dadigang / fq

jq for binary formats

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Tool, language and decoders for working with binary data.

fq demo

fq is inspired by the well known jq tool and language and allows you to work with binary formats the same way you would using jq. In addition it can also present data similar to a hex viewer, transform, slice and concatenate binary data, supports nested formats and has an interactive REPL with auto-completion.

It was originally designed to query, inspect and debug codecs and metadata in media files and containers like mp4, flac, mp3, jpeg. But has since been extended to support a variety of formats like executables, packet captures including TCP reassembly and serialization formats like ASN1 BER, Avro, CBOR, protobuf and a lot more.

In summary it aims to be something like jq, hexdump, dd and gdb combined into one.

NOTE: fq is still early in development so things might change, be broken or do not make sense. That also means that there is a great opportunity to help out!


The "f" in fq originate from file(1) and format in FFmpeg terminology. I pronounce jq /‘dʒei’kju:/ so I usually pronounce fq /‘ef’kju:/.


  • Make binaries accessible, queryable and sliceable.
  • Nested formats and bit-oriented decoding.
  • Quick and comfortable CLI tool.
  • Bits and bytes transformations.


  • Make it useful enough that people want to help improve it.
  • Inspire people to create similar tools.

Supported formats

aac_frame, adts, adts_frame, amf0, apev2, ar, asn1_ber, av1_ccr, av1_frame, av1_obu, avc_annexb, avc_au, avc_dcr, avc_nalu, avc_pps, avc_sei, avc_sps, avro_ocf, bencode, bsd_loopback_frame, bson, bzip2, cbor, dns, dns_tcp, elf, ether8023_frame, exif, flac, flac_frame, flac_metadatablock, flac_metadatablocks, flac_picture, flac_streaminfo, gif, gzip, hevc_annexb, hevc_au, hevc_dcr, hevc_nalu, hevc_pps, hevc_sps, hevc_vps, icc_profile, icmp, icmpv6, id3v1, id3v11, id3v2, ipv4_packet, ipv6_packet, jpeg, json, macho, matroska, mp3, mp3_frame, mp4, mpeg_asc, mpeg_es, mpeg_pes, mpeg_pes_packet, mpeg_spu, mpeg_ts, msgpack, ogg, ogg_page, opus_packet, pcap, pcapng, png, protobuf, protobuf_widevine, pssh_playready, raw, rtmp, sll2_packet, sll_packet, tar, tcp_segment, tiff, udp_datagram, vorbis_comment, vorbis_packet, vp8_frame, vp9_cfm, vp9_frame, vpx_ccr, wav, webp, xing, zip

For details see


Basic usage is fq . file.

For details see



Use one of the methods listed below or download release for your platform. Unarchive it and move the executable to PATH etc.

On macOS if you don't install using a method below you might have to manually allow the binary to run. This can be done by trying to run the binary, ignore the warning and then go into security preference and allow it. Or you can run this command:

xattr -d fq && spctl --add fq


# install latest release
brew install wader/tap/fq


fq can be installed via scoop.

scoop install fq

Arch Linux

fq can be installed from the community repository using pacman:

pacman -S fq

You can also build and install the development (VCS) package using an AUR helper:

paru -S fq-git


nix-shell -p fq


Use the fq port.


Currently in edge testing but should work fine in stable also.

apk add -X fq

Build from source

Make sure you have go 1.17 or later installed.

To install directly from git repository do:

# build and install latest release
go install

# or build and install latest master
go install

# copy binary to $PATH if needed
cp "$(go env GOPATH)/bin/fq" /usr/local/bin

To run and run tests from source directory:

# run all tests and build binary
make test fq
# it's also possible to use go run
go run fq.go

TODO and ideas


Development and adding a new decoder


Thanks and related projects

This project would not have been possible without itchyny's jq implementation gojq. I also want to thank HexFiend for inspiration and ideas and stedolan for inventing the jq language.

Similar or related projects


fq is distributed under the terms of the MIT License.

See the LICENSE file for license details.

Licenses of direct dependencies:


jq for binary formats



Language:Go 94.9%Language:jq 4.7%Language:Makefile 0.2%Language:JSONiq 0.1%Language:Dockerfile 0.0%Language:Shell 0.0%