xz – POSIX Platform Development Tool with High Compression Ratio

xz is a command-line tool that is used to compress and decompress files. It is designed to be used on the POSIX platform, which includes operating systems such as Linux, Unix, and macOS. xz is known for its high compression ratio and is often used to compress large files to save disk space and reduce transfer times.


The xz command can be used in two ways: to compress a file and to decompress a file. To compress a file, you can use the following command:

xz [options] file

For example, to compress a file named example.txt, you can use the following command:

xz example.txt

This will create a compressed file named example.txt.xz. To decompress a file, you can use the following command:

xz -d [options] file.xz

For example, to decompress a file named example.txt.xz, you can use the following command:

xz -d example.txt.xz

This will create a decompressed file named example.txt.


The following table lists the available options for the xz command:

Option Description
-z, --compress Compress the specified file. This is the default behavior.
-d, --decompress Decompress the specified file.
-k, --keep Keep the original file when compressing or decompressing. By default, the original file is deleted after compression or decompression.
-f, --force Force compression or decompression, even if the output file already exists.
-t, --test Test the integrity of the compressed file.
-c, --stdout Write the compressed or decompressed data to standard output instead of a file.
-0 to -9 Set the compression level. -0 is the fastest but produces the least compression, while -9 is the slowest but produces the most compression. The default is -6.
-q, --quiet Suppress all warnings and messages.
-v, --verbose Display verbose output.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips for common issues with the xz command:

  • If you receive an error message that says “xz: (stdin): File format not recognized”, it means that you are trying to decompress a file that is not in the correct format. Make sure that you are decompressing a file that was compressed with xz.
  • If you receive an error message that says “xz: (stdin): Compressed data is corrupt”, it means that the compressed file is corrupted and cannot be decompressed. Try downloading the file again or using a different compression tool.
  • If you receive an error message that says “xz: (stdin): File too large”, it means that the file you are trying to compress is too large for xz to handle. Try splitting the file into smaller parts and compressing each part separately.


  • xz uses the LZMA compression algorithm, which is a powerful compression algorithm that can achieve high compression ratios. However, it is also a slow algorithm, so compressing and decompressing large files can take a long time.
  • xz is often used in conjunction with the tar command to create compressed archives. For example, you can use the following command to create a compressed archive of all the files in a directory:
tar -cf - directory/ | xz > archive.tar.xz