GNU Recutils

GNU Recutils is a set of tools and libraries to access human-editable, plain text databases called recfiles. The data is stored as a sequence of records, each record containing an arbitrary number of named fields. The picture below shows a sample database containing information about GNU packages, along with the main features provided by Recutils.

  • A video with a talk introducing the program can be found here.
  • An older video, which was recorded just before releasing the first version, can be downloaded from here
  • Some of the people involved in GNU Recutils hang out in the #recutils channel on the IRC network. You are more than welcome to join.
 [Recutils Screenshot]


Data Integrity
  • Mandatory and forbidden fields.
  • Unique fields and primary keys.
  • Auto-counters and time-stamps.
  • Arbitrary constraints.
Rich Type System for Fields
  • Predefined: integer, real, date, etc.
  • User-defined: based on regular expressions.
Advanced database facilities
  • Joins and foreign keys.
  • Grouping and sorting.
  • Aggregate functions.
Encryption Support
  • Selective: individual fields can be encrypted.
  • Password-based AES.
Converters from/to other formats
  • mdb files to recfiles.
  • csv files to/from recfiles.
Vim syntax highlight for recfiles
Advanced Emacs mode
  • Navigation mode and editing mode.
  • Field folding.
  • Visual edition of fields driven by types.
  • User manual.
Integration with org-mode
  • Read data from recfiles into a table in an org-mode buffer in Emacs.
  • Publish the resulting data.
  • Generate reports.
  • Build your own exporters.
Complete user manual
  • Full description of the format.
  • Documentation for the utilities.
  • Usage examples.
Easy deployment
  • C library: librec
  • Rich set of utilities to be used in shell scripts and in the command line.

Do you like this program?

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Downloading Recutils

Sources Distribution

Recutils can be found on the main GNU ftp server (download Recutils via HTTPSdownload Recutils via HTTP or download Recutils via FTP), and its mirrors; please use a mirror if possible.

The rec-mode Emacs mode is distributed in ELPA.

Binary Packages

Additionally there are binary packages for some distributions:

If you know of some other binary distribution of GNU Recutils, please get in touch with the maintainer.


Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.

Documentation for Recutils is available online, as is documentation for most GNU software. You can find more information about Recutils by running info recutils or by looking at /usr/doc/recutils/, or similar directories on your system.

Mailing lists

Recutils has two mailing lists:

  • bug-recutils for discussing most aspects of Recutils, including development and enhancement requests, as well as bug reports;
  • help-recutils for general user help and discussion.

Announcements about Recutils and most other GNU software are made on the info-gnu mailing list (archives).

Getting involved

Development of Recutils, and GNU in general, is a volunteer effort, and you can contribute. For information, please read How to help GNU. If you'd like to get involved, it's a good idea to join the discussion mailing list (see above).

Test releases
Trying the latest test release (when available) is always appreciated. Test releases can be found on the GNU “alpha” server (via HTTPSHTTP or FTP), and its mirrors.
For development sources, and other information, please see the Recutils project page at

Please send bug reports and patches to <>.

Translating Recutils
To translate Recutils's messages into other languages, please see the Translation Project page for Recutils. If you have a new translation of the message strings, or updates to the existing strings, please have the changes made in this repository. Only translations from this site will be incorporated into Recutils. For more information, see the Translation Project home page.
Recutils is currently being maintained by Jose E. Marchesi. Please use the mailing lists for contact.


Recutils is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.