My man page looks very much like this (around line 1987-), where YXcstpoguax both sets and describes the output, namely X is modified according to operation Y, specifically (c)hecksum differs, (s)ize differs, updated (t)ime, (p)ermission, (o)wner, (g)roup, (u)nused, (a)cls, e(x)tended attribute:
Originally Posted by dunkar70
(online version from http://www.manpagez.com/man/1/rsync/)
Requests a simple itemized list of the changes that are being
made to each file, including attribute changes. This is exactly
the same as specifying --out-format='%i %n%L'. If you repeat
the option, unchanged files will also be output, but only if the
receiving rsync is at least version 2.6.7 (you can use -vv with
older versions of rsync, but that also turns on the output of
other verbose messages).
The "%i" escape has a cryptic output that is 11 letters long.
The general format is like the string YXcstpoguax, where Y is
replaced by the type of update being done, X is replaced by the
file-type, and the other letters represent attributes that may
be output if they are being modified.
The update types that replace the Y are as follows:
o A < means that a file is being transferred to the remote
o A > means that a file is being transferred to the local
o A c means that a local change/creation is occurring for
the item (such as the creation of a directory or the
changing of a symlink, etc.).
o A h means that the item is a hard link to another item
o A . means that the item is not being updated (though it
might have attributes that are being modified).
o A * means that the rest of the itemized-output area con-
tains a message (e.g. "deleting").
The file-types that replace the X are: f for a file, a d for a
directory, an L for a symlink, a D for a device, and a S for a
special file (e.g. named sockets and fifos).
The other letters in the string above are the actual letters
that will be output if the associated attribute for the item is
being updated or a "." for no change. Three exceptions to this
are: (1) a newly created item replaces each letter with a "+",
(2) an identical item replaces the dots with spaces, and (3) an
unknown attribute replaces each letter with a "?" (this can hap-
pen when talking to an older rsync).
The attribute that is associated with each letter is as follows:
o A c means either that a regular file has a different
checksum (requires --checksum) or that a symlink, device,
or special file has a changed value. Note that if you
are sending files to an rsync prior to 3.0.1, this change
flag will be present only for checksum-differing regular
o A s means the size of a regular file is different and
will be updated by the file transfer.
o A t means the modification time is different and is being
updated to the sender's value (requires --times). An
alternate value of T means that the modification time
will be set to the transfer time, which happens when a
file/symlink/device is updated without --times and when a
symlink is changed and the receiver can't set its time.
(Note: when using an rsync 3.0.0 client, you might see
the s flag combined with t instead of the proper T flag
for this time-setting failure.)
o A p means the permissions are different and are being
updated to the sender's value (requires --perms).
o An o means the owner is different and is being updated to
the sender's value (requires --owner and super-user priv-
o A g means the group is different and is being updated to
the sender's value (requires --group and the authority to
set the group).
o The u slot is reserved for future use.
o The a means that the ACL information changed.
o The x means that the extended attribute information
One other output is possible: when deleting files, the "%i"
will output the string "*deleting" for each item that is being
removed (assuming that you are talking to a recent enough rsync
that it logs deletions instead of outputting them as a verbose