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ccat is the colorizing cat. It works similar to cat but displays content with syntax highlighting.

Supported Languages

  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Go
  • C
  • JSON



$ brew install ccat

Arch Linux

$ pacaur -S ccat
$ pacaur -S ccat-git

The ccat package will reflect the current release snapshot, while the ccat-git will be based on the current source available in the master branch of the git repo. You can use any AUR helper in place of pacaur AUR Helpers


ccat can be easily installed as an executable. Download the latest compiled binaries and put it in your executable path.

From source


$ go get -u

Completion (ZSH Only)


Move the _ccat file in ./completions/zsh to your site-functions directory usually in /usr/local/share/zsh/site-functions or in /usr/share/zsh/site-functions. If completions don't work on the next ZSH startup, you can delete the file .zcompdump (which caches autocomplete commands) and it is usually in the home directory.


Go back to the directory you copied _ccat to and delete the file, then simply delete .zcompdump in order to stop errors when trying to use ccat autocomplete afterwards.


$ ccat FILE1 FILE2 ...
$ ccat FILE1 FILE2 ... --html # output in HTML
$ ccat --bg=dark FILE1 FILE 2 ... # dark background
$ ccat -G String="_darkblue_" -G Plaintext="darkred" FILE # set color codes
$ ccat --palette # show palette
$ ccat # read from standard input
$ curl | ccat

It's recommended to alias ccat to cat:

alias cat=ccat

The overhead of ccat comparing to cat is mimimum:

$ wc -l main.go
123 main.go
$ time cat main.go > /dev/null
cat main.go > /dev/null  0.00s user 0.00s system 61% cpu 0.005 total
$ time ccat main.go > /dev/null
ccat main.go > /dev/null  0.00s user 0.00s system 78% cpu 0.007 total

You can always invoke cat after aliasing ccat by typing \cat.




  • [ ] nicer default color scheme
  • [ ] ?


ccat is designed to be distributed in one binary, run at native speed and follow the POSIX standards. There're alternatives out there. Use them at your own risk :):




Thanks to Sourcegraph who built this awesome syntax-highlighting package.



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