Create multiple file copies with Tee in Linux

 Wed, 15 May 2024 08:24 UTC

Create multiple file copies with Tee in Linux
Image: CC BY 4.0 by cybrkyd

A recent WHYBAML (where have you been all my life) discovery is: tee for creating multiple copies of the same file in Linux.

cp works well enough if you fancy doing it multiple times…

$ cp original.txt copy.txt

…or if you like typing a lot:

$ for i in {1..10}; do cp original.txt "copy$i.ogg" ; done

tee is short and sweet:

$ tee copy{1..10}.txt < original.txt

When you run Tee will output the entire contents of the original file; silence it with >/dev/null:

$ tee copy{1..10}.txt < original.txt >/dev/null

Non-sequential copying

To make multiple copies of the file but have non-sequential names, you need to explicitly name the copies:

$ tee copy-ten.jpg copy-fifty.jpg copy-eighty.jpg < original.jpg >/dev/null

For me, this is far better than doing right-click » copy / right-click » paste multiple times.