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c2patool - C2PA command line tool

c2patool is a command line tool for working with C2PA manifests and media assets (audio, image or video files).

Use the tool on a file in one of the supported file formats to:

  • Read a summary JSON report of C2PA manifests.
  • Read a low-level report of C2PA manifest data.
  • Add a C2PA manifest to the file.

For a simple example of calling c2patool from a server-based application, see the c2pa-service-example repository.


Prebuilt versions of the tool are available for download.


Enter this command to install or update the tool:

cargo install c2patool

To build the tool on a Windows machine, you need to install the 7zip tool.

NOTE: If you encounter errors installing, you may need to update your Rust installation by entering this command:

rustup update


To ensure you have the latest version, enter this command:

c2patool -V

The tool will display the version installed. Compare the version number displayed with the latest release version shown in the repository releases page. To update to the latest version, use the installation command shown above.

Supported file formats

ExtensionsMIME type
avivideo/msvideo, video/avi, application-msvideo
jpg, jpegimage/jpeg
mp4video/mp4, application/mp4 *
pdfapplication/pdf **
* Fragmented MP4 is not yet supported.** Read only


The tool's command-line syntax is:

c2patool [OPTIONS] [path]

Where <path> is the path to the asset to read or embed a manifest into.

The following table describes the command-line options.

CLI option         Short versionArgumentDescription
--certsN/AExtract a certificate chain to stdout.
--config-c<config>Specifies a manifest definition as a JSON string. See Providing a manifest definition on the command line.
--detailed-dN/ADisplay detailed C2PA-formatted manifest data. See Displaying a detailed manifest report.
--force-fN/AForce overwriting output file. See Forced overwrite.
--help-hN/ADisplay CLI help information.
--infoN/ADisplay brief information about the file.
--ingredient-iN/ACreates an Ingredient definition in --output folder.
--output-o<output_file>Specifies path to output folder or file. See Adding a manifest to an asset file.
--manifest-m<manifest_file>Specifies a manifest file to add to an asset file. See Adding a manifest to an asset file.
--parent-p<parent_file>Specifies path to parent file. See Specifying a parent file.
--remote-r<manifest_url>Specify URL for remote manifest available over HTTP. See Generating a remote manifest
--sidecar-sN/APut manifest in external "sidecar" file with .c2pa extension. See Generating an external manifest.
--treeN/ACreate a tree diagram of the manifest store.
--version-VN/ADisplay version information.

Displaying manifest data

To display the manifest associated with an asset file, provide the path to the file as the argument; for example:

c2patool sample/C.jpg

The tool displays the manifest JSON to standard output (stdout).

You may include an --output argument to write the contents of the manifest, including the manifest's assertion and ingredient thumbnails, to the provided output directory.

c2patool sample/C.jpg --output ./report

Detailed manifest report

To display a detailed report describing the internal C2PA format of manifests contained in the asset, use the -d option; for example, using one of the example images in the sample directory:

c2patool -d sample/C.jpg

The tool displays the detailed report to standard output (stdout) or will add a detailed.json if an output folder is supplied.

Displaying an information report

Use the --info option to print a high-level report about the asset file and related C2PA data. For a cloud manifest the tool displays the URL to the manifest. Displays the size of the manifest store and number of manifests. It will report if the manifest validated or show any errors encountered in validation.

c2patool sample/C.jpg --info

The tool displays the report to standard output (stdout).

Creating an ingredient from a file

The --ingredient option will create an ingredient report. When used with the --output folder, it will extract or create a thumbnail image and a binary .c2pa manifest store containing the c2pa data from the file. The JSON ingredient this produces can be added to a manifest definition to carry the full history and validation record of that asset into a newly created manifest. Provide the path to the file as the argument; for example:

c2patool sample/C.jpg --ingredient --output ./ingredient

Adding a manifest to an asset file

To add C2PA manifest data to a file, use the --manifest / -m option with a manifest JSON file as the option argument and the path to the asset file to be signed. Specify the output file as the argument to the --output / -o option. The output extension type must match the source. The tool will not convert between file types. For example:

c2patool sample/image.jpg -m sample/test.json -o signed_image.jpg

The tool generates a new manifest using the values given in the file and displays the manifest store to standard output (stdout).

CAUTION: If the output file is the same as the source file, the tool will overwrite the source file.

Specifying a parent file

A parent file represents the state of the image before the current edits were made.

Specify a parent file as the argument to the --parent / -p option; for example:

c2patool sample/image.jpg -m sample/test.json -p sample/c.jpg -o signed_image.jpg

You can pass an ingredient generated with the --ingredient option by giving the folder or ingredient.json file.

c2patool sample/C.jpg --ingredient --output ./ingredient

c2patool sample/image.jpg -m sample/test.json -p ./ingredient -o signed_image.jpg

Forced overwrite

The tool will return an error if the output file already exists. Use the --force / -f option to force overwriting the output file. For example:

c2patool sample/image.jpg -m sample/test.json -f -o signed_image.jpg

Generating an external manifest

Use the --sidecar / -s option to put the manifest in an external sidecar file in the same location as the output file. The manifest will have the same output filename but with a .c2pa extension. The tool will copy the output file but the original will be untouched.

c2patool image.jpg -s -m sample/test.json -o signed_image.jpg

Generating a remote manifest

Use the --remote / -r option to place an HTTP reference to the manifest in the output file. The manifest is returned as an external sidecar file in the same location as the output file with the same filename but with a .c2pa extension. Place the manifest at the location specified by the -r option. When using remote manifests the remote URL should be publicly accessible to be most useful to users. When verifying an asset, remote manifests are automatically fetched.

c2patool sample/image.jpg -r http://my_server/myasset.c2pa -m sample/test.json -o signed_image.jpg

In the example above, the tool will embed the URL http://my_server/myasset.c2pa in signed_image.jpg then fetch the manifest from that URL and save it to signed_image.c2pa.

If you use both the -s and -r options, the tool embeds a manifest in the output file and also adds the remote reference.

Providing a manifest definition on the command line

To provide the manifest definition in a command line argument instead of a file, use the --config / -c option.

For example, the following command adds a custom assertion called "org.contentauth.test".

c2patool sample/image.jpg -c '{"assertions": [{"label": "org.contentauth.test", "data": {"my_key": "whatever I want"}}]}'

Nightly builds

Interim binaries are generated every day around 05:30 UTC (overnight for our US-based team) and are available for roughly two weeks thereafter. These can be helpful for testing purposes. For more information, see the documentation on nightly builds.