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Format strings for command output


ProductCommand type
ClearCasegeneral information
ClearCase LTgeneral information



  • –fmt option syntax (used in various reporting commands: annotate, describe, lshistory, lscheckout, and so on):
    –fmt "format-string"
    format-string is a character string, composed of alphanumeric characters, conversion specifications, and escape sequences. It must be enclosed in double quotes ( " ).

Conversion specifications:
%a Attributes (modifiers: N, S, [attr-name])
%c Comment string (modifiers: N)
%d Date (modifiers: S, V, N, A, MA, BA, OA)
%e Event description
%f Checked-out version information (modifiers: R, T, [text])
%h Host name
%i Indent level (modifier: [indent-level])
%l Labels (modifiers: C, N)
%m Object kind (version, derived object, and so on) (modifiers: K)
%n Name of object (modifiers: D, E, L, O, S, PS, PV, V, X)
%o Operation kind (checkin, lock, mkelem, and so on)
%p Property value (modifiers: [property], C, D, O, S, T)
%[c]t Starting column number (modifiers: N, S, T)
%u User/group information associated with the object's creation event (modifiers: F, G, L); see also %[owner]p and %[group]p.
%% % character
Escape sequences:
\n <NL>
\t <TAB>
\' Single quote
\\ Literal (uninterpreted) backslash
\nnn Character specified by octal code


Many ClearCase and ClearCase LT commands read information from a VOB database, format the data, and send it to standard output. (In most cases, the information is stored in event records, written by the command when it creates or modifies an object in a VOB. See the events_ccase reference page.) Some of these commands have a –fmt option, which you can use to format simple reports on VOB contents. Note that –fmt is a mutually exclusive alternative to the –short and –long options.

The following example shows how output-formatting options affect an lshistory command.

cmd-context lshistory -since 1-Feb util.c
10-Feb.11:21 anne create version "util.c@@/main/rel2_bugfix/1"
 "fix bug: extra NL in time string"
10-Feb.11:21 anne create version "util.c@@/main/rel2_bugfix/0"
10-Feb.11:21 anne create branch "util.c@@/main/rel2_bugfix"

cmd-context lshistory -short -since 1-Feb util.c

cmd-context lshistory -fmt "\tElement: %-13.13En Version: %Vn\n" -since 1-Feb util.c
Element: util.c Version: /main/rel2_bugfix/1
Element: util.c Version: /main/rel2_bugfix/0
Element: util.c Version: /main/rel2_bugfix 

(A \t escape sequence tabs output to the next tab stop. Tab stops occur at eight-character intervals, except as described in the annotate reference page.)

Note: In commands that output data on multiple versions, such as lshistory and lsvtree, formatting is applied to each version, not to the command output as a whole.


A conversion specification identifies a particular data item to display and specifies its display format.


%[ min ][.max ][ MODIFIER [, ... ] ]keyletter

The conversion specification format closely resembles that of the C-language function printf():

  • Percent sign (%)
  • Optionally, a minimum and/or maximum field display width specifier, of the form min.max (see “Specifying Field Width”.
  • Optionally (for some conversion specs), one or more modifier characters (uppercase) that specify one or more variants and/or a bracket-enclosed parameter (see the %a conversion specification)
  • A key letter (lowercase), which indicates the kind of data to display

Unlike printf() specifiers, conversion specifications are not replaced by arguments supplied elsewhere on the command line; they are replaced automatically by cleartool, usually with field values extracted from event records.

These are the conversion specifications:

All attached attributes. Attributes are listed as attr-name=value pairs. These pairs are enclosed in parentheses and separated by a comma-space combination (,SPACE). Variants:
%Na No commas. Suppress the parentheses and commas in attribute list output; separate multiple attributes with spaces only.
%Sa Value only. Display attribute values only (rather than attr=value)
%[attype]a This attribute only. Display only the specified attribute, if it has been attached to the object
Comment string. The user-supplied or system-generated comment stored in an event record. A newline character is appended to the comment string for display purposes only. Variant:
%Nc No newline. Do not append a newline character to the comment string.
Date/Time. The time stamp of the operation or event, in date.time format. Variants:
%Sd (Short) Date only.
%Vd (Very long) Day of week, date, and time.
%Nd (Numeric) Date and time in numeric form — yyyymmdd.time (time reported in 24-hour format).
%Ad Age in days.
%MAd Age in months.
%BAd Age as a bar graph (longer bars for more recent events). A bar graph is drawn as a sequence of 0-5 number signs (#), representing the elapsed time since the reported operation as follows:
##### Less than a week
#### Less than a month
### Less than three months
## Less than six months
# Less than a year
 More than a year
%OAd Age as a bar graph (longer bars for older events). A bar graph is drawn as a sequence of 0-5 number signs (#), representing the elapsed time since the reported operation as follows:
##### More than a year
#### Less than a year
### Less than six months
## Less than three months
# Less than a month
 Less than a week
Event kind; a brief description of the event. The event kind is derived from an event record's name, object kind, and operation kind fields. Sample event kinds:

create version
create branch
make hyperlink "Merge" on version
make label "REL2" on version
lock branch type

Checked-out version information — For an element checked out to your view, the version ID of the checked-out element; for an element that is not checked out to your view, displays nothing. Variants:
%Rf Checkout status — reserved or unreserved.
%Tf View tag — the view tag of the view that checked out the element.
%[text]f Text — Displays text as a prefix to the version ID.
Name of the host where the event originated (the host on which the user %u was running that user caused the event). The host name is as reported by uname(2) (UNIX) or as stored in the ComputerName key in the Windows Registry (Windows).

For a VOB replica, %h displays the name of the host at which the mkreplica –export command that created the replica was entered. For the original replica in a family, this is the host where the original VOB was located when the first mkreplica –export command was entered.

Labels — For versions, all attached labels; the null string otherwise. Labels are output as a comma-separated list, enclosed in parentheses. A <SPACE> character follows each comma. Variants:
%Cl Max labels — Specify the maximum number of labels to display with the max-field-width parameter (see “Specifying Field Width”. If there are more labels, "..." is appended to the output. If no max-field-width is specified, the maximum default value is 3.
%Nl No commas — Suppress the parentheses and commas in label list output; separate labels with spaces only.
Object kind — The kind of object involved in the operation. For example:

derived object
branch type
label type

%Km Object selector kind — For example, brtype or lbtype. For more information about object selectors, see the cleartool reference page.
Name of object — For a file system object, the extended pathname (including the version ID for versions, and the DO ID for derived objects); for a type object, its name. Variants:
%Dn Database identifier (DBID) — The unique database identifier of the object.
%En Element name — For a file system object, its standard file or element name, or its pathname; for a type object, its name.
%Ln Leaf name — For any named object, its simple name. The terminal node of a pathname. This modifier can be combined with others.
%On Object identifier (OID) — The unique identifier of a VOB object.
%Sn Short name — For a version, a short form of the version ID: branch-pathname/version-number. For other objects, the null string.
%PSn Predecessor Short name — For a version, a short form of the predecessor version's version ID: branch-pathname/version-number. For other objects, the null string.
%Vn Version ID — For a version or derived object, the version ID; for other objects, the null string.
%PVn Predecessor Version ID — For a version, the predecessor version's version ID; for other objects, the null string.
%Xn Extended name — Same as default

%n output, but for checked-out versions, append the extension @@\branch-pathname\CHECKEDOUT. For non-file-system objects, prints the object selector. For more information about object selectors, see the cleartool reference page.

Operation kind — The operation that caused the event to take place; commonly, the name of a cleartool subcommand. For example:


See the events_ccase reference page for a complete list of operations and the commands that cause them.

Property value — Displays the value of the property specified in square brackets. The following tables list variants and the objects to which they apply. For ClearCase and ClearCase LT variants, see Table 4. For UCM variants, see Table 5. For MultiSite variants, see Table 6.

Table 4. Variants for ClearCase and ClearCase LT Objects

VariantApplies toDescription
%[name]p All objectsSame as %n, including variants.
%[object_kind]p All objectsKind of object. For example: version, file element, directory element, versioned object base, replica, branch type, and so on.
%[locked]p All objects that can be lockedLock status of the object: locked, unlocked, or obsolete.
%[activity]pVersionsActivity whose change set contains the specified version.
%[version_predecessor]p VersionsVersion ID (branch pathname and version number) of the version's predecessor version.
%[type]p Versions, elementsName of version or element's element type (see type_manager for a list of element types); not to be confused with the object kind (for which the conversion specification is %m).
%[triggers]p ElementsList of trigger types attached to element. Does not list all-element triggers. The list is displayed in the following format:

(trtype, trtype, trtype, ...)

%[triggers]Np ElementsSuppresses parentheses and commas.
%[pool]p Elements, shared derived objectsFor an element, name of source pool. For a shared DO, name of DO pool.
%[pool]Cp Elements Name of cleartext pool.
%[pool]Dp Shared derived objects Name of derived object pool.
%[pool]Sp Elements Name of source pool.
%[DO_kind]p Derived objectsKind of derived object: shared, unshared, non-shareable.
%[DO_ref_count]p Derived objectsReference count for derived object.
%[slink_text]p VOB symbolic linksTarget of symbolic link, as displayed by cleartool ls.
%[slink_text]Tp VOB symbolic linksTarget of symbolic link, after link is traversed.
%[type_scope]p Metadata object typesObject type's scope.

ordinary means that use of the type is limited to the current (or specified) VOB.

global means that the VOB is an administrative VOB and the type can be used in any client VOB of the administrative VOB or in any client VOB of a lower-level administrative VOB within an administrative VOB hierarchy.

local copy means that the type has been copied to the VOB from the administrative VOB that contains the master version of the type's definition.

%[type_constraint]p Branch types, label typesConstraint on type object: one version per element or one version per branch.
%[trigger_kind]p Trigger typesKind of trigger type: element trigger, all element trigger, type trigger.
%[msdostext_mode]p VOBsState of MS-DOS text mode setting for VOB: enabled or disabled.
%[group]p Group name.
%[owner]p (Windows only) Login name of the object's current owner.
%[owner]Fp (UNIX only) Login name of the objects‘ current owner. The optional F argument lists the owner's full name.

The variants in Table 5 apply only to UCM objects.

Table 5. Variants for UCM Objects

VariantApplies toDescription
%[contrib_acts]pUCM activitiesSpace-separated list of activities that contributed to the change set of an integration activity
%[crm_record_id]pUCM activitiesThe ClearQuest record ID
%[crm_record_type]pUCM activitiesThe ClearQuest record type
%[headline]pUCM activitiesThe activity's headline
%[name_resolver_view]pUCM activitiesA “best guess” view for resolving the names of versions in a change set
%[stream]p UCM activitiesThe stream that contains the activity
%[versions]p UCM activitiesSpace-separated list of versions in activity's change set
%[versions]CpUCM activitiesSeparate items in list with comma and space
%[view]pUCM activitiesThe view that the activity is set in
%[activities]XpUCM baselinesThe baseline's activities
%[bl_stream]pUCM baselinesThe stream in which the baseline is created
%[component]p UCM baselinesThe component associated with the baseline
%[depends_on]pUCM baselinesThe baselines that the composite baseline directly depends on
%[depends_on_closure]pUCM baselinesAll of the baselines in the full dependence graph of a composite baseline
%[member_of]pUCM baselinesThe composite baselines of which the baseline is a direct member
%[member_of_closure]pUCM baselinesAll composite baselines of which the baseline is a direct or indirect member
%[label_status]pUCM baselines The label status of a baseline: full, incremental, or unlabeled
%[plevel]pUCM baselinesThe baseline's promotion level
%[initial_bl]XpUCM componentsInitial baseline of the component
%[root_dir]p UCM componentsThe root directory for the component
%[contains_folders]pUCM foldersSubfolders of the folder
%[contains_projects]pUCM foldersProjects contained by the folder
%[folder]pUCM folders The parent folder for the folder
%[crm_database]pUCM projectsThe name of the ClearQuest database
%[def_rebase_level]pUCM projectsThe promotion level required of a baseline before it can be used as the source of a rebase operation
%[dstreams]pUCM projectsThe project development streams
%[folder]pUCM projectsThe parent folder for the project
%[istream]pUCM projectsThe project integration stream
%[mod_comps]pUCM projectsThe modifiable components for a project
%[model]pUCM projectsThe project's model
%[rec_bls]pUCM projectsThe recommended baselines of a project's integration stream
%[plevels]UCM PVOBsThe promotion levels defined by the PVOB
%[activities]pUCM streamsActivities that are part of the stream
%[config_spec]p UCM streamsConfig spec of object
%[def_deliver_tgt]UCM streamsThe default stream that the stream will deliver to
%[dstreams]pUCM streamsThe child streams of an integration stream or a development stream
%[found_bls]pUCM streamsThe foundation baselines for the stream
%[latest_bls]pUCM streamsLatest baseline in each component in a stream's configuration
%[project]pUCM streamsThe project the stream is part of
%[read_only]pUCM streamsBoolean indicating whether the stream is read-only
%[rec_bls]pUCM streamsThe recommended baselines of an integration stream or a parent development stream
%[views]pUCM streamsViews attached to the stream

The variants in Table 6 apply only to objects in replicated VOBs (ClearCase MultiSite product).

Table 6. Variants for Replicated Objects

VariantApplies toDescription
%[master]p All objects that have mastershipName of object's master replica
%[master]Op All objects that have mastershipOID of object's master replica
%[reqmaster]p Replicas, branch types, branchesRequest for mastership status of the object.

For a replica:

disabled means that requests for mastership are not enabled in the replica.

enabled means that requests for mastership are enabled in the replica.

For a branch type:

denied for all instances means that requests for mastership of any instance of the branch type are denied.

allowed for all instances means that requests for mastership of any instance of the branch type are allowed (unless mastership requests for the specific branch are denied).

denied for branch type means that requests for mastership of the branch type are denied .

allowed for branch type means that requests for mastership of the branch type are denied.

For a branch:

denied means that requests for mastership of the branch are denied.

allowed means that requests for mastership of the branch are allowed.

%[type_mastership]p Attribute types, hyperlink types, label typesKind of mastership of the type: shared or unshared.
%[replica_name]p VOBsReplica name of the specified VOB.
%[vob_replication]p VOBsReplication status of VOB: replicated or unreplicated.
%[replica_host]p ReplicasName of replica host.
Starting column number — Starts printing at the column number specified in square brackets. An overflow condition exists if the current position on the line is beyond the starting column number. By default, when an overflow condition occurs, the %t directive is ignored. Variants:
%[c]NtWhen an overflow condition occurs, print a newline and resume printing at the starting column number.
%[c]StWhen an overflow condition occurs, print one space before printing the next value.
%[c]TtWhen an overflow condition occurs, print a tab before printing the next value.
Login name of the user associated with the event. Variants:
%Fu Full name of the user. This information is taken from the password database.
%Gu Group name of the user.
%Lu Login name and group of the user, in the form user.group.
Percent character (%).

Specifying Field Width

A conversion specification can include an optional field width specifier, which assigns a minimum and/or maximum width, in characters, to the data field display. For example, the conversion specifier %10.15Lu will display, for each output line, the user's login name and group with a minimum of 10 characters (space padded if necessary) but not more than 15.

Usage rules:

  • A single number is interpreted as a minimum width.
  • To supply only a maximum width, put a decimal point before the number (for example, %.10En) or a zero and decimal point (%0.10En).
  • To specify a constant display width, set the minimum and maximum widths to the same value (%20.20c).
  • Values smaller than the specified minimum width are aligned on the right (padded left). A negative minimum width value (%–20.20c) aligns short values on the left.
  • Values longer than the specified maximum width are truncated from the right. A negative maximum width value (%15.–15Sn) truncates long values from the left.
  • A maximum width specifier has special meaning when used with the %Cl specifier. For example, %.5Cl prints a version's first five labels only, followed by "...".


The UNIX examples in this section are written for use in csh. If you use another shell, you may need to use different quoting and escaping conventions.

The Windows examples that include wildcards or quoting are written for use in cleartool interactive mode. If you use cleartool single-command mode, you may need to change the wildcards and quoting to make your command interpreter process the command appropriately.

In cleartool single-command mode, cmd-context represents the UNIX shell or Windows command interpreter prompt, followed by the cleartool command. In cleartool interactive mode, cmd-context represents the interactive cleartool prompt.

Note: In the UNIX examples that follow, arguments and output that show multicomponent VOB tags are not applicable to ClearCase LT, which recognizes only single-component VOB tags. In this manual, a multicomponent VOB tag is by convention a two-component VOB tag of the form /vobs/vob-tag-leaf—for example, /vobs/src. A single-component VOB tag consists of a leaf only—for example, /src. In all other respects, the examples are valid for ClearCase LT.

  • Format the output from lsco –cview.

    cmd-context lsco -cview -fmt "\t%-10.10n (from %8.8PVn) %d %u\n" 
    util.c (from /main/23) 18-Feb-03.14:12:48 anne
    main.c (from /main/46) 18-Feb-03.18:42:33 anne
    msg.c (from /bugfix/11) 19-Feb-03.10:45:13 anne
    msg.h (from /bugfix/3) 19-Feb-03.14:51:55 anne

  • Format the event history of a file element. (The command line, including the quoted format string, constitutes a single input line. The input line below is broken to improve readability. Spaces are significant.)

    cmd-context lshistory -fmt "OBJ-NAME: %-20.20n\n USER: %-8.8u\n DATE: %d\\n
    OPERATION:\t%-12.12o\n OBJ-TYPE:\t%-15.15m\n EVENT:\t%e\n 
    COMMENT: %c\n" util.c
    OBJ-NAME: util.c@@/main/3
    USER: anne
     DATE: 10-May-99.09:24:38
     OPERATION: checkin
     OBJ-TYPE: version
     EVENT: create version
     COMMENT: fix bug r2-307

    OBJ-NAME: util.c@@/main/2
     USER: anne
     DATE: 10-May-99.09:09:29
     OPERATION: checkin
     OBJ-TYPE: version
     EVENT: create version
    COMMENT: ready for code review

  • Describe a checked-out element, util.c.

    cmd-context describe -fmt "\tVer:\t%f\n\tPrefix:\t%[MY TEXT]%f\n\t Status:\t%Rf\n\tView:\t%Tf\n" util.c
      Ver:    /main/23
      Prefix: MY TEXT/main/23
      Status: reserved
      View:   eba_view

  • Display the type of a file element.

    cmd-context describe -fmt "Type:  %[type]p\n"  util.c@@
    Type: text_file

  • Display the target of a symbolic link and the target after the link is traversed.

    cmd-context describe –fmt "%n\t%[slink_text]p\t%[slink_text]Tp\n" link1.txt 
    link1.txt     file.txt     ..\dev\file.txt

  • Display the master replica of all label types in a VOB replica.

    cmd-context lstype –fmt "Label type: %n\tMaster: %[master]p\n" –kind lbtype 
    Label type: BACKSTOP    Master: evanston@/vobs/tromba
    Label type: CHECKEDOUT  Master: evanston@/vobs/tromba
    Label type: LATEST      Master: evanston@/vobs/tromba
    Label type: V3.4        Master: paris@/vobs/tromba

  • Display the name of an element, using tabular format. The command is a single input line; line breaks are added for readability.

    cmd-context describe -fmt
    %[4]tName:%[6]Tt%[name]p\n" util.c
      Name: util.c@@\main\30
      Name:        util.c@@\main\30

  • Mimic the output from lshistory –long. Note the use of single quotes to enclose the format string, which includes literal double quotes.

    cleartool lshistory -fmt '%d      %Fu (%u@%h)\n  %e "%n"\n  "%Nc"\n'  util.c 
    11-May-99.09:24:38     Anne Duvo (anne@neptune)
      create version "util.c@@/main/3"
      "fix bug r2-307"
    10-May-99.09:09:29     Ravi Singha (ravi@mercury)
      create version "util.c@@/main/2"
      "ready for code review"

  • Mimic the output from lshistory –long. Note that in cleartool single-command mode, backslashes (\) are used to escape double quotes in the format string.

    cleartool lshistory -fmt "%d      %Fu (%u@%h)\n  %e \"%n\"\n  \"%Nc\"\n"  util.c 
    11-May-99.09:24:38     Anne Duvo (anne@neptune)
      create version "util.c@@\main\3"
      "fix bug r2-307"
    10-May-99.09:09:29     Ravi Singha (ravi@mercury)
      create version "util.c@@\main\2"
      "ready for code review"

  • Describe the element main.c in detail. This example illustrates many of the conversion specifications (but does not use field width specifiers). Again, the command is a single input line; line breaks are added for readability.

    cmd-context describe -fmt "Name (default): %n\n 
    Element name: %En\n
    Leaf name: %Ln\n
    Short name: %Sn\n
    Predecessor short name: %PSn\n
    Version ID: %Vn\n
    Predecessor version ID: %PVn\n
    Extended name: %Xn\n
    Attributes: %a\n
    Attr values only: %Sa\n
    Attrs without commas or parens: %Na\n
    This attr only: %[Tested]a\n
    Comment: %c
    Date/Time: \tdefault: %d\n
    \t\tshort: %Sd\n
    \t\tlong: %Vd\n
    Age in days: %Ad\n
    Age in months: %MAd\n
    Age graph (long = new): %BAd\n
    Age graph (long = old): %OAd\n
    Host: %h\n
    Labels: %Cl\n
    Labels without commas or parens: %Nl\n
    Object kind: %m\n
    Operation kind: %o\n
    Event kind: %e\n
    User (default): %u\n
    Full user name: %Fu\n
    Group name: %Gu\n
    Long name: %Lu\n\n" main.c

    Name (default): main.c@@/main/34
    Element name: main.c
    Leaf name: 34
    Short name: /main/34
    Predecessor short name: /main/33
    Version ID: /main/34
    Predecessor version ID: /main/33
    Extended name: main.c@@/main/34
    Attributes: (Tested="yes", QAlevel=4, Responsible="anne")
    Attr values only: ("yes", 4, "anne")
    Attrs without commas or parens: Tested="yes" 
    QAlevel=4 Responsible="anne"
    This attr only: (Tested="yes")
    Comment: still needs QA
    Date/Time: default: 30-Jul-99.15:02:49
     short: 30-Jul-99
     long: Tuesday 07/30/99 15:02:49
    Age in days: 42
    Age in months: 1
    Age graph (long = new): ####
    Age graph (long = old): ##
    Host: neptune
    Labels: (Rel3.1C, Rel3.1D, Rel3.1E)
    Labels without commas or parens: Rel3.1C Rel3.1D Rel3.1E
    Object kind: version
    Operation kind: checkin
    Event kind: create version
    User (default): anne
    Full user name: Anne Duvo
    Group name: dev
    Long name: anne.dev



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