McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils 4.1.1

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dotnet add package McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils --version 4.1.1
NuGet\Install-Package McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils -Version 4.1.1
This command is intended to be used within the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio, as it uses the NuGet module's version of Install-Package.
<PackageReference Include="McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils" Version="4.1.1" />
For projects that support PackageReference, copy this XML node into the project file to reference the package.
paket add McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils --version 4.1.1
#r "nuget: McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils, 4.1.1"
#r directive can be used in F# Interactive and Polyglot Notebooks. Copy this into the interactive tool or source code of the script to reference the package.
// Install McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils as a Cake Addin
#addin nuget:?package=McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils&version=4.1.1

// Install McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils as a Cake Tool
#tool nuget:?package=McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils&version=4.1.1


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This project helps you create command line applications using .NET. It simplifies parsing arguments provided on the command line, validating user inputs, and generating help text.

The roadmap for this project is pinned to the top of the issue list.


See documentation for API reference, samples, and tutorials. See also docs/samples/ for more examples, such as:

Installing the library

This project is available as a NuGet package.

$ dotnet add package McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils


CommandLineApplication is the main entry point for most console apps parsing. There are two primary ways to use this API, using the builder pattern and attributes.

Attribute API

using System;
using McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils;

public class Program
    public static int Main(string[] args)
        => CommandLineApplication.Execute<Program>(args);

    [Option(Description = "The subject")]
    public string Subject { get; } = "world";

    [Option(ShortName = "n")]
    public int Count { get; } = 1;

    private void OnExecute()
        for (var i = 0; i < Count; i++)
            Console.WriteLine($"Hello {Subject}!");

Builder API

using System;
using McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils;

var app = new CommandLineApplication();


var subject = app.Option("-s|--subject <SUBJECT>", "The subject", CommandOptionType.SingleValue);
subject.DefaultValue = "world";

var repeat = app.Option<int>("-n|--count <N>", "Repeat", CommandOptionType.SingleValue);
repeat.DefaultValue = 1;

app.OnExecute(() =>
    for (var i = 0; i < repeat.ParsedValue; i++)
        Console.WriteLine($"Hello {subject.Value()}!");

return app.Execute(args);


The library also includes other utilities for interaction with the console. These include:

  • ArgumentEscaper - use to escape arguments when starting a new command line process.
     var args = new [] { "Arg1", "arg with space", "args ' with \" quotes" };
     Process.Start("echo", ArgumentEscaper.EscapeAndConcatenate(args));
  • Prompt - for getting feedback from users with a default answer. A few examples:
    // allows y/n responses, will return false by default in this case.
    // You may optionally change the prompt foreground and background color for
    // the message.
    Prompt.GetYesNo("Do you want to proceed?", false);
    // masks input as '*'
    Prompt.GetPassword("Password: ");
  • DotNetExe - finds the path to the dotnet.exe file used to start a .NET Core process
    Process.Start(DotNetExe.FullPathOrDefault(), "run");

And more! See the documentation for more API, such as IConsole, IReporter, and others.

Getting help

If you need help with this project, please ...

Project origin and status

This is a fork of Microsoft.Extensions.CommandLineUtils, which was completely abandoned by Microsoft. This project forked in 2017 and continued to make improvements. From 2017 to 2021, over 30 contributors added new features and fixed bugs. As of 2022, the project has entered maintenance mode, so no major changes are planned. See this issue for details on latest project status. This project is not abandoned -- I believe this library provides a stable API and rich feature set good enough for most developers to create command line apps in .NET -- but only the most critical of bugs will be fixed (such as security issues).

Product Compatible and additional computed target framework versions.
.NET net5.0 was computed.  net5.0-windows was computed.  net6.0 was computed.  net6.0-android was computed.  net6.0-ios was computed.  net6.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net6.0-macos was computed.  net6.0-tvos was computed.  net6.0-windows was computed.  net7.0 was computed.  net7.0-android was computed.  net7.0-ios was computed.  net7.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net7.0-macos was computed.  net7.0-tvos was computed.  net7.0-windows was computed.  net8.0 was computed.  net8.0-android was computed.  net8.0-browser was computed.  net8.0-ios was computed.  net8.0-maccatalyst was computed.  net8.0-macos was computed.  net8.0-tvos was computed.  net8.0-windows was computed. 
.NET Core netcoreapp2.0 was computed.  netcoreapp2.1 was computed.  netcoreapp2.2 was computed.  netcoreapp3.0 was computed.  netcoreapp3.1 was computed. 
.NET Standard netstandard2.0 is compatible.  netstandard2.1 is compatible. 
.NET Framework net46 is compatible.  net461 was computed.  net462 was computed.  net463 was computed.  net47 was computed.  net471 was computed.  net472 was computed.  net48 was computed.  net481 was computed. 
MonoAndroid monoandroid was computed. 
MonoMac monomac was computed. 
MonoTouch monotouch was computed. 
Tizen tizen40 was computed.  tizen60 was computed. 
Xamarin.iOS xamarinios was computed. 
Xamarin.Mac xamarinmac was computed. 
Xamarin.TVOS xamarintvos was computed. 
Xamarin.WatchOS xamarinwatchos was computed. 
Compatible target framework(s)
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Learn more about Target Frameworks and .NET Standard.

NuGet packages (74)

Showing the top 5 NuGet packages that depend on McMaster.Extensions.CommandLineUtils:

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GitHub repositories (104)

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Version Downloads Last updated
4.1.1 322,657 2/19/2024
4.1.0 608,116 8/26/2023
4.0.2 1,418,878 11/19/2022
4.0.1 1,918,659 2/1/2022
4.0.0 616,433 12/27/2021
4.0.0-beta.74 47,269 1/22/2021
4.0.0-beta.56 1,176 1/17/2021
3.1.0 2,659,552 1/10/2021
3.1.0-rc.371 5,566 11/7/2020
3.1.0-beta.356 1,324 9/13/2020
3.1.0-beta.336 533 8/28/2020
3.0.0 2,534,713 3/29/2020
3.0.0-rc.289 4,908 3/21/2020
3.0.0-alpha.268 2,446 3/9/2020
2.6.0 654,234 3/8/2020
2.5.1 233,491 2/7/2020
2.5.0 238,693 1/2/2020
2.4.4 195,490 11/11/2019
2.4.3 28,300 11/1/2019
2.4.2 174,636 9/24/2019
2.4.1 19,904 9/18/2019
2.4.0 17,616 9/14/2019
2.3.4 991,928 4/11/2019
2.3.3 200,466 3/11/2019
2.3.2 309,103 2/5/2019
2.3.1 43,478 1/19/2019
2.3.0 252,707 1/1/2019
2.2.5 1,315,128 7/2/2018
2.2.4 251,625 5/25/2018
2.2.3 30,929 5/11/2018
2.2.2 87,607 4/28/2018
2.2.1 104,423 4/11/2018
2.2.0 517,398 3/31/2018
2.2.0-rc 8,050 3/23/2018
2.2.0-beta 3,136 3/8/2018
2.2.0-alpha 3,099 2/20/2018
2.1.1 127,548 12/28/2017
2.1.0 13,051 12/13/2017
2.1.0-rc 3,022 12/7/2017
2.1.0-beta 3,950 11/22/2017
2.1.0-alpha 2,838 11/11/2017
2.0.1 17,095 10/13/2017
2.0.0 15,575 9/16/2017

Changes since 4.0:

* Drop support for .NET < 4.6.
* fix: find dotnet.exe correctly when DOTNET_ROOT is not set (@danmoseley)
* fix: don't set DefaultValue to empty string for `string[]` options (@natemcmaster)

See more details here: