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yargs the modern, pirate-themed successor to optimist.

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Yargs be a node.js library fer hearties tryin' ter parse optstrings

ci NPM version js-standard-style Coverage Conventional Commits Slack


Yargs helps you build interactive command line tools, by parsing arguments and generating an elegant user interface.

It gives you:

  • commands and (grouped) options (
    my-program.js serve --port=5000
  • a dynamically generated help menu based on your arguments:
mocha [spec..]

Run tests with Mocha

Commands mocha inspect [spec..] Run tests with Mocha [default] mocha init create a client-side Mocha setup at

Rules & Behavior --allow-uncaught Allow uncaught errors to propagate [boolean] --async-only, -A Require all tests to use a callback (async) or return a Promise [boolean]

  • bash-completion shortcuts for commands and options.
  • and tons more.


Stable version:

npm i yargs

Bleeding edge version with the most recent features:

npm i [email protected]


Simple Example

#!/usr/bin/env node
const yargs = require('yargs/yargs')
const { hideBin } = require('yargs/helpers')
const argv = yargs(hideBin(process.argv)).argv

if (argv.ships > 3 && argv.distance < 53.5) { console.log('Plunder more riffiwobbles!') } else { console.log('Retreat from the xupptumblers!') }

$ ./plunder.js --ships=4 --distance=22
Plunder more riffiwobbles!

$ ./plunder.js --ships 12 --distance 98.7 Retreat from the xupptumblers!


is a shorthand for
. It has the benefit that it takes into account variations in some environments, e.g., Electron.

Complex Example

#!/usr/bin/env node
const yargs = require('yargs/yargs')
const { hideBin } = require('yargs/helpers')

yargs(hideBin(process.argv)) .command('serve [port]', 'start the server', (yargs) => { return yargs .positional('port', { describe: 'port to bind on', default: 5000 }) }, (argv) => { if (argv.verbose) server on :${argv.port}) serve(argv.port) }) .option('verbose', { alias: 'v', type: 'boolean', description: 'Run with verbose logging' }) .argv

Run the example above with

to see the help for the application.

Supported Platforms


yargs has type definitions at @types/yargs.

npm i @types/yargs --save-dev

See usage examples in docs.


As of

supports Deno:
import yargs from ''
import { Arguments } from ''

yargs(Deno.args) .command('download <files...>', 'download a list of files', (yargs: any) => { return yargs.positional('files', { describe: 'a list of files to do something with' }) }, (argv: Arguments) => { }) .strictCommands() .demandCommand(1) .argv </files...>


As of

supports ESM imports:
import yargs from 'yargs'
import { hideBin } from 'yargs/helpers'

yargs(hideBin(process.argv)) .command('curl ', 'fetch the contents of the URL', () => {}, (argv) => { }) .demandCommand(1) .argv

Usage in Browser

See examples of using yargs in the browser in docs.


Having problems? want to contribute? join our community slack.


Table of Contents

Supported Node.js Versions

Libraries in this ecosystem make a best effort to track Node.js' release schedule. Here's a post on why we think this is important.

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