Cool Tools Part VI: BareTail

Do you look at a lot of log files during the course of a day? Are you sick of closing and reopening files in NotePad and EditPlus to see the changes reflected in those files? Do you wish there was an easy way to see things in log files that you care about? If so, then this "Cool Tool" is for you...

BareTail allows you to have multiple text files open at the same time and it auto refreshes the text files as new entries are added to it. You can even specify custom highlighting so that important information from the log files is immediately visible to you. In the screen shot below, I was using BareTail on an IIS log and wanted to highlight requests to two particluar files:

BareTail is a product by Bare Metal Software. Those of you with a UNIX background might recognize the back part of the product name; this product is like a "tail -f" on steroids (Sorry, MLB). Here is a list of features as listed by Bare Metal Software:

Real-time file viewing

  • Optimized real-time viewing engine
  • View files of any size (> 2GB)
  • Scroll to any point in the whole file instantly
  • View files over a network
  • Configurable line wrapping
  • Configurable TAB expansion
  • Configurable font, including spacing and offset to maximise use of screen space

Follow tail mode

  • View the end of a growing file in real time, no matter how fast the file grows
  • Like "tail -f" on Unix systems, but with many more features

Tail multiple files

  • Simultaneously monitor multiple files for changes using tabs
  • Visual indication on each tab of file status and changes
  • Tabs may be positioned on any side of the window and oriented horizontally or vertically

Configurable highlighting

  • Lines containing particular strings can be highlighted to help you notice important text
  • Highlight colours are fully customisable

Many file formats

  • Windows / DOS text files (lines end in CR/LF pairs)
  • Unix text files (lines end in LF)
  • Microsoft IIS logfiles (and other files terminated with a string of nulls)

BareTail is a free product available from Bare Metal Software. They have a pay version if you want to get rid of the annoying splash screen in the beginning, but the free version has all the same features as the pay version. They also have a BareTail pro which has even more features, but I haven't used that version yet.

To download the product or learn more, go to

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