Wildcard based extracting You can also extract those files that match a specific globbing pattern (wildcards). For example, to extract from cbz.tar all files that begin with pic, no matter their directory prefix, you could type: $ tar -xf cbz.tar --wildcards --no-anchored 'pic*' To extract all php files, enter: $ tar -xf cbz.tar --wildcards --no-anchored '*.php' Where, * -x: instructs tar to extract files. * -f: specifies filename / tarball name. * -v: Verbose (show progress while extracting files). * -j : filter archive through bzip2, use to decompress .bz2 files. * -z: filter archive through gzip, use to decompress .gz files. * --wildcards: instructs tar to treat command line arguments as globbing patterns. * --no-anchored: informs it that the patterns apply to member names after any / delimiter.