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I'd like to be able to tail the output of a server log file that has messages like:

INFO
SEVERE

etc, and if it's SEVERE, show the line in red; if it's INFO, in green. What kind of alias can I setup for a tail command that would help me do this?

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13 Answers 13

up vote 80 down vote accepted

Try out multitail. This is an übergeneralization of tail -f. You can watch multiple files in separate windows, highlight lines based on their content, and more.

multitail -c /path/to/log

The colors are configurable. If the default color scheme doesn't work for you, write your own in the config file. For example, call multitail -cS amir_log /path/to/log with the following ~/.multitailrc:

colorscheme:amir_log
cs_re:green:INFO
cs_re:red:SEVERE

Another solution, if you're on a server where it's inconvenient to install non-standard tools, is to combine tail -f with sed or awk to add color selection control sequences. This requires tail -f to flush its standard output without delay even when its standard output is a pipe, I don't know if all implementations do this.

tail -f /path/to/log | awk '
  /INFO/ {print "\033[32m" $0 "\033[39m"}
  /SEVERE/ {print "\033[31m" $0 "\033[39m"}
'

Yet another possibility is to run tail -f in an Emacs shell buffer and use Emacs's syntax coloring abilities.

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how can you do this with sed? (sorry for being lazy and not figuring it out myself!) But would you please add a sed example as well. –  Ali Nov 28 '11 at 16:41
2  
@Ali Sed is less convenient because it doesn't have a syntax for the escape character, you need to have it literally in the script or use a shell quoting method to work it in. I recommend that you use awk. –  Gilles Nov 28 '11 at 17:18
    
@Gilles Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Though, is there a way to do this with vim as like Emacs does? –  Benjamin Jun 24 '12 at 17:01
1  
@Gilles In your tail -f with awk code, if a string doesn't have INFO and SEVERE, the string isn't be printed. How can I print the remain strings either? (The string doesn't need to be colored) –  Benjamin Jun 29 '12 at 10:32
2  
@Benjamin Add ; next before the closing braces to skip further processing, and a new processing line 1 {print} at the end (1 means always). –  Gilles Jun 29 '12 at 11:58

grc, the generic colouriser is pretty cool

http://korpus.juls.savba.sk/~garabik/software/grc.html

Just do

grc tail -f /var/log/apache2/error.log

and enjoy

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This is exactly what I needed: lightweight and simple. The coloring isn't exactly right for my log types (custom logs) but any coloring makes it easier for me to follow a log. –  rennat Oct 21 '11 at 19:49
    
For me 'grc' on Debian errors out with: OSError: [Errno 13] Permission denied. Also it depends on Python being installed so it's not relaly lightweight unless you already have it. I have found 'ccze' to work much better, ex. 'tail -f -n 50 /var/log/starbound-server.log | ccze -A'. –  Daniel Sokolowski Dec 9 '13 at 3:56
    
grc default settings in Ubuntu didn't display nice for syslogs or mail.log. It is not easy to understand how to customize it. –  lepe Jan 27 at 3:34
    
I found it quicker and easier way to colorize than multitail. Just did a quick install via source on my CentOS system and upgraded my life. Will install on my other systems too. –  zeeshan Jul 12 at 9:51

Have you had a look at ccze? You have the possibility to customize the default colors of some keywords using the option -c or directly in your configuration file.

Edit:

If you really would like to have the complete line colored in red, you could also have a try at the following:

$ tail -f myfile.log | perl -pe 's/.*SEVERE.*/\e[1;31m$&\e[0m/g'

\e[1;31m will give you the red color. If you would like some yellow, use \e[1;33m, and for green use \e[1;32m. The \e[0m restores the normal text color.

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This doesn't work on Mac - I'm upvoting it because it works on Linux. –  Amir Afghani Mar 1 '11 at 21:33
    
Upvoting because while the perl/ansi trick might not, ccze does. –  Shadur Nov 13 '11 at 16:02
    
You can also make your terminal send an alert or "beep" by adding \007 to the end of the regex, like so: perl -pe 's/(ERROR)/\033[31m$1\033[0m\007/g;'. This works awesome if you are using tmux with set -g bell-action any, in which case if you have your log tailing in another window, that window name will alert whenever the regex finds a match. –  jonyamo Nov 13 '12 at 4:15
    
@AmirAfghani This is a linux/unix SE site, therefore I am not sure why you thought it would work on mac. –  BЈовић Jun 4 '13 at 6:06
    
@BЈовић Mac is a Unix. –  Chris Down Sep 12 '13 at 19:16

You can use rainbow, which allows to colorize lines based on regular expressions:

rainbow --red='SEVERE.*' --green='INFO.*' -- tail -f my-file.log

It also comes bundled with predefined configs, for example for Tomcat logs:

rainbow --config=tomcat -- tail -f my-file.log
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I quite like colorex. Simple, yet satisfying.

tail -f /var/log/syslog | colorex -G '[0-9]{2}:[0-9]{2}:[0-9]{2}' -b $(hostname)
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You can use colortail:

colortail -f /var/log/messages
share|improve this answer
    
+1 available at Ubuntu repositories. What I like of colortail compared to ccze is that you can customize freely your patterns using RegEx. Available colors: black, brightblack, white, brightwhite, magenta, brightmagenta, cyan, brightcyan, green,‌​brightgreen, yellow, brightyellow, red,brightred, blue, brightblue. Unfortunately there is no way to set bold or other colors like orange. –  lepe Jan 27 at 3:55
    
I would like to correct one point about my previous comment: "bright"+color includes "bold" (some colors will actually look brighter as well) –  lepe Jan 27 at 4:25
tail -f /var/log/logname | source-highlight -f esc -s log
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6  
source-highlight isn't a widely installed command, so you should at least give a link to the project site. –  Gilles Mar 16 '11 at 22:45
    
Available in Fedora 19. –  sjas Sep 29 '13 at 14:55
    
And Ubuntu 12.10. –  sjas Sep 29 '13 at 15:10
    
It looks nice. Its a big package compared to others in this list (26MB). It supports a huge list of languages. It can be customized modifying the config files located at: /usr/share/source-highlight/*.lang (Ubuntu). If you need something simple, go with ccze or colortail. –  lepe Jan 27 at 3:46
    
looks like it depends on boost, which is around 462MB –  ecsos May 29 at 21:34

Also note that if you just want to look for one matching regex, GNU grep with --color will work — just pipe your tail output through that.

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The OP only wanted to highlight the output, not filter it. Grep won't show non-matching lines... –  Coderer Jun 30 at 12:36

To get colored output from standard commands like grep, you should set this alias in your .bashrc

# User specific aliases and functions
alias grep='grep --color=auto'

when you grep something in your file you see something like this, (but probably in red):

[root@linuxbox mydir]# grep "\(INFO\|SEVERE\)" /var/log/logname
this entry is an INFO 
SEVERE this entry is a warn!
this entry is an INFO
this entry is an INFO
SEVERE this entry is a warn!

if want to use tail or awk and want that the color survive to a pipe, then the alias is not enough and you should use the --color=always parameter, for example:

[root@linubox mydir]# grep --color=always "\(INFO\|SEVERE\)" /var/log/logname | tail -f | awk '{ print $1 }'
this 
SEVERE
this
this
SEVERE

If you want color text with awk the story is a little bit complex but more powerfull, for example:

[root@linubox mydir]# tail -f /var/log/messages | awk '{if ($5 ~ /INFO/) print "\033[1;32m"$0"\033[0m"; else if ($1 ~ /SEVERE/) print "\033[1;31m"$0"\033[0m"; else print $0}'
this entry is an INFO 
SEVERE this entry is a warn!
this is another ENTRY
this entry is an INFO
this is another ENTRY
this entry is an INFO
SEVERE this entry is a warn!

with each line in its own color.

There are many other way to get colorized text from shell with other tools and they are well descripted by other members.

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Shameless plug: I wrote a tool called TxtStyle that does something similar as the options mentioned earlier. You can run it as follows:

tail -f /var/log/syslog | txts --regex '\d+'

You can also define named styles in the config file (~/.txts.conf) and use it like so:

ifconfig | txts --name ifconfig

(ifconfig style is defined out of the box)

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I wrote a bash function that accepts up to three parameters and does a grep-like filter on a text file, and outputs text to the screen in color.

I would also like to see a tail function that would do this, but haven't found one yet.

This function can also be improved - I'd appreciate any help on how to make it better.

function multigrep(){

    #THIS WORKS - Recreate this, using input parameters
    #sed -En '/(App)|(Spe)/p' ./flashlog.txt;

    filename="/Users/stevewarren/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash\ Player/Logs/flashlog.txt";
    paramString="";

    for element in "$@"
        do
            #echo $element;
            paramString="$paramString($element)|";
        done

    #TRIM FINAL | OFF PARAMSTRING
    paramString=${paramString:0:${#paramString}-1};

    #CREATE SED EXPRESSION - '/($1)|($2)|(...)/p'
    paramString="'/$paramString/p'";

    #CREATE SED FUNCTION, CALL ON FILE
    paramString="sed -En $paramString ./flashlog.txt"

    echo $paramString;
    echo "${txtbld}$(tput setaf 7)" > ./flashlog_output.txt;
    eval $paramString >> ./flashlog_output.txt;
    echo >> ./flashlog_output.txt;
    #cat ./flashlog_output.txt;

    cat ./flashlog_output.txt | while read LINE
    do

        [[  $1 && ${1-x} ]] && 
            if grep -q $1 <<<$LINE; then
                echo "$(tput setaf 3)$LINE"
            fi

        [[  $2 && ${2-x} ]] && 
            if grep -q $2 <<<$LINE; then
                echo "$(tput setaf 7)$LINE"
            fi


        [[  $3 && ${3-x} ]] && 
            if grep -q $3 <<<$LINE; then
                echo "$(tput setaf 6)$LINE"
            fi

    done
}
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sure !

I wrote long a go a function called "egrepi", based on the 8 color variables definitions. This works ONLY piped like a "tail -f" colored function.

1. setColors

first, the color variables function to be called at first:


setColors ()
{
set -a
which printf >/dev/null 2>&1 && print=printf || print=print # Mandriva doesn't know about printf

hide='eval tput civis'
show='eval tput cnorm'
CLS=$(tput clear)
bel=$(tput bel)

case ${UNAME} in
AIX)
# text / foreground
N=$(${print} '\033[1;30m')
n=$(${print} '\033[0;30m')
R=$(${print} '\033[1;31m')
r=$(${print} '\033[0;31m')
G=$(${print} '\033[1;32m')
g=$(${print} '\033[0;32m')
Y=$(${print} '\033[1;33m')
y=$(${print} '\033[0;33m')
B=$(${print} '\033[1;34m')
b=$(${print} '\033[0;34m')
M=$(${print} '\033[1;35m')
m=$(${print} '\033[0;35m')
C=$(${print} '\033[1;36m')
c=$(${print} '\033[0;36m')
W=$(${print} '\033[1;37m')
w=$(${print} '\033[0;37m')
END=$(${print} '\033[0m')

# background
RN=$(${print} '\033[6;40m')
Rn=$(${print} '\033[40m')
RR=$(${print} '\033[6;41m')
Rr=$(${print} '\033[41m')
RG=$(${print} '\033[6;42m')
Rg=$(${print} '\033[42m')
RY=$(${print} '\033[6;43m')
Ry=$(${print} '\033[43m')
RB=$(${print} '\033[6;44m')
Rb=$(${print} '\033[44m')
RM=$(${print} '\033[6;45m')
Rm=$(${print} '\033[45m')
RC=$(${print} '\033[6;46m')
Rc=$(${print} '\033[46m')
RW=$(${print} '\033[6;47m')
Rw=$(${print} '\033[47m')

HIGH=$(tput bold)
SMUL=$(tput smul)
RMUL=$(tput rmul)
BLINK=$(tput blink)
REVERSE=$(tput smso)
REVERSO=$(tput rmso)
;;
*)
# text / foreground
n=$(tput setaf 0)
r=$(tput setaf 1)
g=$(tput setaf 2)
y=$(tput setaf 3)
b=$(tput setaf 4)
m=$(tput setaf 5)
c=$(tput setaf 6)
w=$(tput setaf 7)
N=$(tput setaf 8)
R=$(tput setaf 9)
G=$(tput setaf 10)
Y=$(tput setaf 11)
B=$(tput setaf 12)
M=$(tput setaf 13)
C=$(tput setaf 14)
W=$(tput setaf 15)
END=$(tput sgr0)

HIGH=$(tput bold)
SMUL=$(tput smul)
RMUL=$(tput rmul)
BLINK=$(tput blink)
REVERSE=$(tput smso)
REVERSO=$(tput rmso)

# background
Rn=$(tput setab 0)
Rr=$(tput setab 1)
Rg=$(tput setab 2)
Ry=$(tput setab 3)
Rb=$(tput setab 4)
Rm=$(tput setab 5)
Rc=$(tput setab 6)
Rw=$(tput setab 7)
RN=$(tput setab 8)
RR=$(tput setab 9)
RG=$(tput setab 10)
RY=$(tput setab 11)
RB=$(tput setab 12)
RM=$(tput setab 13)
RC=$(tput setab 14)
RW=$(tput setab 15)
;;
esac

BLUEf=${B}
BLUE=${b}
REDf=${R}
RED=${r}
GREENf=${G}
GREEN=${g}
YELLOWf=${Y}
YELLOW=${y}
MANGENTAf=${M}
MANGENTA=${m}
WHITEf=${W}
WHITE=${w}
CYANf=${C}
CYAN=${c}

OK="${RG}${n}OK${END}"
KO="${RR}${n}KO${END}"
NA="${N}NA${END}"

COLORIZE='eval sed -e "s/{END}/${END}/g" -e "s/{HIGH}/${HIGH}/g" -e "s/{SMUL}/${SMUL}/g" -e "s/{RMUL}/${RMUL}/g" -e "s/{BLINK}/${BLINK}/g" -e "s/{REVERSE}/${REVERSE}/g" -e "s/{REVERSO}/${REVERSO}/g"'
LOWS=' -e "s/{n}/${n}/g" -e "s/{r}/${r}/g" -e "s/{g}/${g}/g" -e "s/{y}/${y}/g" -e "s/{b}/${b}/g" -e "s/{m}/${m}/g" -e "s/{c}/${c}/g" -e "s/{w}/${w}/g"'
HIGHS=' -e "s/{N}/${N}/g" -e "s/{R}/${R}/g" -e "s/{G}/${G}/g" -e "s/{Y}/${Y}/g" -e "s/{B}/${B}/g" -e "s/{M}/${M}/g" -e "s/{C}/${C}/g" -e "s/{W}/${W}/g"'
REVLOWS=' -e "s/{Rn}/${Rn}/g" -e "s/{Rr}/${Rr}/g" -e "s/{Rg}/${Rg}/g" -e "s/{Ry}/${Ry}/g" -e "s/{Rb}/${Rb}/g" -e "s/{Rm}/${Rm}/g" -e "s/{Rc}/${Rc}/g" -e "s/{Rw}/${Rw}/g"'
REVHIGHS=' -e "s/{RN}/${RN}/g" -e "s/{RR}/${RR}/g" -e "s/{RG}/${RG}/g" -e "s/{RY}/${RY}/g" -e "s/{RB}/${RB}/g" -e "s/{RM}/${RM}/g" -e "s/{RC}/${RC}/g" -e "s/{RW}/${RW}/g"'
# COLORIZE Usage:
# command |${COLORIZE} ${LOWS} ${HIGHS} ${REVLOWS} ${REVHIGHS}

set +a
}

2. egrepi

and the egrepi function, effective and elegant: color cycling between 8 or more colors (your needs) AND tested under 3 different unix OS, with comments :


# egrepi() egrep with 8 REVERSE cyclic colorations on regexps almost like egrep
# egrepi 
# current script will work for KSH88, KSH93, bash 2+, zsh, under AIX / Linux / SunOS
egrepi ()
{
args=$*
# colorList=wBcgymrN                                                # KSH93 or bash 3+, not for AIX
# set -A color                                                  # needed with older sh
color[0]=$Rw; color[1]=$RB; color[2]=$Rc; color[3]=$Rg; color[4]=$Ry; color[5]=$Rm; color[6]=$Rr; color[7]=$RN; # this is the only one AIX solution
i=0
unset argsToGrep argsSedColor argsPerlColor

for arg in ${args}
do
    [ "${arg}" == "." ] && arg=\\.                              # if you wanna grep "."
    # color=R${colorList:((${RANDOM: -1:1})):1}                     # bash RANDOMized colors
    # color=R${colorList:$i:1} && let i++ && ((i==8)) && i=0                # KSH93 or bash 3+, not for AIX
    argsToGrep="${argsToGrep}${argsToGrep:+|}${arg}"
    # argsSedColor="${argsSedColor} -e s#${arg}#$n${!color}&${w}#gI"            # AIX KSH88 do not recognise this fucking variable double expansion
    # argsSedColor="${argsSedColor} -e s#${arg}#$n${color[$i]}&${w}#gI"         # AIX neither do include sed with Ignore case
    argsPerlColor="${argsPerlColor}${argsPerlColor:+,}s#${arg}#$n${color[$i]}$&${END}#gi"   # So: gotta use perl
    let i+=1 && ((i==8)) && i=0                             # AIX KSH88 do not recognise "let i++"
done
# egrep -i "${argsToGrep}" | sed ${argsSedColor} | egrep -v "grep|sed"              # AIX sed incompatibility with Ignore case
# (($# > 0)) && (egrep -i "${argsToGrep}" | perl -p -e ${argsPerlColor}) || cat         # this line colors & grep the words, will NOT act as "tail -f"
(($# > 0)) && (perl -p -e ${argsPerlColor}) || cat                      # this line just colors the words
}

3. Usage

command | egrepi word1 .. wordN

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Based on @uloBasEI answer, I've tried to use ... | perl ... | perl ..., but Linux pipe gets a bit crazy and is too slow. If I put all rules in only one perl command, it works fine.

For example, create a perl file colorTail.pl as below:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w

while(<STDIN>) {
    my $line = $_;
    chomp($line);
    for($line){
        s/==>.*<==/\e[1;44m$&\e[0m/gi; #tail multiples files name in blue background
        s/.*exception.*|at .*/\e[0;31m$&\e[0m/gi;  #java errors & stacktraces in red
        s/info.*/\e[1;32m$&\e[0m/gi; #info replacement in green
        s/warning.*/\e[1;33m$&\e[0m/gi; #warning replacement in yellow
    }
    print $line, "\n";
}

Use it as:

tail -f *.log | perl colorTail.pl
tail -f *.log -f **/*.log | perl colorTail.pl

NOTE: you can use it on MobaXTerm too! Just download perl plug-in from MobaXTerm site.

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