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Command Line Interface for MarkdownLint


npm install -g markdownlint-cli

On macOS you can install via Homebrew:

brew install markdownlint-cli


markdownlint --help

  Usage: markdownlint [options] <files|directories|globs>

  MarkdownLint Command Line Interface


    -h, --help                                  output usage information
    -V, --version                               output the version number
    -c, --config [configFile]                   configuration file (JSON, JSONC, JS, or YAML)
    -d, --dot                                   include files/folders with a dot (for example `.github`)
    -f, --fix                                   fix basic errors (does not work with STDIN)
    -i, --ignore [file|directory|glob]          file(s) to ignore/exclude
    -o, --output [outputFile]                   write issues to file (no console)
    -p, --ignore-path [file]                    path to file with ignore pattern(s)
    -r, --rules  [file|directory|glob|package]  custom rule files
    -s, --stdin                                 read from STDIN (does not work with files)


markdownlint-cli supports advanced globbing patterns like **/*.md (more information). With shells like Bash, it may be necessary to quote globs so they are not interpreted by the shell. For example, --ignore *.md would be expanded by Bash to --ignore ... before invoking markdownlint-cli, causing it to ignore only the first file because --ignore takes a single parameter (though it can be used multiple times). Quoting the glob like --ignore '*.md' passes it through unexpanded and ignores the set of files.

Globbing examples

To lint all Markdown files in a Node.js project (excluding dependencies), the following commands might be used:

Windows CMD: markdownlint **/*.md --ignore node_modules

Linux Bash: markdownlint '**/*.md' --ignore node_modules

Ignoring files

If present in the current folder, a .markdownlintignore file will be used to ignore files and/or directories according to the rules for gitignore. If the -p/--ignore-path option is present, the specified file will be used instead of .markdownlintignore.

The order of operations is:

  • Enumerate files/directories/globs passed on the command line
  • Apply exclusions from -p/--ignore-path (if specified) or .markdownlintignore (if present)
  • Apply exclusions from any -i/--ignore option(s) that are specified

Fixing errors

When the --fix option is specified, markdownlint-cli tries to apply all fixes reported by the active rules and reports any errors that remain. Because this option makes changes to the input files, it is good to make a backup first or work with files under source control so any unwanted changes can be undone.

Because not all rules include fix information when reporting errors, fixes may overlap, and not all errors are fixable, --fix will not usually address all errors.


markdownlint-cli reuses the rules from markdownlint package.

Configuration is stored in JSON, JSONC, YAML, or INI files in the same config format.

A sample configuration file:

  "default": true,
  "MD003": { "style": "atx_closed" },
  "MD007": { "indent": 4 },
  "no-hard-tabs": false,
  "whitespace": false

For more examples, see .markdownlint.jsonc, .markdownlint.yaml, or the style folder.

The CLI argument --config is not required. If it is not provided, markdownlint-cli looks for the file .markdownlint.json/.markdownlint.yaml/.markdownlint.yml in current folder, or for the file .markdownlintrc in the current or all parent folders. The algorithm is described in detail on the rc package page. If the --config argument is provided, the file must be valid JSON, JSONC, JS, or YAML. JS configuration files contain JavaScript code, must have the .js extension, and must export (via module.exports = ...) a configuration object of the form shown above. A JS configuration file may internally require one or more npm packages as a way of reusing configuration across projects.

JS configuration files must be provided via the --config argument; they are not automatically loaded because running untrusted code is a security concern.

Exit codes

markdownlint-cli returns one of the following exit codes:

  • 0: Program ran successfully
  • 1: Linting errors / bad parameter
  • 2: Unable to write -o/--output output file
  • 3: Unable to load -r/--rules custom rule

Use with pre-commit

To run markdownlint-cli as part of a pre-commit workflow, add something like the below to the repos list in the project's .pre-commit-config.yaml:

- repo:
  rev: v0.27.1
  - id: markdownlint

Depending on the environment this workflow runs in, it may be necessary to override the language version of Node.js used by pre-commit.


  • markdownlint - API for this module
  • glob - Pattern matching implementation
  • ignore - .markdownlintignore implementation


MIT © Igor Shubovych