Managing Log Output

Buildkite uses our open-source terminal Golang library to provide you with the best possible terminal rendering experience for your build logs, including ANSI terminal emulation to ensure spinners, progress bars, colors and emojis are rendered beautifully.

Collapsing Output

You can group and collapse your build output by echoing --- [group name] in your build output.

echo "--- A section of the build"

If you want to have the group open by default, use +++ instead of ---:

echo "+++ A section of the build"

If you'd like to open the previously defined group, use ^^^ +++. This is useful if a command within a group fails, and you'd like to have the group already open when you view the log.

echo "--- Bundling"
if [[ $? -ne 0 ]]; then
  echo "^^^ +++"
  echo "Bundler failed, oh no!!"

You can even include colors and emojis!

echo -e "--- Running \033[33mspecs\033[0m :cow::bell:"
Screenshot of colored, emoji build output

Log output limits

If your build output exceeds 1MB then we'll only show the last 1MB of it in the rendered terminal output on your build page. In addition, your log file must not exceed 100MB else it may fail to upload.

If your log exceeds 1MB then we highly recommend reconfiguring your build tools to filter out unnecessary lines. Sometimes this isn't always possible, so you can use the below techniques to store and filter your log.

Storing the original log

One method for storing the original log is the Unix tee command. It allows you to store the output stream of a command to a file and passing it straight through unchanged to the next command.

set -euo pipefail

your_build_command | tee build.log | <filter command>

When this script is run it will store the original output of your_build_command to the file build.log.

To store this file alongside your build, add the artifact_path attribute to the command step running your script:

  - command:
    artifact_paths: "build.log"

When your build is finished the agent will upload build.log as a build artifact, which will be downloadable from the "Artifacts" tab on your build page.

Screenshot of build log available in the Artifacts tab

Filtering with grep

Grep is a Unix tool to help you filter lines of text that match a pattern. For example, the following script only sends Buildkite the matching lines as your log output, whilst storing the original log for artifact uploading.


set -euo pipefail

your_build_command | tee build.log | grep 'some pattern'

Truncating with tail

Tail is a Unix tool that returns the last portion of a file. This is useful if your log output is exceeding our hard limit of 100MB. For example, the following script only sends Buildkite the last 90MB as your output log, whilst storing the original log for artifact uploading.


set -euo pipefail

your_build_command | tee build.log | tail -c90000000

Improving Xcode logs with xcpretty

xcpretty is an open-source tool that helps to reduce, format and color-code your Xcode build output. Once you’ve installed xcpretty you can pipe the output of xcodebuild into it:


set -euo pipefail

xcodebuild <build options> | tee -a build.log | xcpretty -c

Make sure to set the -o pipefail option in your buildscript as above, otherwise the build failure status might not be passed through correctly.

Screenshot of xcpretty output