CLI commands for n8n#
n8n includes a CLI (command line interface), allowing you to perform actions using the CLI rather than the n8n editor. These include starting workflows, and exporting and importing workflows and credentials.
Running CLI commands#
You can use CLI commands with self-hosted n8n. Depending on how you choose to install n8n, there are differences in how to run the commands:
- npm: the
n8ncommand is directly available. The documentation uses this in the examples below.
- Desktop app: in the examples below, replace
n8nwith the absolute path to the
n8n.cmdfile (Windows) or the n8n Desktop executable (Mac). The exact path depends on where you install your Node.js modules. For example, to export all workflow data:
1 2 3 4
# Windows "C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Programs\n8n\resources\app\node_modules\n8n\bin\n8n.cmd" export:workflow --all # Mac /Users/<username>/Desktop/n8n.app/Contents/Resources/app/node_modules/n8n/bin/n8n export:workflow --all
- Docker: the
n8ncommand is available within your Docker container:
docker exec -u node -it <n8n-container-name> <n8n-cli-command>
View the CLI help#
You can see a list of available commands and descriptions in your CLI:
Start a workflow#
You can start workflows directly using the CLI.
Execute a saved workflow by its ID:
Execute a workflow from a workflow file:
Change the active status of a workflow#
You can change the active status of a workflow using the CLI.
These commands operate on your n8n database. If you execute them while n8n is running, the changes don't take effect until you restart n8n.
Set the active status of a workflow by its ID to false:
Set the active status of a workflow by its ID to true:
Set the active status to false for all the workflows:
Set the active status to true for all the workflows:
Export workflows and credentials#
You can export your workflows and credentials from n8n using the CLI.
|--all||Exports all workflows/credentials.|
|--backup||Sets --all --pretty --separate for backups. You can optionally set --output.|
|--id||The ID of the workflow to export.|
|--output||Outputs file name or directory if using separate files.|
|--pretty||Formats the output in an easier to read fashion.|
|--separate||Exports one file per workflow (useful for versioning). Must set a directory using --output.|
|--decrypted||Exports the credentials in a plain text format.|
Export all your workflows to the standard output (terminal):
Export a workflow by its ID and specify the output file name:
Export all workflows to a specific directory in a single file:
Export all the workflows to a specific directory using the
--backup flag (details above):
Export all your credentials to the standard output (terminal):
Export credentials by their ID and specify the output file name:
Export all credentials to a specific directory in a single file:
Export all the credentials to a specific directory using the
--backup flag (details above):
Export all the credentials in plain text format. You can use this to migrate from one installation to another that has a different secret key in the configuration file.
All sensitive information is visible in the files.
Import workflows and credentials#
You can import your workflows and credentials from n8n using the CLI.
Update the IDs
When exporting workflows and credentials, n8n also exports their IDs. If you have workflows and credentials with the same IDs in your existing database, they will be overwritten. To avoid this, delete or change the IDs before importing.
|--input||Input file name or directory if you use --separate.|
Migrating to SQLite
n8n limits workflow and credential names to 128 characters, but SQLite doesn't enforce size limits.
This might result in errors like Data too long for column name during the import process.
In this case, you can edit the names from the n8n interface and export again, or edit the JSON file directly before importing.
Import workflows from a specific file:
Import credentials from a specific file:
Import all the credentials files as JSON from the specified directory:
Clear your existing license from n8n's database and reset n8n to default features:
You can reset user management using the n8n CLI. This returns user management to its pre-setup state. It removes all user accounts.
Use this if you forget your password, and don't have SMTP set up to do password resets by email.
You can run a security audit on your n8n instance, to detect common security issues.