Copies a file or FileSet to a new file or directory. By default, files are only copied if the source file is newer than the destination file, or when the destination file does not exist. However, you can explicitly overwrite files with the overwrite attribute.

FileSets are used to select a set of files to copy. To use a <fileset>, the todir attribute must be set.

Note: If you employ filters in your copy operation, you should limit the copy to text files. Binary files will be corrupted by the copy operation. This applies whether the filters are implicitly defined by the filter task or explicitly provided to the copy operation as filtersets


Attribute Description Required
file The file to copy. Yes, unless a nested <fileset> element is used.
preservelastmodified Give the copied files the same last modified time as the original source files. No; defaults to false.
tofile The file to copy to. With the file attribute, either tofile or todir can be used. With nested <fileset> elements, if the set of files is greater than 1, or if only the dir attribute is specified in the <fileset>, or if the file attribute is also specified, then only todir is allowed.
todir The directory to copy to.
overwrite Overwrite existing files even if the destination files are newer. No; defaults to false.
filtering Indicates whether token filtering using the global build-file filters should take place during the copy. Note: Nested <filterset> elements will always be used, even if this attribute is not specified, or its value is false (no, or off). No; defaults to false.
flatten Ignore the directory structure of the source files, and copy all files into the directory specified by the todir attribute. Note that you can achieve the same effect by using a flatten mapper. No; defaults to false.
includeEmptyDirs Copy any empty directories included in the FileSet(s). No; defaults to true.
failonerror If false, log a warning message, but do not stop the build, when the file to copy does not exist or one of the nested filesets points to a directory that doesn't exist or an error occurs while copying. No; defaults to true.
verbose Log the files that are being copied. No; defaults to false.
encoding The encoding to assume when filter-copying the files. since Ant 1.5. No - defaults to default JVM encoding
outputencoding The encoding to use when writing the files. since Ant 1.6. No - defaults to the value of the encoding attribute if given or the default JVM encoding otherwise.
enablemultiplemappings If true the task will process to all the mappings for a given source path. If false the task will only process the first file or directory. This attribute is only relevant if there is a mapper subelement. since Ant 1.6. No - defaults to false.
granularity The number of milliseconds leeway to give before deciding a file is out of date. This is needed because not every file system supports tracking the last modified time to the millisecond level. Default is 0 milliseconds, or 2 seconds on DOS systems. This can also be useful if source and target files live on separate machines with clocks being out of sync. since Ant 1.6.2.

Parameters specified as nested elements


FileSets are used to select sets of files to copy. To use a fileset, the todir attribute must be set.


You can define filename transformations by using a nested mapper element. The default mapper used by <copy> is the identity mapper.

Since Ant 1.6.3, one can use a filenamemapper type in place of the mapper element.


FilterSets are used to replace tokens in files that are copied. To use a FilterSet, use the nested <filterset> element.


The Copy task supports nested FilterChains.

If <filterset> and <filterchain> elements are used inside the same <copy> task, all <filterchain> elements are processed first followed by <filterset> elements.


Copy a single file

 <copy file="myfile.txt" tofile="mycopy .txt"/>

Copy a single file to a directory

  <copy file="myfile.txt" todir="../some/other/dir"/>

Copy a directory to another directory

<copy todir="../new/dir">

    <fileset dir="src_dir"/>
Copy a set of files to a directory
  <copy todir="../dest/dir">
    <fileset dir="src_dir">

      <exclude name="**/*.java"/>

  <copy todir="../dest/dir">
    <fileset dir="src_dir" excludes="**/*.java"/>


Copy a set of files to a directory, appending .bak to the file name on the fly

  <copy todir="../backup/dir">
    <fileset dir="src_dir"/>

    <globmapper from="*" to="*.bak"/>


Copy a set of files to a directory, replacing @TITLE@ with Foo Bar in all files.

<copy todir="../backup/dir">
    <fileset dir="src_dir"/>
      <filter token="TITLE" value="Foo Bar"/>


Unix Note: File permissions are not retained when files are copied; they end up with the default UMASK permissions instead. This is caused by the lack of any means to query or set file permissions in the current Java runtimes. If you need a permission-preserving copy function, use <exec executable="cp" ... > instead.

Windows Note: If you copy a file to a directory where that file already exists, but with different casing, the copied file takes on the case of the original. The workaround is to delete the file in the destination directory before you copy it.

Source: Apache Ant