DOCKER(1)                                               Docker User Manuals                                               DOCKER(1)

       docker-container-cp - Copy files/folders between a container and the local filesystem


       The  docker  container  cp utility copies the contents of SRC_PATH to the DEST_PATH.  You can copy from the container's file
       system to the local machine or the reverse, from the local filesystem to the container. If - is  specified  for  either  the
       SRC_PATH  or DEST_PATH, you can also stream a tar archive from STDIN or to STDOUT. The CONTAINER can be a running or stopped
       container.  The SRC_PATH or DEST_PATH can be a file or directory.

       The docker container cp command assumes container paths are relative to the container's / (root) directory. This means  sup‐
       plying  the  initial  forward  slash  is optional; The command sees compassionate_darwin:/tmp/foo/myfile.txt and compassion‐
       ate_darwin:tmp/foo/myfile.txt as identical. Local machine paths can be an absolute or relative value. The command interprets
       a local machine's relative paths as relative to the current working directory where docker container cp is run.

       The  cp command behaves like the Unix cp -a command in that directories are copied recursively with permissions preserved if
       possible. Ownership is set to the user and primary group at the destination. For example, files copied to  a  container  are
       created  with UID:GID of the root user. Files copied to the local machine are created with the UID:GID of the user which in‐
       voked the docker container cp command.  If you specify the -L option, docker container cp follows any symbolic link  in  the
       SRC_PATH. docker container cp does not create parent directories for DEST_PATH if they do not exist.

       Assuming a path separator of /, a first argument of SRC_PATH and second argument of DEST_PATH, the behavior is as follows:

              • SRC_PATH specifies a file

                • DEST_PATH does not exist

                  • the file is saved to a file created at DEST_PATH

                • DEST_PATH does not exist and ends with /

                  • Error condition: the destination directory must exist.

                • DEST_PATH exists and is a file

                  • the destination is overwritten with the source file's contents

                • DEST_PATH exists and is a directory

                  • the file is copied into this directory using the basename from SRC_PATH

              • SRC_PATH specifies a directory

                • DEST_PATH does not exist

                  • DEST_PATH is created as a directory and the contents of the source directory are copied into this directory

                • DEST_PATH exists and is a file

                  • Error condition: cannot copy a directory to a file

                • DEST_PATH exists and is a directory

                  • SRC_PATH does not end with /. (that is: slash followed by dot)

                    • the source directory is copied into this directory

                  • SRC_PATH does end with /. (that is: slash followed by dot)

                    • the content of the source directory is copied into this directory

       The  command  requires  SRC_PATH and DEST_PATH to exist according to the above rules. If SRC_PATH is local and is a symbolic
       link, the symbolic link, not the target, is copied by default. To copy the link target and not the link, specify the -L  op‐

       A colon (:) is used as a delimiter between CONTAINER and its path. You can also use : when specifying paths to a SRC_PATH or
       DEST_PATH on a local machine, for example  file:name.txt. If you use a : in a local machine path, you must be explicit  with
       a relative or absolute path, for example:

              `/path/to/file:name.txt` or `./file:name.txt`

       It  is not possible to copy certain system files such as resources under /proc, /sys, /dev, tmpfs, and mounts created by the
       user in the container.  However, you can still copy such files by manually running tar in docker exec.   For  example  (con‐
       sider SRC_PATH and DEST_PATH are directories):

              $ docker exec foo tar Ccf $(dirname SRC_PATH) - $(basename SRC_PATH) | tar Cxf DEST_PATH -


              $ tar Ccf $(dirname SRC_PATH) - $(basename SRC_PATH) | docker exec -i foo tar Cxf DEST_PATH -

       Using  - as the SRC_PATH streams the contents of STDIN as a tar archive.  The command extracts the content of the tar to the
       DEST_PATH in container's filesystem. In this case, DEST_PATH must specify a directory. Using - as the DEST_PATH streams  the
       contents of the resource as a tar archive to STDOUT.

       Suppose  a container has finished producing some output as a file it saves to somewhere in its filesystem. This could be the
       output of a build job or some other computation. You can copy these outputs from the container to a location on  your  local

       If  you  want to copy the /tmp/foo directory from a container to the existing /tmp directory on your host. If you run docker
       container cp in your ~ (home) directory on the local host:

              $ docker container cp compassionate_darwin:tmp/foo /tmp

       Docker creates a /tmp/foo directory on your host. Alternatively, you can omit the leading slash in the command. If you  exe‐
       cute this command from your home directory:

              $ docker container cp compassionate_darwin:tmp/foo tmp

       If ~/tmp does not exist, Docker will create it and copy the contents of /tmp/foo from the container into this new directory.
       If ~/tmp already exists as a directory, then Docker will copy the contents of /tmp/foo from the container into  a  directory
       at ~/tmp/foo.

       When  copying  a single file to an existing LOCALPATH, the docker container cp command will either overwrite the contents of
       LOCALPATH if it is a file or place it into LOCALPATH if it is a directory, overwriting an existing file of the same name  if
       one exists. For example, this command:

              $ docker container cp sharp_ptolemy:/tmp/foo/myfile.txt /test

       If /test does not exist on the local machine, it will be created as a file with the contents of /tmp/foo/myfile.txt from the
       container. If /test exists as a file, it will be overwritten. Lastly, if /test exists as  a  directory,  the  file  will  be
       copied to /test/myfile.txt.

       Next,  suppose  you  want to copy a file or folder into a container. For example, this could be a configuration file or some
       other input to a long running computation that you would like to place into a created container before it  starts.  This  is
       useful because it does not require the configuration file or other input to exist in the container image.

       If  you have a file, config.yml, in the current directory on your local host and wish to copy it to an existing directory at
       /etc/my-app.d in a container, this command can be used:

              $ docker container cp config.yml myappcontainer:/etc/my-app.d

       If you have several files in a local directory /config which you need to copy to a directory /etc/my-app.d in a container:

              $ docker container cp /config/. myappcontainer:/etc/my-app.d

       The above command will copy the contents of the local /config directory into the directory /etc/my-app.d in the container.

       Finally, if you want to copy a symbolic link into a container, you typically want to  copy the linked  target  and  not  the
       link itself. To copy the target, use the -L option, for example:

              $ ln -s /tmp/somefile /tmp/somefile.ln
              $ docker container cp -L /tmp/somefile.ln myappcontainer:/tmp/

       This  command  copies content of the local /tmp/somefile into the file /tmp/somefile.ln in the container. Without -L option,
       the /tmp/somefile.ln preserves its symbolic link but not its content.

       -a, --archive[=false]      Archive mode (copy all uid/gid information)

       -L, --follow-link[=false]      Always follow symbol link in SRC_PATH

       -h, --help[=false]      help for cp

       -q, --quiet[=false]      Suppress progress output during copy. Progress output is automatically suppressed if no terminal is


Docker Community                                              Sep 2023                                                    DOCKER(1)