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read and edit a Wikibase instance from the command line


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The Command-line interface interface to Wikibase instances.

This tool is mostly a CLI interface to the JS modules wikibase-edit and wikibase-sdk, + some treats for the CLI lovers. And a batch mechanism to process millions of edits.

It was primarily developed to target Wikidata, but as then been decoupled to support any Wikibase instance.

Supported systems: any system that can run NodeJS (Linux, Mac OS, Windows, and more)

This project received a Wikimedia Project Grant.

wikibase           wikidata

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See for version info



  • NodeJs >= v14 (recommended way to install it: use the awesome NVM to install the latest LTS version nvm install --lts)
  • Git

Per feature

  • to use the clipboard option: see copy-paste dependencies


via npm

npm install -g wikibase-cli

Installing globally allows to make the command wb (and wd, the Wikidata-bound verion of wb) accessible from your shell $PATH.

If you later need to update the package to a different version, you can run the same command but specifying the version you want (here 12.2.0)

npm install -g wikibase-cli@12.2.0

or just request the latest version

npm install -g wikibase-cli@latest

via docker

# Might require to be run with sudo depending on your Docker installation
docker run --rm -t maxlath/wikibase-cli
# You can make an alias out of it:
alias wb="docker run --rm -it maxlath/wikibase-cli"
# You're then ready to use it as in the documentation examples
wb label Q1

That would work, but all operations cached data (such as the list of all properties) would need to re-fetch those data for each operations, and all write operations would require you to re-enter your credentials everytime. To work around this, you can allow this container to persist some files on your system, using shared volumes:

mkdir -p $HOME/.config/wikibase-cli $HOME/.cache/wikibase-cli
alias wb='docker run --rm -v "$HOME/.config/wikibase-cli:/root/.config/wikibase-cli" -v "$HOME/.cache/wikibase-cli:/root/.cache/wikibase-cli" -it maxlath/wikibase-cli'

NB: Beware that using wikibase-cli through a Docker container has a performance cost of something like 1s per command, so if you need to run many commands (for instance in a script to make mass edit on the desired Wikibase instance), you should probably rather use the NPM package directly


Read operations

See Read operations

wd summary Q1

Write operations

See Write operations


Allows to persist options

See Config


To get debugging informations, set the DEBUG environment variable:

# Print all wikibase-cli-specific debugging information
export DEBUG=wikibase-cli ; wb
# Also print wikibase-edit debugging information
export DEBUG=wikibase-* ; wb
# Print only request debugging information
export DEBUG=wikibase-cli:request ; wd label Q1

See Also

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