I have a tar archive and I need to extract the contents of a directory into another directory.

So for example the content may be located in /home/me/stuff/ and everything in the stuff folder should be extracted to /extract. So after the extract is complete everything that was in the archived /home/me/stuff/ folder is now in the /extract folder.


  • You are not telling us how and in which directory you generated that tar. May 31, 2018 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


If I understand what you are asking, it looks like, with GNU tar, the following will do it:

tar --extract --file in.tar --directory /extract /home/me/stuff --strip 3

Simulating with an archive that has the following contents:

$ tar tf in.tar

And an output directory /tmp/extract (which must be created beforehand), we get:

$ find /tmp/extract

Note how the file foo was not extracted at all.

  • Ah, and now I see that you probably meant for the leading part home/me/stuff to be stripped. Oops.
    – dhag
    May 31, 2018 at 2:34
  • With GNU tar, there's --strip-components May 31, 2018 at 2:36
  • Thanks, I ended up noticing that right after posting my answer.
    – dhag
    May 31, 2018 at 2:44
  • OK - So IIUC the --strip 3 means skip everything starting from root (/) down three directories?
    – Ole
    May 31, 2018 at 2:55
  • 1
    Yes, that's the idea. Perhaps it's not very convenient to have to compute the value 3, but then again it's possible to write a script around this if this is a recurring need.
    – dhag
    May 31, 2018 at 3:01

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