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pattern matching on message catalog



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Extracts all messages of a translation catalog that match a given pattern or belong to some given source files.

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

Input file location:

input PO file

-D, --directory=DIRECTORY

add DIRECTORY to list for input files search

If no input file is given or if it is -, standard input is read.

Output file location:
, --output-file=FILE

write output to specified file

The results are written to standard output if no output file is specified or if it is -.

Message selection:


A message is selected if it comes from one of the specified source files, or if it comes from one of the specified domains, or if -J is given and its context (msgctxt) matches MSGCTXT-PATTERN, or if -K is given and its key (msgid or msgid_plural) matches MSGID-PATTERN, or if -T is given and its translation (msgstr) matches MSGSTR-PATTERN, or if -C is given and the translator’s comment matches COMMENT-PATTERN, or if -X is given and the extracted comment matches EXTRACTED-COMMENT-PATTERN.

When more than one selection criterion is specified, the set of selected messages is the union of the selected messages of each criterion.


[-E | -F] [-e PATTERN | -f FILE]...

PATTERNs are basic regular expressions by default, or extended regular expressions if -E is given, or fixed strings if -F is given.
, --location=SOURCEFILE

select messages extracted from SOURCEFILE

-M, --domain=DOMAINNAME

select messages belonging to domain DOMAINNAME

-J, --msgctxt

start of patterns for the msgctxt

-K, --msgid

start of patterns for the msgid

-T, --msgstr

start of patterns for the msgstr

-C, --comment

start of patterns for the translator’s comment

-X, --extracted-comment

start of patterns for the extracted comment

-E, --extended-regexp

PATTERN is an extended regular expression

-F, --fixed-strings

PATTERN is a set of newline-separated strings

-e, --regexp=PATTERN

use PATTERN as a regular expression

-f, --file=FILE

obtain PATTERN from FILE

-i, --ignore-case

ignore case distinctions

-v, --invert-match

output only the messages that do not match any selection criterion

Input file syntax:
, --properties-input

input file is in Java .properties syntax


input file is in NeXTstep/GNUstep .strings syntax

Output details:

use colors and other text attributes always


use colors and other text attributes if WHEN. WHEN may be ’always’, ’never’, ’auto’, or ’html’.


specify CSS style rule file for --color


do not use C escapes in output (default)


use C escapes in output, no extended chars


write PO file even if empty


indented output style


suppress ’#: filename:line’ lines


preserve ’#: filename:line’ lines (default)


strict Uniforum output style

-p, --properties-output

write out a Java .properties file


write out a NeXTstep/GNUstep .strings file

-w, --width=NUMBER

set output page width


do not break long message lines, longer than the output page width, into several lines


generate sorted output


sort output by file location

Informative output:
, --help

display this help and exit

-V, --version

output version information and exit


Copyright © 2001-2010 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

reporting bugs

Report bugs to <bug-gnu-gettext[:at:]gnu[:dot:]org>.

see also

The full documentation for msggrep is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and msggrep programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info msggrep

should give you access to the complete manual.


Written by Bruno Haible.

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