is used. If shrink is not specified, then the default value for shrinkDictMaxRegression of 1 is used.
Selects segments of size k with highest score to put in the dictionary. The score of a segment is computed by the sum of the frequencies of all the subsegments of size d. Generally d should be in the range [6, 8], occasionally up to 16, but the algorithm will run faster with d <= 8. Good values for k vary widely based on the input data, but a safe range is [2 * d, 2000]. If split is 100, all input samples are used for both training and testing to find optimal d and k to build dictionary. Supports multithreading if zstd is compiled with threading support. Having shrink enabled takes a truncated dictionary of minimum size and doubles in size until compression ratio of the truncated dictionary is at most shrinkDictMaxRegression% worse than the compression ratio of the largest dictionary.
Examples:
zstd --train-cover FILEs
zstd --train-cover=k=50,d=8 FILEs
zstd --train-cover=d=8,steps=500 FILEs
zstd --train-cover=k=50 FILEs
zstd --train-cover=k=50,split=60 FILEs
zstd --train-cover=shrink FILEs
zstd --train-cover=shrink=2 FILEs
--train-fastcover[=k#,d=#,f=#,steps=#,split=#,accel=#]
Same as cover but with extra parameters f and accel and different default value of split If split is not specified, then it tries split = 75. If f is not specified, then it tries f = 20. Requires that 0 < f < 32. If accel is not specified, then it tries accel = 1. Requires that 0 < accel <= 10. Requires that d = 6 or d = 8.
f is log of size of array that keeps track of frequency of subsegments of size d. The subsegment is hashed to an index in the range [0,2^f - 1]. It is possible that 2 different subsegments are hashed to the same index, and they are considered as the same subsegment when computing frequency. Using a higher f reduces collision but takes longer.
Examples:
zstd --train-fastcover FILEs
zstd --train-fastcover=d=8,f=15,accel=2 FILEs
--train-legacy[=selectivity=#]
Use legacy dictionary builder algorithm with the given dictionary selectivity (default: 9). The smaller the selectivity value, the denser the dictionary, improving its efficiency but reducing its possible maximum size. --train-legacy=s=# is also accepted.
Examples:
zstd --train-legacy FILEs
zstd --train-legacy=selectivity=8 FILEs

-b#
benchmark file(s) using compression level #
-e#
benchmark file(s) using multiple compression levels, from -b# to -e# (inclusive)
-i#
minimum evaluation time, in seconds (default: 3s), benchmark mode only
-B#, --block-size=#
cut file(s) into independent blocks of size # (default: no block)
--priority=rt
set process priority to real-time

Output Format: CompressionLevel#Filename : IntputSize -> OutputSize (CompressionRatio), CompressionSpeed, DecompressionSpeed

Methodology: For both compression and decompression speed, the entire input is compressed/decompressed in-memory to measure speed. A run lasts at least 1 sec, so when files are small, they are compressed/decompressed several times per run, in order to improve measurement accuracy.

zstd provides 22 predefined compression levels. The selected or default predefined compression level can be changed with advanced compression options. The options are provided as a comma-separated list. You may specify only the options you want to change and the rest will be taken from the selected or default compression level. The list of available options:
strategy=strat, strat=strat
Specify a strategy used by a match finder.
There are 9 strategies numbered from 1 to 9, from faster to stronger: 1=ZSTD_fast, 2=ZSTD_dfast, 3=ZSTD_greedy, 4=ZSTD_lazy, 5=ZSTD_lazy2, 6=ZSTD_btlazy2, 7=ZSTD_btopt, 8=ZSTD_btultra, 9=ZSTD_btultra2.
windowLog=wlog, wlog=wlog
Specify the maximum number of bits for a match distance.
The higher number of increases the chance to find a match which usually improves compression ratio. It also increases memory requirements for the compressor and decompressor. The minimum wlog is 10 (1 KiB) and the maximum is 30 (1 GiB) on 32-bit platforms and 31 (2 GiB) on 64-bit platforms.
Note: If windowLog is set to larger than 27, --long=windowLog or --memory=windowSize needs to be passed to the decompressor.
hashLog=hlog, hlog=hlog
Specify the maximum number of bits for a hash table.
Bigger hash tables cause less collisions which usually makes compression faster, but requires more memory during compression.
The minimum hlog is 6 (64 B) and the maximum is 30 (1 GiB).
chainLog=clog, clog=clog
Specify the maximum number of bits for a hash chain or a binary tree.
Higher numbers of bits increases the chance to find a match which usually improves compression ratio. It also slows down compression speed and increases memory requirements for compression. This option is ignored for the ZSTD_fast strategy.
The minimum clog is 6 (64 B) and the maximum is 29 (524 Mib) on 32-bit platforms and 30 (1 Gib) on 64-bit platforms.
searchLog=slog, slog=slog
Specify the maximum number of searches in a hash chain or a binary tree using logarithmic scale.
More searches increases the chance to find a match which usually increases compression ratio but decreases compression speed.
The minimum slog is 1 and the maximum is ´windowLog´ - 1.
minMatch=mml, mml=mml
Specify the minimum searched length of a match in a hash table.
Larger search lengths usually decrease compression ratio but improve decompression speed.
The minimum mml is 3 and the maximum is 7.
targetLength=tlen, tlen=tlen
The impact of this field vary depending on selected strategy.
For ZSTD_btopt, ZSTD_btultra and ZSTD_btultra2, it specifies the minimum match length that causes match finder to stop searching. A larger targetLength usually improves compression ratio but decreases compression speed. t For ZSTD_fast, it triggers ultra-fast mode when > 0. The value represents the amount of data skipped between match sampling. Impact is reversed : a larger targetLength increases compression speed but decreases compression ratio.
For all other strategies, this field has no impact.
The minimum tlen is 0 and the maximum is 128 Kib.
overlapLog=ovlog, ovlog=ovlog
Determine overlapSize, amount of data reloaded from previous job. This parameter is only available when multithreading is enabled. Reloading more data improves compression ratio, but decreases speed.
The minimum ovlog is 0, and the maximum is 9. 1 means "no overlap", hence completely independent jobs. 9 means "full overlap", meaning up to windowSize is reloaded from previous job. Reducing ovlog by 1 reduces the reloaded amount by a factor 2. For example, 8 means "windowSize/2", and 6 means "windowSize/8". Value 0 is special and means "default" : ovlog is automatically determined by zstd. In which case, ovlog will range from 6 to 9, depending on selected strat.
ldmHashLog=lhlog, lhlog=lhlog
Specify the maximum size for a hash table used for long distance matching.
This option is ignored unless long distance matching is enabled.
Bigger hash tables usually improve compression ratio at the expense of more memory during compression and a decrease in compression speed.
The minimum lhlog is 6 and the maximum is 30 (default: 20).
ldmMinMatch=lmml, lmml=lmml
Specify the minimum searched length of a match for long distance matching.
This option is ignored unless long distance matching is enabled.
Larger/very small values usually decrease compression ratio.
The minimum lmml is 4 and the maximum is 4096 (default: 64).
ldmBucketSizeLog=lblog, lblog=lblog
Specify the size of each bucket for the hash table used for long distance matching.
This option is ignored unless long distance matching is enabled.
Larger bucket sizes improve collision resolution but decrease compression speed.
The minimum lblog is 1 and the maximum is 8 (default: 3).
ldmHashRateLog=lhrlog, lhrlog=lhrlog
Specify the frequency of inserting entries into the long distance matching hash table.
This option is ignored unless long distance matching is enabled.
Larger values will improve compression speed. Deviating far from the default value will likely result in a decrease in compression ratio.
The default value is wlog - lhlog.

The following parameters sets advanced compression options to something similar to predefined level 19 for files bigger than 256 KB:

--zstd=wlog=23,clog=23,hlog=22,slog=6,mml=3,tlen=48,strat=6

Select the size of each compression job. This parameter is available only when multi-threading is enabled. Default value is 4 * windowSize, which means it varies depending on compression level. -B# makes it possible to select a custom value. Note that job size must respect a minimum value which is enforced transparently. This minimum is either 1 MB, or overlapSize, whichever is largest.

Report bugs at: https://github.com/facebook/zstd/issues

Yann Collet
May 2020 zstd 1.4.5