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ouch stands for Obvious Unified Compression Helper.

It's a CLI tool for compressing and decompressing for various formats.


  1. Easy to use.
  2. Fast.
  3. Great error message feedback.
  4. No runtime dependencies required (for Linux x86_64).
  5. Accessibility mode (see more).
  6. Shell completions and man pages.


Ouch has three main subcommands:

  • ouch decompress (alias d)
  • ouch compress (alias c)
  • ouch list (alias l or ls)

To see help for a specific command:

ouch help <COMMAND>
ouch <COMMAND> --help  # equivalent


Use the decompress subcommand, ouch will detect the extensions automatically.

ouch decompress

# Decompress multiple files
ouch decompress b.tar.gz c.tar

The -d/--dir flag can be used to redirect decompression results to another directory.

# Decompress '' inside of new folder 'pictures'
ouch decompress --dir pictures


Pass input files to the compress subcommand, add the output file at the end.

# Compress two files into ``
ouch compress one.txt two.txt

# Compress file.txt using .lz4 and .zst
ouch compress file.txt file.txt.lz4.zst

ouch detects the extensions of the output file to decide what formats to use.


ouch list

# Example with tree formatting
ouch list --tree


└── src
   ├── archive
   │  ├──
   │  ├──
   │  └──
   ├── utils
   │  ├──
   │  ├──
   │  ├──
   │  └──
   ├── commands
   │  ├──
   │  ├──
   │  ├──
   │  └──

Supported formats

Format .tar .zip 7z .gz .xz, .lzma .bz, .bz2 .lz4 .sz (Snappy) .zst .rar
Supported ✓¹ ✓¹ ✓² ✓² ✓³

✓: Supports compression and decompression.

✓¹: Due to limitations of the compression format itself, (de)compression can't be done with streaming.

✓²: Supported, and compression runs in parallel.

✓³: Due to RAR's restrictive license, only decompression and listing can be supported. If you wish to exclude non-free code from your build, you can disable RAR support by building without the unrar feature.

tar aliases are also supported: tgz, tbz, tbz2, tlz4, txz, tlzma, tsz, tzst.

Formats can be chained:

  • .tar.gz

If the filename has no extensions, Ouch will try to infer the format by the file signature and ask the user for confirmation.


Packaging status

On Arch Linux

pacman -S ouch

On Windows via Scoop

scoop install ouch


cargo install ouch

Download the latest release bundle

Check the releases page.

Compiling from source code

Check the wiki guide on compiling.

Runtime Dependencies

If running ouch results in a linking error, it means you're missing a runtime dependency.

If you're downloading binaries from the releases page, try the musl variants, those are static binaries that require no runtime dependencies.

Otherwise, you'll need these libraries installed on your system:

These should be available in your system's package manager.


Benchmark results are available here. Performance of compressing and decompressing Rust source code are measured and compared with Hyperfine. The values presented are the average (wall clock) elapsed time.

Note: ouch focuses heavily on usage ergonomics and nice error messages, but we plan on doing some optimization in the future.

Versions used:


ouch is made out of voluntary work, contributors are very welcome! Contributions of all sizes are appreciated.

  • Open an issue.
  • Package it for your favorite distribution or package manager.
  • Share it with a friend!
  • Open a pull request.

If you're creating a Pull Request, check