uuencode, uudecode

Encode/decode a binary file

      uuencode [-m] [-o output_file] [file] name

      uudecode [-cips] [file ...]

      uudecode [-i] -o output_file [file]

Options uuencode:

     -m     Use the Base64 method of encoding, rather than the traditional
            uuencode algorithm.

     -o output_file
            Output to output_file instead of standard output.

Options uudecode:

     -c     Decode more than one uuencode'd file from file if possible.

     -i     Do not overwrite files.

     -o output_file
            Output to output_file instead of any pathname contained in the
            input data.

     -p     Decode file and write output to standard output.

     -s     Do not strip output pathname to base filename.  By default
            uudecode deletes any prefix ending with the last slash '/' for
            security purpose.

The uuencode and uudecode utilities are used to transmit binary files over transmission mediums that do not support other than simple ASCII data.

The uuencode utility reads file (or by default the standard input) and writes an encoded version to the standard output, or output_file if one has been specified. The encoding uses only printing ASCII characters and includes the mode of the file and the operand name for use by uudecode.

The uudecode utility transforms uuencoded files (or by default, the standard input) into the original form. The resulting file is named either name or (depending on options passed to uudecode) output_file and will have the mode of the original file except that setuid and execute bits are not retained. The uudecode utility ignores any leading and trailing lines.


The following example packages up a source tree, compresses it, uuencodes it and mails it to a user on another system. When uudecode is run on the target system, the file ``src_tree.tar.Z'' will be created which may then be uncompressed and extracted into the original tree.

    tar cf - src_tree | compress |
    uuencode src_tree.tar.Z | mail sys1!sys2!user

The following example unpack all uuencode'd files from your mailbox into your current working directory:

    uudecode -c < $MAIL

The following example extract a compress'ed tar archive from your mailbox:

    uudecode -o /dev/stdout < $MAIL | zcat | tar xfv -    

“One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs” ~ Robert Firth

Related macOS commands

basename - return filename or directory portion of pathname.
compress(1), mail(1)
uucp - Unix to Unix copy.

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