I am trying to list files in a nested zip as below. It is not listing files in second level.

For example:

abc.zip contains test1.zip, test2.zip, test3.zip

pqr.zip contains test4.zip, test5.zip, test6.zip

for f in *.zip
  unzip -l ${f}
  for p in ${f}
    unzip -l ${p}
  • That first unzip does nothing (it puts some stuff on the output, but that is not used). The 2nd for iterates over one item. – ctrl-alt-delor Feb 27 at 22:56

You can't do it without actually unzipping the top files in a sub-folder.

Something like this:

set -e
for f in *.zip
  n=`basename -- "${f}" .zip`
  mkdir -- "${n}"
  cd -- "${n}"
  unzip ../"${f}"
  for p in *.zip
    unzip -l -- "${p}"
  cd ..
  rm -rf -- "${n}"

You should probably verify whether ${n} already exists and if so generate an error. You could also use a temporary filename for the sub-directory:

dir=`mktemp -d zip-files.XXXXXX`

Then do cd "${dir}" and rm -rf "${dir}" once done.


The set -e is used to make sure that if something goes wrong then the script stops. Especially, if the mkdir -- "${m}" fails, the cd -- "${m}" will fail too and thus the cd .. would get you at the wrong directory level and that's where the rm -rf -- "${n}" becomes dangerous.

Another way to make the cd .. statement safer is to memorize that directory before the for loop and use that path like so:

for ...
  cd "$topdir"   # instead of `cd ..`

That way the rm -rf -- "${n}" will only operate in $topdir.

The use of the temporary directory will also make things a lot safer since that way whatever the filenames in the top zip file, the directory creation/removal will work as expected.


With a combination of libarchive's bsdtar and GNU tar, you can list the contents of those nested archives without having to extract them on disk:

for f in *.zip; do
  bsdtar -cf - --include='*.zip' "@$f" | tar -xf - --to-command='bsdtar tvf -'

GNU tar can pipe members of archives to commands upon extraction with --to-command but only supports tar archive formats.

bsdtar supports all sorts of archive formats beside tar ones (including zip ones), doesn't have the equivalent of GNU tar's --to-command (AFAIK), but can convert archive formats on the fly.

  • In many cases, people do not want to install yet another tool, although this is a nice trick. – Alexis Wilke Feb 27 at 17:16
  • @AlexisWilke, bsdtar is the tool to extract archives. The OP will likely have had to install unzip. bsdtar would have been a much better choice. – Stéphane Chazelas Feb 27 at 17:52
  • unfortunately, bsdtar does not appear to be available in Ubuntu and Arch/Manjaro. – sitaram Feb 28 at 2:03
  • @sitaram It is on Debian based systems including Ubuntu.. Used to be in a bsdtar package; now in libarchive-tools (which now also includes a bsdcpio command). It's becoming a de facto standard. I'd be surprised if any GNU/Linux distribution doesn't at least have a package for it. – Stéphane Chazelas Feb 28 at 7:02
  • @StéphaneChazelas -- indeed, now I found it; thank you for that! I should have searched for the filename instead of package name, earlier. – sitaram Mar 1 at 1:36

If GNU Parallel is installed:

extract_list() {
  mkdir "$1"
  cd "$1"
  unzip ../"$1".zip
  parallel unzip -l ::: *.zip
  cd ..
  rm -rf "$1"
export -f extract_list

parallel extract_list {.} ::: *.zip

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