Linux uuencode Command Tutorial with Examples

In the old times, there were different data or file transfer methods. Modems were popular at that time and this may create data related to encoding problems. uuencode is a command which will be used to encode given data or files into ASCII format. Converting ASCII format will prevent problems related Control Carachter.


The syntax of the uuencode is very simple.


Here flag is used to change uuencode behaivour. INFILE is optional and used to provide input data. OUTFILE is the converted data or file to be created.


Help information about uuencode can be listed with the --help option like below.

$ uuencode --help
uuencode Help
uuencode Help

Encode Given File

The most popular use case and usage for uuencode are encoding the given file. We will provide the file named test.tar.gz as input file and create output filename test.tar.gz.uu.

$ uuencode test.tar.gz test.tar.gz.uu

Decode Given File

We can decode given files and data with the -c option like below. We will redirect file named test.tar.gz.uu like below.

$ uuencode -c < test.tar.gz.uu

Decode and Extract

If we want to decode and extract compressed file we can pipe them each other. In this example, we will use gunzip and tar in order to decode and extract files.

$ uudecode -o /dev/stdout < test.tar.gz.uu | gunzip | tar xfv -

Convert Using Base64

uuencode supports Base64 encoding. We can use -m or--base64  option in order to enable Base64 format.

$ uuencode --base64  test.tar.gz test.tar.gz.uu

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