SwingTail is a small graphical Java/Swing implementation of the Unix tail command.

It has a simple interface with tabs so that you can have multiple files open at the same time. Open files can be paused and resumed by clicking on the play/pause icon on the tab. There is also a bookmark feature that works just like bookmarks in a web browser.

Font, how many lines that should be read from end of the files upon opening (-n parameter in Unix), and various other settings can be configured using a simple settings dialog.

Through the filter dialog the user can set a variety of different filters for the tailing. Rows can be marked with color or sound, hidden or, when found, pause the tail among other things. Each filter can be activated or deactivated by selecting a check box, this way the user will never have to delete a existing filter just so it will not run.

Starting with version 3.0 the bookmark support has been significantly improved and the bookmarks can now be managed in a web browser like fashion.


SwingTail is distributed as a runnable JAR file and requires Java 1.6.

All you need to do to start SwingTail is to double click on the JAR file and it should start right away if you have Java 1.6 (or newer) installed.

Version Release date Download
3.1.4 2015-08-14 SwingTail-3.1.4.jar
3.1.1 2014-03-13 SwingTail-3.1.1.jar
3.1.0 2014-03-05 SwingTail-3.1.0.jar
3.0.0 2013-10-29 SwingTail-3.0.0.jar
2.2.0 2009-11-19 SwingTail2.2.jar

The official icon can be downloaded here in both ICO and PNG formats (useful when creating shortcuts to the SwingTail JAR file).

Source code

The source code can be downloaded from the following subversion repository: svn://


SwingTail is released under the GPLv3 license and is copyright Robert Olofsson and Johan Dahlgren.


Version 3.1.4

  • Fixed bug with duplicate filters on save
  • Rewrote sound implementation for filters
  • Allow multiple filters to match the same line

Version 3.1.1

  • Fixed a bug causing log files to be reloaded if they were touched
  • Minor language fixes

Version 3.1.0

  • Minor code cleanup related to icon handling
  • Added new file tail implementation based on a heavily modified version of the Apache Commons IO Tailer class to prevent file locking
  • Changed document type in JEditorPane from HTMLDocument to DefaultStyledDocument which greatly improves performance
  • Fixed duplicate line breaks being inserted when pressing enter
  • Removed tab width setting

Version 3.0.0

  • Rewritten and much improved bookmark implementation
  • Fixed bugs in the handling of filters
  • Updates dialogs so they use proper layouts
  • Added a official icon
  • Replaced play/pause icons

Version 2.2.0

  • Fixed a probable memory leak caused by the warning sound function. This fix has improved performance of SwingTail.
  • Fixed the problem with not being able to copy text from SwingTail.