javascript - parse - typescript command line arguments

How do I pass command line arguments to a Node.js program? (18)

2018 answer based on current trends in the wild:

Vanilla javascript argument parsing:

const args = process.argv;

This returns:

$ node server.js one two=three four
['node', '/home/server.js', 'one', 'two=three', 'four']

Official docs

Most used NPM packages for argument parsing:

Minimist: For minimal argument parsing.

Commander.js: Most adopted module for argument parsing.

Meow: Lighter alternative to Commander.js

Yargs: More sophisticated argument parsing (heavy).

Vorpal.js: Mature / interactive command-line applications with argument parsing.

I have a web server written in Node.js and I would like to launch with a specific folder. I'm not sure how to access arguments in JavaScript. I'm running node like this:

$ node server.js folder

here server.js is my server code. Node.js help says this is possible:

$ node -h
Usage: node [options] script.js [arguments]

How would I access those arguments in JavaScript? Somehow I was not able to find this information on the web.


Works great for defining your options, actions, and arguments. It also generates the help pages for you.


Works great for getting input from the user, if you like the callback approach.


Works great for getting input from the user, if you like the generator approach.

Standard Method (no library)

The arguments are stored in process.argv

Here are the node docs on handling command line args:

process.argv is an array containing the command line arguments. The first element will be 'node', the second element will be the name of the JavaScript file. The next elements will be any additional command line arguments.

// print process.argv
process.argv.forEach(function (val, index, array) {
  console.log(index + ': ' + val);

This will generate:

$ node process-2.js one two=three four
0: node
1: /Users/mjr/work/node/process-2.js
2: one
3: two=three
4: four

Stdio Library

The easiest way to parse command-line arguments in NodeJS is using the stdio module. Inspired by UNIX getopt utility, it is as trivial as follows:

var stdio = require('stdio');
var ops = stdio.getopt({
    'check': {key: 'c', args: 2, description: 'What this option means'},
    'map': {key: 'm', description: 'Another description'},
    'kaka': {args: 1, mandatory: true},
    'ooo': {key: 'o'}

If you run the previous code with this command:

node <your_script.js> -c 23 45 --map -k 23 file1 file2

Then ops object will be as follows:

{ check: [ '23', '45' ],
  args: [ 'file1', 'file2' ],
  map: true,
  kaka: '23' }

So you can use it as you want. For instance:

if (ops.kaka && ops.check) {
    console.log(ops.kaka + ops.check[0]);

Grouped options are also supported, so you can write -om instead of -o -m.

Furthermore, stdio can generate a help/usage output automatically. If you call ops.printHelp() you'll get the following:

USAGE: node something.js [--check <ARG1> <ARG2>] [--kaka] [--ooo] [--map]
  -c, --check <ARG1> <ARG2>   What this option means (mandatory)
  -k, --kaka                  (mandatory)
  --map                       Another description
  -o, --ooo

The previous message is shown also if a mandatory option is not given (preceded by the error message) or if it is mispecified (for instance, if you specify a single arg for an option and it needs 2).

You can install stdio module using NPM:

npm install stdio

whithout librairies: using Array.prototype.reduce()

const args = process.argv.slice(2).reduce((acc, arg) => {

    let [k, v = true] = arg.split('=')
    acc[k] = v
    return acc

}, {})

for this command node index.js count=2 print debug=false msg=hi

console.log(args) // { count: '2', print: true, debug: 'false', msg: 'hi' }


we can change

    let [k, v = true] = arg.split('=')
    acc[k] = v

by (much longer)

    let [k, v] = arg.split('=')
    acc[k] = v === undefined ? true : /true|false/.test(v) ? v === 'true' : /[\d|\.]+/.test(v) ? Number(v) : v

to auto parse Boolean & Number

console.log(args) // { count: 2, print: true, debug: false, msg: 'hi' }

command-line-args is worth a look!

You can set options using the main notation standards (learn more). These commands are all equivalent, setting the same values:

$ example --verbose --timeout=1000 --src one.js --src two.js
$ example --verbose --timeout 1000 --src one.js two.js
$ example -vt 1000 --src one.js two.js
$ example -vt 1000 one.js two.js

To access the values, first create a list of option definitions describing the options your application accepts. The type property is a setter function (the value supplied is passed through this), giving you full control over the value received.

const optionDefinitions = [
  { name: 'verbose', alias: 'v', type: Boolean },
  { name: 'src', type: String, multiple: true, defaultOption: true },
  { name: 'timeout', alias: 't', type: Number }

Next, parse the options using commandLineArgs():

const commandLineArgs = require('command-line-args')
const options = commandLineArgs(optionDefinitions)

options now looks like this:

  src: [
  verbose: true,
  timeout: 1000

Advanced usage

Beside the above typical usage, you can configure command-line-args to accept more advanced syntax forms.

Command-based syntax (git style) in the form:

$ executable <command> [options]

For example.

$ git commit --squash -m "This is my commit message"

Command and sub-command syntax (docker style) in the form:

$ executable <command> [options] <sub-command> [options]

For example.

$ docker run --detached --image centos bash -c yum install -y httpd

Usage guide generation

A usage guide (typically printed when --help is set) can be generated using command-line-usage. See the examples below and read the documentation for instructions how to create them.

A typical usage guide example.

The polymer-cli usage guide is a good real-life example.

Further Reading

There is plenty more to learn, please see the wiki for examples and documentation.


for(var i=0;i<process.argv.length;i++){


nodemon app.js "arg1" "arg2" "arg3"


0 'C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe'
1 'C:\\Users\\Nouman\\Desktop\\Node\\camer nodejs\\proj.js'
2 'arg1' your first argument you passed.
3 'arg2' your second argument you passed.
4 'arg3' your third argument you passed.


0 : The directory of node.exe in your maching (C:\Program Files\nodejs\node.exe')

1 : The directory of your project file. (proj.js)

2 : Your first argument to node (arg1)

3 : Your second argument to node (arg2)

4 : Your third argument to node (arg3)

your actual arguments start form 2nd index of argv array, that is process.argv[2].

A simple snippet if any need it:

var fs = require('fs'), objMod = {};

process.argv.slice(2).map(function(y, i) {
  y = y.split('=');
  if (y[0] && y[1]) objMod[y[0]] = y[1];
  else console.log('Error in argument number ' + (i+1));

If your script is called myScript.js and you want to pass the first and last name, 'Sean Worthington', as arguments like below:

node myScript.js Sean Worthington

Then within your script you write:

var firstName = process.argv[2]; // Will be set to 'Sean'
var lastName = process.argv[3]; // Will be set to 'Worthington'

It's probably a good idea to manage your configuration in a centralized manner using something like nconf

It helps you work with configuration files, environment variables, command-line arguments.

Passing,parsing arguments is an easy process. Node provides you with the process.argv property, which is an array of strings, which are the arguments that were used when Node was invoked. The first entry of the array is the Node executable, and the second entry is the name of your script.

If you run script with below atguments

$ node args.js arg1 arg2

File : args.js


You will get array like


Several great answers here, but it all seems very complex. This is very similar to how bash scripts access argument values and it's already provided standard with node.js as MooGoo pointed out. (Just to make it understandable to somebody that's new to node.js)


$ node yourscript.js banana monkey

var program_name = process.argv[0]; //value will be "node"
var script_path = process.argv[1]; //value will be "yourscript.js"
var first_value = process.argv[2]; //value will be "banana"
var second_value = process.argv[3]; //value will be "monkey"

The up-to-date right answer for this it to use the minimist library. We used to use node-optimist but it has since been deprecated.

Here is an example of how to use it taken straight from the minimist documentation:

var argv = require('minimist')(process.argv.slice(2));


$ node example/parse.js -a beep -b boop
{ _: [], a: 'beep', b: 'boop' }


$ node example/parse.js -x 3 -y 4 -n5 -abc --beep=boop foo bar baz
{ _: [ 'foo', 'bar', 'baz' ],
  x: 3,
  y: 4,
  n: 5,
  a: true,
  b: true,
  c: true,
  beep: 'boop' }

There's an app for that. Well, module. Well, more than one, probably hundreds.

Yargs is one of the fun ones, its docs are cool to read.

Here's an example from the github/npm page:

#!/usr/bin/env node
var argv = require('yargs').argv;
console.log('(%d,%d)', argv.x, argv.y);

Output is here (it reads options with dashes etc, short and long, numeric etc).

$ ./nonopt.js -x 6.82 -y 3.35 rum
[ 'rum' ] 
$ ./nonopt.js "me hearties" -x 0.54 yo -y 1.12 ho
[ 'me hearties', 'yo', 'ho' ]

You can also use yargs package it will make thing a lot easier! here you go :) Yargs

You can parse all arguments and check if they exist.

file: parse-cli-arguments.js:

module.exports = function(requiredArguments){
    var arguments = {};

    for (var index = 0; index < process.argv.length; index++) {
        var re = new RegExp('--([A-Za-z0-9_]+)=([A/-Za-z0-9_]+)'),
            matches = re.exec(process.argv[index]);

        if(matches !== null) {
            arguments[matches[1]] = matches[2];

    for (var index = 0; index < requiredArguments.length; index++) {
        if (arguments[requiredArguments[index]] === undefined) {
            throw(requiredArguments[index] + ' not defined. Please add the argument with --' + requiredArguments[index]);

    return arguments;

Than just do:

var arguments = require('./parse-cli-arguments')(['foo', 'bar', 'xpto']);

as stated in the node docs The process.argv property returns an array containing the command line arguments passed when the Node.js process was launched.

For example, assuming the following script for process-args.js:

// print process.argv
process.argv.forEach((val, index) => {
   console.log(`${index}: ${val}`);

Launching the Node.js process as:

 $ node process-args.js one two=three four

Would generate the output:

0: /usr/local/bin/node
1: /Users/mjr/work/node/process-args.js
2: one
3: two=three
4: four

npm install ps-grab

If you want to run something like this :

node greeting.js --user Abdennour --website 


var grab=require('ps-grab');
grab('--username') // return 'Abdennour'
grab('--action') // return ''

Or something like :

node vbox.js -OS redhat -VM template-12332 ;


var grab=require('ps-grab');
grab('-OS') // return 'redhat'
grab('-VM') // return 'template-12332'