sha1sum outputs a hex encoded format of the actual sha. I would like to see a base64 encoded variant. possibly some command that outputs the binary version that I can pipe, like so: echo -n "message" | <some command> | base64 or if it outputs it directly that's fine too.

5 Answers 5


If you have the command line utility from OpenSSL, it can produce a digest in binary form, and it can even translate to base64 (in a separate invocation).

printf %s foo | openssl dgst -binary -sha1 | openssl base64 -A

-sha256, -sha512, etc are also supported.

  • 3
    echo foo | openssl dgst -binary -sha1 | base64 is equivalent, and probably the cleanest way of doing this. Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 11:46
  • 4
    Using openssl for base64 as well has the advantage of depending on only one tool (ksh: base64: not found). Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 19:51
  • 3
    For large message digest hashes like sha512, you might want to add -A option to the final openssl base64 command, to prevent splitting the resulting string into multiple lines.
    – mykhal
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 14:56
  • @Gilles Why echo foo > somefile; cat somefile | openssl dgst -binary -sha1 | openssl base64 produces a different string? Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 17:25
  • @gliatsos Because echo -n foo and echo foo produce different strings. Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 19:35

Since sha1sum doesn't provide an option for binary output you'll likely need to find an utility which does the opposite of od and pipe them. Taking suggestion by fschmitt to use xxd with 'reverse' and 'plain dump' flags it will look like this:

sha1sum | cut -f1 -d\ | xxd -r -p | base64


I'm not completely sure I understand what you want, but I think something like the following should work:

$ echo -ne "$(echo -n "message" | sha1sum | cut -f1 -d" " | sed -e 's/\(.\{2\}\)/\\x\1/g')" | base64

Basically, I take the hex output, use sed to make it a string of escaped hex values, and then use echo -en to echo the bytes into base64.

We can confirm that the final output corresponds to the same hash with the following exercise:

$ echo -n "message" | sha1sum 
6f9b9af3cd6e8b8a73c2cdced37fe9f59226e27d  -

$ echo -ne "$(echo -n "message" | sha1sum | cut -f1 -d" " | sed -e 's/\(.\{2\}\)/\\x\1/g')" | base64

$ echo -n "b5ua881ui4pzws3O03/p9ZIm4n0=" | base64 -d | xxd
0000000: 6f9b 9af3 cd6e 8b8a 73c2 cdce d37f e9f5  o....n..s.......
0000010: 9226 e27d                                .&.}

Visual inspection shows that our base64 value matches the original hex. Note that if you use hexdump rather than xxd you may have to play with the format settings a bit to get the output you expect.


Perl has a base64 module (in the base distribution since 5.7.1).

echo foo | sha1sum | \
perl -MMIME::Base64 -ne '/^([[:xdigit:]]+)/ and print encode_base64(pack("H*",$1))'

If you have the Digest::SHA module (in the base distribution since 5.9.3), or the older Digest::SHA1 module, you can do the whole computation in perl. As of perl 5.10.1, b64digest doesn't pad the base64 output; if you need padding the easiest way is to use MIME::Base64.

perl -MDigest::SHA -e 'print Digest::SHA->new(1)->addfile(*STDIN)->b64digest'
perl -MMIME::Base64 -MDigest::SHA \
     -le 'print encode_base64(Digest::SHA->new(1)->addfile(*STDIN)->digest)'
  • well if we're using perl, we could just use the Digest::SHA module which would allow us to output directly to base64. Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 0:14

Base64 encoded SHA256 hash became rather standard file checksum in OpenBSD recently.. It can be done just with adding -b option to the OpenBSD's sha256 (or sha1, sha512) command:

$ FILE=/dev/null
$ sha256 -q -b $FILE


$ cksum -q -a sha256b $FILE

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