cp

copy files

TLDR

Copy a file to another location

$ cp [path/to/source_file.ext] [path/to/target_file.ext]
copy

Copy a file into another directory, keeping the filename

$ cp [path/to/source_file.ext] [path/to/target_parent_directory]
copy

Recursively copy a directory's contents to another location (if the destination exists, the directory is copied inside it)

$ cp -R [path/to/source_directory] [path/to/target_directory]
copy

Copy a directory recursively, in verbose mode (shows files as they are copied)

$ cp -vR [path/to/source_directory] [path/to/target_directory]
copy

Copy text files to another location, in interactive mode (prompts user before overwriting)

$ cp -i [*.txt] [path/to/target_directory]
copy

Follow symbolic links before copying

$ cp -L [link] [path/to/target_directory]
copy

SYNOPSIS

cp [OPTION]... [-T] SOURCE DEST
cp [OPTION]... SOURCE... DIRECTORY
cp [OPTION]... -t DIRECTORY SOURCE...

DESCRIPTION

Copy SOURCE to DEST, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-a, --archive

same as -dR --preserve=all

--attributes-only

don't copy the file data, just the attributes

--backup[=CONTROL]

make a backup of each existing destination file

-b

like --backup but does not accept an argument

--copy-contents

copy contents of special files when recursive

-d

same as --no-dereference --preserve=links

-f, --force

if an existing destination file cannot be opened, remove it and try again (this option is ignored when the -n option is also used)

-i, --interactive

prompt before overwrite (overrides a previous -n option)

-H

follow command-line symbolic links in SOURCE

-l, --link

hard link files instead of copying

-L, --dereference

always follow symbolic links in SOURCE

-n, --no-clobber

do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a previous -i option)

-P, --no-dereference

never follow symbolic links in SOURCE

-p

same as --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps

--preserve[=ATTR_LIST]

preserve the specified attributes (default: mode,ownership,timestamps), if possible additional attributes: context, links, xattr, all

--no-preserve=ATTR_LIST

don't preserve the specified attributes

--parents

use full source file name under DIRECTORY

-R, -r, --recursive

copy directories recursively

--reflink[=WHEN]

control clone/CoW copies. See below

--remove-destination

remove each existing destination file before attempting to open it (contrast with --force)

--sparse=WHEN

control creation of sparse files. See below

--strip-trailing-slashes

remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE argument

-s, --symbolic-link

make symbolic links instead of copying

-S, --suffix=SUFFIX

override the usual backup suffix

-t, --target-directory=DIRECTORY

copy all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY

-T, --no-target-directory

treat DEST as a normal file

-u, --update

copy only when the SOURCE file is newer than the destination file or when the destination file is missing

-v, --verbose

explain what is being done

-x, --one-file-system

stay on this file system

-Z

set SELinux security context of destination file to default type

--context[=CTX]

like -Z, or if CTX is specified then set the SELinux or SMACK security context to CTX

--help

display this help and exit

--version

output version information and exit

By default, sparse SOURCE files are detected by a crude heuristic and the corresponding DEST file is made sparse as well. That is the behavior selected by --sparse=auto. Specify --sparse=always to create a sparse DEST file whenever the SOURCE file contains a long enough sequence of zero bytes. Use --sparse=never to inhibit creation of sparse files.

When --reflink[=always] is specified, perform a lightweight copy, where the data blocks are copied only when modified. If this is not possible the copy fails, or if --reflink=auto is specified, fall back to a standard copy. Use --reflink=never to ensure a standard copy is performed.

The backup suffix is '~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Here are the values:

none, off

never make backups (even if --backup is given)

numbered, t

make numbered backups

existing, nil

numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

simple, never

always make simple backups

As a special case, cp makes a backup of SOURCE when the force and backup options are given and SOURCE and DEST are the same name for an existing, regular file.

REPORTING BUGS

GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report any translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>

COPYRIGHT

Copyright © 2020 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <https://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

SEE ALSO

Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/cp> or available locally via: info '(coreutils) cp invocation'

AUTHOR

Written by Torbjorn Granlund, David MacKenzie, and Jim Meyering.

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