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systemd-escape - Escape strings for usage in systemd unit names


systemd-escape [OPTIONS...] [STRING...]


systemd-escape may be used to escape strings for inclusion in systemd unit names. The command may be used to escape and to undo escaping of strings.

The command takes any number of strings on the command line, and will process them individually, one after another. It will output them separated by spaces to stdout.

By default, this command will escape the strings passed, unless --unescape is passed which results in the inverse operation being applied. If --mangle is given, a special mode of escaping is applied instead, which assumes the string is already escaped but will escape everything that appears obviously non-escaped.

For details on the escaping and unescaping algorithms see the relevant section in systemd.unit(5).


The following options are understood:


Appends the specified unit type suffix to the escaped string. Takes one of the unit types supported by systemd, such as "service" or "mount". May not be used in conjunction with --template=, --unescape or --mangle.


Inserts the escaped strings in a unit name template. Takes a unit name template such as foobar@.service. With --unescape, expects instantiated unit names for this template and extracts and unescapes just the instance part. May not be used in conjunction with --suffix=, --instance or --mangle.

--path, -p

When escaping or unescaping a string, assume it refers to a file system path. This eliminates leading, trailing or duplicate "/" characters and rejects "." and ".." path components. This is particularly useful for generating strings suitable for unescaping with the "%f" specifier in unit files, see systemd.unit(5).

--unescape, -u

Instead of escaping the specified strings, undo the escaping, reversing the operation. May not be used in conjunction with --suffix= or --mangle.

--mangle, -m

Like --escape, but only escape characters that are obviously not escaped yet, and possibly automatically append an appropriate unit type suffix to the string. May not be used in conjunction with --suffix=, --template= or --unescape.


With --unescape, unescape and print only the instance part of an instantiated unit name template. Results in an error for an uninstantiated template like ssh@.service or a non-template name like ssh.service. Must be used in conjunction with --unescape and may not be used in conjunction with --template.

-h, --help

Print a short help text and exit.


Print a short version string and exit.


To escape a single string:

$ systemd-escape 'Hallöchen, Meister'

To undo escaping on a single string:

$ systemd-escape -u 'Hall\xc3\xb6chen\x2c\x20Meister'
Hallöchen, Meister

To generate the mount unit for a path:

$ systemd-escape -p --suffix=mount "/tmp//waldi/foobar/"

To generate instance names of three strings:

$ systemd-escape --template=systemd-nspawn@.service 'My Container 1' 'containerb' 'container/III'
systemd-nspawn@My\x20Container\x201.service systemd-nspawn@containerb.service systemd-nspawn@container-III.service

To extract the instance part of an instantiated unit:

$ systemd-escape -u --instance 'systemd-nspawn@My\x20Container\x201.service'
My Container 1

To extract the instance part of an instance of a particular template:

$ systemd-escape -u --template=systemd-nspawn@.service 'systemd-nspawn@My\x20Container\x201.service'
My Container 1


On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.


systemd(1), systemd.unit(5), systemctl(1)

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