-F <format>, --display-format <format>
Specify the format which should be used to display output from the search and version commands. For
instance, passing “%p%V%v” for <format> will display a package's name, followed by its currently
installed version and its available version (see the section “Customizing how packages are displayed”
in the aptitude reference manual for more information).
The command-line option --disable-columns is often useful in combination with -F.
For search, this corresponds to the configuration option Aptitude::CmdLine::Package-Display-Format;
for versions, this corresponds to the configuration option Aptitude::CmdLine::Version-Display-Format.
In the example above, “aptitudesearch'~N'edit” has two arguments after search and thus is
searching for two patterns: “~N” and “edit”. As described in the search pattern reference, a
single pattern composed of two sub-patterns separated by a space (such as “~Nedit”) matches only
if both patterns match. Thus, the command “aptitudesearch'~Nedit'” will only show “new”
packages whose name contains “edit”.
Unless you pass the -F option, the output of aptitudesearch will look something like this:
For a complete list of the possible state and action flags, see the section “Accessing Package
Information” in the aptitude reference guide. To customize the output of search, see the command-line
options -F and --sort.
In addition to the above options, the information printed for each version can be controlled by the
command-line option -F. The order in which versions are displayed can be controlled by the
command-line option --sort. To prevent aptitude from formatting the output into columns, use
This option causes aptitudesearch and aptitudeversion to output their results without any special
formatting. In particular: normally aptitude will add whitespace or truncate search results in an
attempt to fit its results into vertical “columns”. With this flag, each line will be formed by
replacing any format escapes in the format string with the corresponding text; column widths will be
For instance, the first few lines of output from “aptitudesearch-F'%p%V'--disable-columnslibedataserver” might be:
As in the above example, --disable-columns is often useful in combination with a custom display
format set using the command-line option -F.
This corresponds to the configuration option Aptitude::CmdLine::Disable-Columns.