Can I somehow make journalctl print log levels next to actual messages?

I have found the -p option but that is not what I'm looking for, I want to see both errors and warnings but I want to be able to tell them apart.

The only thing I have found is this from man journalctl:

When outputting to a tty, lines are colored according to priority: lines of level ERROR and higher are colored red; lines of level NOTICE and higher are highlighted; other lines are displayed normally.

This is a nice start, but I would still like to tell apart all 8 levels, not aggregate them in just three.

1 Answer 1


The one option is to use output formatting options. For example journalctl -o verbose will show you all data connected to a particular entry. Example:

Wed 2017-02-08 21:06:27.524361 EET [s=f689734c6c674cfd98a49e66c3349fdd;i=42c;b=01111969442644239da701153bd49c37;m=23e9195;t=548098fc53333;x=c943c53e7411726]
    MESSAGE=Reached target Timers.
    _CMDLINE=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd --user
    _SYSTEMD_CGROUP=/user.slice/user-1000.slice/[email protected]/init.scope
    [email protected]

Here field PRIORITY actually points to a message level (in this particular case it's INFO level). Levels map in this way:

0: emerg
1: alert
2: crit
3: err
4: warning
5: notice
6: info
7: debug

I don't think you can avoid other metadata and only leave message level (correct me if I'm wrong) without some kind of post-processing (custom shell script etc).

  • 1
    See an answer to this question as well: serverfault.com/questions/740081/…
    – ddnomad
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 19:11
  • I feared I would have to write scripts for it if I really wanted it, but this actually simplifies things a lot. It just seems weird that there is no particular order of the fields and some messages have it differently
    – Ordoshsen
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 19:50
  • @Ordoshsen I guess some fields are optional and so on. Yes, after your question I also wonder why it's not a simple flag or something.
    – ddnomad
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 19:53
  • @Ordoshsen - not on a systemd machine right now but anyway... I'd use something like journalctl -b -o json | jq ... i.e. use json output and pipe that to jq to extract only the stuff you need (like PRIORITY, TIMESTAMP, MESSAGE). I guess you could also try to do it via python-systemd Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 19:58
  • 3
    Building on @don_crissti's comment, the following prints the priority level, command, time, and the message: journalctl --boot -o json | jq -r '"Priority: " + .PRIORITY + " on " + .SYSLOG_TIMESTAMP + "command: " + ._CMDLINE + ": " + .MESSAGE' Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 18:52

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