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Stream and display a fixed number of lines from a processes output.
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ptail 🔱 Actions Status

ptail is a small, and likely useless, utility that truncates the output from processes. Unlike tail -f it will not show more than the specified number of lines in your terminal.

This could be useful if you are executing a command as part of a shell script and you do not wish to show the full and verbose output, but you do want to be able to see what is happening.

Examples ⭐️

Running a command

This will execute brew bundle install --global and only show the last 20 lines. The -- is required to prevent --global being interpreted as part of the ptail command.

ptail -n 20 -- brew bundle install --global

tail -f equivalent

If you don't specify a command it will read from stdin:

tail -f /var/log/verbose-log | ptail -n 20

Install 💿

Homebrew (MacOS + Linux)

brew tap orf/brew, then brew install ptail

Arch Linux

There is an AUR package for ptail:

git clone
cd ptail
makepkg -si

Binaries (Windows)

Download the latest release from the github releases page. Extract it and move it to a directory on your PATH.


cargo install ptail

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