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Command-line YAML and XML processor - jq wrapper for YAML/XML documents
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yq: Command-line YAML/XML processor - jq wrapper for YAML and XML documents


pip install yq

Before using yq, you also have to install its dependency, jq. See the jq installation instructions for details and directions specific to your platform.

On macOS, yq is also available on Homebrew: use brew install python-yq.


yq takes YAML input, converts it to JSON, and pipes it to jq:

cat input.yml | yq

Like in jq, you can also specify input filename(s) as arguments:

yq input.yml

By default, no conversion of jq output is done. Use the --yaml-output/-y option to convert it back into YAML:

cat input.yml | yq -y

Mapping key order is preserved. By default, custom YAML tags and styles in the input are ignored. Use the --yaml-roundtrip/-Y option to preserve YAML tags and styles by representing them as extra items in their enclosing mappings and sequences while in JSON:

yq -Y input.yml

Use the --width/-w option to pass the line wrap width for string literals. With -y/-Y, files can be edited in place like with sed -i: yq -yi .foo=1 *.yml. All other command line arguments are forwarded to jq. yq forwards the exit code jq produced, unless there was an error in YAML parsing, in which case the exit code is 1. See the jq manual for more details on jq features and options.

Because YAML treats JSON as a dialect of YAML, you can use yq to convert JSON to YAML: yq -y . < in.json > out.yml.

Preserving tags and styles using the -Y (--yaml-roundtrip) option

The -Y option helps preserve custom string styles and tags in your document. For example, consider the following document (an AWS CloudFormation template fragment):

    Type: 'AWS::ElasticLoadBalancing::LoadBalancer'
      AvailabilityZones: !GetAZs ''
        - !Ref Ec2Instance1
        - !Ref Ec2Instance2
      Description: >-
        Load balancer for Big Important Service.

        Good thing it's managed by this template.

Passing this document through yq -y .Resources.ElasticLoadBalancer will drop custom tags, such as !Ref, and styles, such as the folded style of the Description field:

Type: AWS::ElasticLoadBalancing::LoadBalancer
  AvailabilityZones: ''
    - Ec2Instance1
    - Ec2Instance2
  Description: 'Load balancer for Big Important Service.

    Good thing it''s managed by this template.'

By contrast, passing it through yq -Y .Resources.ElasticLoadBalancer will preserve tags and styles:

Type: 'AWS::ElasticLoadBalancing::LoadBalancer'
  AvailabilityZones: !GetAZs ''
    - !Ref 'Ec2Instance1'
    - !Ref 'Ec2Instance2'
  Description: >-
    Load balancer for Big Important Service.

    Good thing it's managed by this template.

To accomplish this in -Y mode, yq carries extra metadata (mapping pairs and sequence values) in the JSON representation of your document for any custom tags or styles that it finds. When converting the JSON back into YAML, it parses this metadata, re-applies the tags and styles, and discards the extra pairs and values.


The -Y option is incompatible with jq filters that do not expect the extra information injected into the document to preserve the YAML formatting. For example, a jq filter that counts entries in the Instances array will come up with 4 entries instead of 2. A filter that expects all array entries to be mappings may break due to the presence of string metadata keys. Check your jq filter for compatibility/semantic validity when using the -Y option.

XML support

yq also supports XML. The yq package installs an executable, xq, which transcodes XML to JSON using xmltodict and pipes it to jq. Roundtrip transcoding is available with the xq --xml-output/xq -x option. Multiple XML documents can be passed in separate files/streams as xq a.xml b.xml. Entity expansion and DTD resolution is disabled to avoid XML parsing vulnerabilities.

Compatibility note

This package's release series available on PyPI begins with version 2.0.0. Versions of yq prior to 2.0.0 are distributed by and are not related to this package. No guarantees of compatibility are made between abesto/yq and kislyuk/yq. This package follows the Semantic Versioning 2.0.0 standard. To ensure proper operation, declare dependency version ranges according to SemVer.


  • Andrey Kislyuk



Please report bugs, issues, feature requests, etc. on GitHub.


Licensed under the terms of the Apache License, Version 2.0.
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