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a lightweight and portable command-line YAML, JSON and XML processor. yq uses jq like syntax but works with yaml files as well as json and xml. It doesn’t yet support everything jq does – but it does support the most common operations and functions, and more is being added continuously.

yq is written in go – so you can download a dependency free binary for your platform and you are good to go! If you prefer there are a variety of package managers that can be used as well as Docker and Podman, all listed below.

Notice for v4.x versions prior to 4.18.1

Since 4.18.1, yq’s ‘eval/e’ command is the default command and no longer needs to be specified.

Older versions will still need to specify ‘eval/e’.

Similarly, ‘-‘ is no longer required as a filename to read from STDIN (unless reading from one or more files).


Prior to 4.18.1

yq e '.cool' - < file.yaml


yq '.cool' < file.yaml

When merging multiple files together, eval-all/ea is still required to tell yq to run the expression against all the document at once.

Quick Usage Guide

Read a value:

yq '.a.b[0].c' file.yaml

Pipe from STDIN:

yq '.a.b[0].c' < file.yaml

Update a yaml file, inplace

yq -i '.a.b[0].c = "cool"' file.yaml

Update using environment variables

NAME=mike yq -i '.a.b[0].c = strenv(NAME)' file.yaml

Merge multiple files

# note the use of `ea` to evaluate all the files at once
# instead of in sequence
yq ea '. as $item ireduce ({}; . * $item )' path/to/*.yml

Multiple updates to a yaml file

yq -i '
  .a.b[0].c = "cool" |
  .x.y.z = "foobar" |
  .person.name = strenv(NAME)
' file.yaml

Convert JSON to YAML

yq -P sample.json

See the documentation for more examples.


Download the latest binary


Use wget to download the pre-compiled binaries:

Compressed via tar.gz

wget https://github.com/mikefarah/yq/releases/download/${VERSION}/${BINARY}.tar.gz -O - |\
  tar xz && mv ${BINARY} /usr/bin/yq

Plain binary

wget https://github.com/mikefarah/yq/releases/download/${VERSION}/${BINARY} -O /usr/bin/yq &&\
    chmod +x /usr/bin/yq

For instance, VERSION=v4.2.0 and BINARY=yq_linux_amd64

MacOS / Linux via Homebrew:

Using Homebrew

brew install yq

Linux via snap:

snap install yq

Snap notes

yq installs with strict confinement in snap, this means it doesn’t have direct access to root files. To read root files you can:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq '.a.path'

And to write to a root file you can either use sponge:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq '.a.path = "value"' | sudo sponge /etc/myfile

or write to a temporary file:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq '.a.path = "value"' | sudo tee /etc/myfile.tmp
sudo mv /etc/myfile.tmp /etc/myfile
rm /etc/myfile.tmp

Run with Docker or Podman

Oneshot use:

docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq [command] [flags] [expression ]FILE...

Note that you can run yq in docker without network access and other privileges if you desire, namely --security-opt=no-new-privileges --cap-drop all --network none.

podman run --rm -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq [command] [flags] [expression ]FILE...

Pipe in via STDIN:

You’ll need to pass the -i\--interactive flag to docker:

docker run -i --rm mikefarah/yq '.this.thing' < myfile.yml
podman run -i --rm mikefarah/yq '.this.thing' < myfile.yml

Run commands interactively:

docker run --rm -it -v "${PWD}":/workdir --entrypoint sh mikefarah/yq
podman run --rm -it -v "${PWD}":/workdir --entrypoint sh mikefarah/yq

It can be useful to have a bash function to avoid typing the whole docker command:

yq() {
  docker run --rm -i -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq "[email protected]"

yq() {
  podman run --rm -i -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq "[email protected]"

Running as root:

yq‘s container image no longer runs under root (mikefarah/yq#860). If you’d like to install more things in the container image, or you’re having permissions issues when attempting to read/write files you’ll need to either:

docker run --user="root" -it --entrypoint sh mikefarah/yq
podman run --user="root" -it --entrypoint sh mikefarah/yq

Or, in your Dockerfile:

FROM mikefarah/yq

USER root
RUN apk add --no-cache bash

Missing timezone data

By default, the alpine image yq uses does not include timezone data. If you’d like to use the tz operator, you’ll need to include this data:

FROM mikefarah/yq

USER root
RUN apk add --no-cache tzdata

GitHub Action

  - name: Set foobar to cool
    uses: mikefarah/[email protected]
      cmd: yq -i '.foo.bar = "cool"' 'config.yml'

See https://mikefarah.gitbook.io/yq/usage/github-action for more.

Go Install:

go install github.com/mikefarah/yq/[email protected]

Community Supported Installation methods

As these are supported by the community ❤️ – however, they may be out of date with the officially supported releases.


webi yq

See webi Supported by @adithyasunil26 (https://github.com/webinstall/webi-installers/tree/master/yq)

Arch Linux

pacman -S go-yq


Chocolatey Chocolatey

choco install yq

Supported by @chillum (https://chocolatey.org/packages/yq)


Using MacPorts

sudo port selfupdate
sudo port install yq

Supported by @herbygillot (https://ports.macports.org/maintainer/github/herbygillot)

Alpine Linux

  • Enable edge/community repo by adding $MIRROR/alpine/edge/community to /etc/apk/repositories
  • Update database index with apk update
  • Install yq with apk add yq

Supported by Tuan Hoang https://pkgs.alpinelinux.org/package/edge/community/x86/yq

On Ubuntu 16.04 or higher from Debian package:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys CC86BB64
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rmescandon/yq
sudo apt update
sudo apt install yq -y

Supported by @rmescandon (https://launchpad.net/~rmescandon/+archive/ubuntu/yq)



Check out the documentation for more detailed and advanced usage.

  yq [flags]
  yq [command]


# yq defaults to 'eval' command if no command is specified. See "yq eval --help" for more examples.
yq '.stuff' < myfile.yml # outputs the data at the "stuff" node from "myfile.yml"

yq -i '.stuff = "foo"' myfile.yml # update myfile.yml inplace

Available Commands:
  completion       Generate the autocompletion script for the specified shell
  eval             (default) Apply the expression to each document in each yaml file in sequence
  eval-all         Loads _all_ yaml documents of _all_ yaml files and runs expression once
  help             Help about any command
  shell-completion Generate completion script

  -C, --colors                        force print with colors
  -e, --exit-status                   set exit status if there are no matches or null or false is returned
  -f, --front-matter string           (extract|process) first input as yaml front-matter. Extract will pull out the yaml content, process will run the expression against the yaml content, leaving the remaining data intact
      --header-preprocess             Slurp any header comments and separators before processing expression. (default true)
  -h, --help                          help for yq
  -I, --indent int                    sets indent level for output (default 2)
  -i, --inplace                       update the file inplace of first file given.
  -p, --input-format string           [yaml|y|xml|x] parse format for input. Note that json is a subset of yaml. (default "yaml")
  -M, --no-colors                     force print with no colors
  -N, --no-doc                        Don't print document separators (---)
  -n, --null-input                    Don't read input, simply evaluate the expression given. Useful for creating docs from scratch.
  -o, --output-format string          [yaml|y|json|j|props|p|xml|x] output format type. (default "yaml")
  -P, --prettyPrint                   pretty print, shorthand for '... style = ""'
  -s, --split-exp string              print each result (or doc) into a file named (exp). [exp] argument must return a string. You can use $index in the expression as the result counter.
      --unwrapScalar                  unwrap scalar, print the value with no quotes, colors or comments (default true)
  -v, --verbose                       verbose mode
  -V, --version                       Print version information and quit
      --xml-attribute-prefix string   prefix for xml attributes (default "+")
      --xml-content-name string       name for xml content (if no attribute name is present). (default "+content")

Use "yq [command] --help" for more information about a command.

Known Issues / Missing Features

See tips and tricks for more common problems and solutions.


View Github