# CLI commands for n8n

# Start a workflow

Workflows can not only be started by triggers, webhooks, or manually via the Editor. It is also possible to start them directly via the CLI.

Execute a saved workflow by its ID:

n8n execute --id <ID>

Execute a workflow from a workflow file:

n8n execute --file <WORKFLOW_FILE>

# Change the active status of a workflow

You can change the active status of a workflow via the CLI.

Set the active status of a workflow by its ID to false:

n8n update:workflow --id=<ID> --active=false

Set the active status of a workflow by its ID to true:

n8n update:workflow --id=<ID> --active=true

Set the active status to false for all the workflows:

n8n update:workflow --all --active=false

Set the active status to true for all the workflows:

n8n update:workflow --all --active=true

# Export workflows and credentials

You can export your workflows and credentials from n8n via the CLI.

There are a couple of flags available for this.

Flag Description
--help Help prompt.
--all Exports all workflows/credentials.
--backup Sets --all --pretty --separate for simple backups. Only --output has to be set additionally.
--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 inform a directory via --output.
--decrypted Exports the credentials in a decrypted (plain text) format.

# Workflows

Export all your workflows to the standard output (terminal):

n8n export:workflow --all

Export a workflow by its ID and specify the output file name:

n8n export:workflow --id=<ID> --output=file.json

Export all workflows to a specific directory in a single file:

n8n export:workflow --all --output=backups/latest/

Export all the workflows to a specific directory using the --backup flag (details above):

n8n export:workflow --backup --output=backups/latest/

# Credentials

Export all your credentials to the standard output (terminal):

n8n export:credentials --all

Export credentials by their ID and specify the output file name:

n8n export:credentials --id=<ID> --output=file.json

Export all credentials to a specific directory in a single file:

n8n export:credentials --all --output=backups/latest/

Export all the credentials to a specific directory using the --backup flag (details above):

n8n export:credentials --backup --output=backups/latest/

Export all the credentials in a decrypted (plain text) format. This can be used to migrate from one installation to another that has a different secret key (in the config file).

Note: All sensitive information will be visible in the files.

n8n export:credentials --all --decrypted --output=backups/decrypted.json

# Import workflows and credentials

You can import your workflows and credentials from n8n via the CLI.

💡 Update the IDs

When exporting workflows and credentials, their IDs also get exported. If you have workflows and credentials with the same IDs in your existing database, they will get overwritten. To avoid this, delete or change the IDs before importing.

There are a couple of flags available for this.

Flag Description
--help Help prompt.
--input Input file name or directory if --separate is used.
--separate Imports *.json files from directory provided by --input.

💡 Migrating to different database systems

Workflow and credential names are limited to 128 characters, but SQLite does not enforce size limits correctly.

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.

# Workflows

Import workflows from a specific file:

n8n import:workflow --input=file.json

Import all the workflow files (*.json) from the specified directory:

n8n import:workflow --separate --input=backups/latest/

# Credentials

Import credentials from a specific file:

n8n import:credentials --input=file.json

Import all the credentials files (*.json) from the specified directory:

n8n import:credentials --separate --input=backups/latest/