You cannot select more than 25 topics Topics must start with a letter or number, can include dashes ('-') and can be up to 35 characters long.
Go to file
Geoff Greer a61f1780b6
Merge pull request #1424 from sanjaymsh/ppc64le
Travis-ci: added support for ppc64le
2 years ago
doc Add -W/--width option to man page 5 years ago
m4 Add pthread detection m4 macro. 9 years ago
src Merge pull request #1389 from aswild/getenv-segfault 3 years ago
tests Fix test. 3 years ago
.clang-format The ultimate clang-format styling directives to end all clang-format styling directives. 8 years ago
.gitignore Add script for performance-guided optimization. Ignore pgo files. 6 years ago
.travis.yml Travis-ci: added support for ppc64le 2 years ago Adding filetypes 6 years ago
LICENSE Add license. Apache License 2.0 ftw. 11 years ago Fix #896 - Stream decompress zipped files 6 years ago
Makefile.w32 Makefile.w32: Remove Perl-regex grep dependency 7 years ago
NOTICE Update date in NOTICE 7 years ago Document how to install ag.exe for Windows using winget 3 years ago
_the_silver_searcher add zsh completion function 7 years ago Updated bash completion script to reflect v2.0 changes 3 years ago Create script 6 years ago Create script 6 years ago Bump version to v2.2.0 5 years ago Fix shellcheck warnings/errors in shell scripts. 7 years ago Fix so that it actually does the thing. 5 years ago Add script to automatically run tests with the LLVM sanitizers or valgrind 6 years ago fix rpmbuild error 5 years ago

The Silver Searcher

A code searching tool similar to ack, with a focus on speed.

Build Status

Floobits Status

#ag on Freenode

Do you know C? Want to improve ag? I invite you to pair with me.

What's so great about Ag?

  • It is an order of magnitude faster than ack.
  • It ignores file patterns from your .gitignore and .hgignore.
  • If there are files in your source repo you don't want to search, just add their patterns to a .ignore file. (*cough* *.min.js *cough*)
  • The command name is 33% shorter than ack, and all keys are on the home row!

Ag is quite stable now. Most changes are new features, minor bug fixes, or performance improvements. It's much faster than Ack in my benchmarks:

ack test_blah ~/code/  104.66s user 4.82s system 99% cpu 1:50.03 total

ag test_blah ~/code/  4.67s user 4.58s system 286% cpu 3.227 total

Ack and Ag found the same results, but Ag was 34x faster (3.2 seconds vs 110 seconds). My ~/code directory is about 8GB. Thanks to git/hg/ignore, Ag only searched 700MB of that.

There are also graphs of performance across releases.

How is it so fast?

  • Ag uses Pthreads to take advantage of multiple CPU cores and search files in parallel.
  • Files are mmap()ed instead of read into a buffer.
  • Literal string searching uses Boyer-Moore strstr.
  • Regex searching uses PCRE's JIT compiler (if Ag is built with PCRE >=8.21).
  • Ag calls pcre_study() before executing the same regex on every file.
  • Instead of calling fnmatch() on every pattern in your ignore files, non-regex patterns are loaded into arrays and binary searched.

I've written several blog posts showing how I've improved performance. These include how I added pthreads, wrote my own scandir(), benchmarked every revision to find performance regressions, and profiled with gprof and Valgrind.



brew install the_silver_searcher


port install the_silver_searcher


  • Ubuntu >= 13.10 (Saucy) or Debian >= 8 (Jessie)

      apt-get install silversearcher-ag
  • Fedora 21 and lower

      yum install the_silver_searcher
  • Fedora 22+

      dnf install the_silver_searcher
  • RHEL7+

      yum install epel-release.noarch the_silver_searcher
  • Gentoo

      emerge -a sys-apps/the_silver_searcher
  • Arch

      pacman -S the_silver_searcher
  • Slackware

      sbopkg -i the_silver_searcher
  • openSUSE

      zypper install the_silver_searcher
  • CentOS

      yum install the_silver_searcher
  • NixOS/Nix/Nixpkgs

      nix-env -iA silver-searcher
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise: Follow these simple instructions.


  • FreeBSD

      pkg install the_silver_searcher
  • OpenBSD/NetBSD

      pkg_add the_silver_searcher


  • Win32/64

    Unofficial daily builds are available.

  • winget

      winget install "The Silver Searcher"


    • This installs a release of ag.exe optimized for Windows.
    • winget is intended to become the default package manager client for Windows.
      As of June 2020, it's still in beta, and can be installed using instructions there.
    • The setup script in the Ag's winget package installs ag.exe in the first directory that matches one of these criteria:
      1. Over a previous instance of ag.exe from the same origin found in the PATH
      2. In the directory defined in environment variable bindir_%PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE%
      3. In the directory defined in environment variable bindir
      4. In the directory defined in environment variable windir
  • Chocolatey

      choco install ag
  • MSYS2

      pacman -S mingw-w64-{i686,x86_64}-ag
  • Cygwin

    Run the relevant setup-*.exe, and select "the_silver_searcher" in the "Utils" category.

Building from source

Building master

  1. Install dependencies (Automake, pkg-config, PCRE, LZMA):

    • macOS:

        brew install automake pkg-config pcre xz


        port install automake pkgconfig pcre xz
    • Ubuntu/Debian:

        apt-get install -y automake pkg-config libpcre3-dev zlib1g-dev liblzma-dev
    • Fedora:

        yum -y install pkgconfig automake gcc zlib-devel pcre-devel xz-devel
    • CentOS:

        yum -y groupinstall "Development Tools"
        yum -y install pcre-devel xz-devel zlib-devel
    • openSUSE:

        zypper source-install --build-deps-only the_silver_searcher
    • Windows: It's complicated. See this wiki page.

  2. Run the build script (which just runs aclocal, automake, etc):


    On Windows (inside an msys/MinGW shell):

     make -f Makefile.w32
  3. Make install:

     sudo make install

Building a release tarball

GPG-signed releases are available here.

Building release tarballs requires the same dependencies, except for automake and pkg-config. Once you've installed the dependencies, just run:

make install

You may need to use sudo or run as root for the make install.

Editor Integration


You can use Ag with ack.vim by adding the following line to your .vimrc:

let g:ackprg = 'ag --nogroup --nocolor --column'


let g:ackprg = 'ag --vimgrep'

Which has the same effect but will report every match on the line.


You can use ag.el as an Emacs front-end to Ag. See also: helm-ag.


TextMate users can use Ag with my fork of the popular AckMate plugin, which lets you use both Ack and Ag for searching. If you already have AckMate you just want to replace Ack with Ag, move or delete "~/Library/Application Support/TextMate/PlugIns/AckMate.tmplugin/Contents/Resources/ackmate_ack" and run ln -s /usr/local/bin/ag "~/Library/Application Support/TextMate/PlugIns/AckMate.tmplugin/Contents/Resources/ackmate_ack"

Other stuff you might like

  • Ack - Better than grep. Without Ack, Ag would not exist.
  • ack.vim
  • Exuberant Ctags - Faster than Ag, but it builds an index beforehand. Good for really big codebases.
  • Git-grep - As fast as Ag but only works on git repos.
  • fzf - A command-line fuzzy finder
  • ripgrep
  • Sack - A utility that wraps Ack and Ag. It removes a lot of repetition from searching and opening matching files.