Copy files to or restore files from an archive medium. If any files are directories, tar acts on the entire subtree. Options need not be preceded by - (though they may be). The exception to this rule is when you are using a long-style option (such as --modification-time). In that case, the exact syntax is:
tar --modification-time -xvf tarfile.tar
You must use exactly one of these, and it must come before any other options:
Create a new archive.
Compare the files stored in tarfile with other-files. Report any differences: missing files, different sizes, different file attributes (such as permissions or modification time).
Delete from the archive. This option cannot be used with magnetic tape.
Append other-files to the end of an existing archive.
Print the names of other-files if they are stored on the archive (if other-files are not specified, print names of all files).
Add files if not in the archive or if modified.
Extract other-files from an archive (if other-files are not specified, extract all files).
Concatenate a second tar file to the end of the first.
Set drive (0-7) and storage density (l, m, or h, corresponding to low, medium, or high). Not available in all versions of tar.
Exclude patterns ...