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This cheat sheet provides a quick reference for some common Bzip2 commands and concepts. Bzip2 is a compression utility used to compress and decompress files. It's known for its high compression ratio and efficiency.


Bzip2 is usually pre-installed on most Unix-like systems. To check if it's installed, you can run:

bzip2 --version

If it's not installed, you can install it using your system's package manager (e.g., apt, yum, or brew).

Bzip2 Concepts


Bzip2 is primarily used for compressing files and reducing their size.

  • Compress a file:

    bzip2 file.txt
  • Compress a file and specify the compression level (1-9):

    bzip2 -9 file.txt


To decompress Bzip2-compressed files:

  • Decompress a file:

    bzip2 -d compressed_file.bz2
  • Decompress a file and keep the original compressed file:

    bzip2 -dk compressed_file.bz2

Compression with Tar

Bzip2 is often used in combination with tar to create compressed archive files.

  • Create a Bzip2-compressed Tar archive:
    tar cvjf archive.tar.bz2 directory/

Viewing Compression Information

To view information about a Bzip2-compressed file:

  • View compression details:
    bzcat compressed_file.bz2 | file -

Compression Ratio

You can calculate the compression ratio of a Bzip2-compressed file.

  • Determine the compression ratio of a file:
    original_size=$(wc -c < original_file)
    compressed_size=$(wc -c < compressed_file.bz2)
    compression_ratio=$(bc -l <<< "scale=2; ($original_size - $compressed_size) / $original_size * 100")
    echo "Compression ratio: $compression_ratio%"


This cheat sheet covers some common Bzip2 commands and concepts. Bzip2 is a powerful compression utility used to reduce file sizes efficiently; refer to the official Bzip2 documentation for more in-depth information and advanced usage.