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a lightweight and portable command-line YAML processor. yq uses jq like syntax but works with yaml files as well as json. It doesn't yet support everything jq does - but it does support the most common operations and functions, and more is being added continuously.

yq is written in go - so you can download a dependency free binary for your platform and you are good to go! If you prefer there are a variety of package managers that can be used as well as docker, all listed below.

V4 released!

V4 is now officially released, it's quite different from V3 (sorry for the migration), however it is much more similar to jq, using a similar expression syntax and therefore support much more complex functionality!

If you've been using v3 and want/need to upgrade, checkout the upgrade guide.

Support for v3 will cease August 2021, until then, critical bug and security fixes will still get applied if required.


Download the latest binary


Use wget to download the pre-compiled binaries:

Compressed via tar.gz

wget${VERSION}/${BINARY}.tar.gz -O - |\
  tar xz && mv ${BINARY} /usr/bin/yq

Plain binary

wget${VERSION}/${BINARY} -O /usr/bin/yq &&\
    chmod +x /usr/bin/yq

For instance, VERSION=v4.2.0 and BINARY=yq_linux_amd64

MacOS / Linux via Homebrew:

Using Homebrew

brew install yq

or, for the (deprecated) v3 version:

brew install yq@3

Note that for v3, as it is a versioned brew it will not add the yq command to your path automatically. Please follow the instructions given by brew upon installation.

Linux via snap:

snap install yq

or, for the (deprecated) v3 version:

snap install yq --channel=v3/stable

Snap notes

yq installs with strict confinement in snap, this means it doesn't have direct access to root files. To read root files you can:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq e '.a.path' - 

And to write to a root file you can either use sponge:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq e '.a.path = "value"' - | sudo sponge /etc/myfile

or write to a temporary file:

sudo cat /etc/myfile | yq e '.a.path = "value"' | sudo tee /etc/myfile.tmp
sudo mv /etc/myfile.tmp /etc/myfile
rm /etc/myfile.tmp

Run with Docker

Oneshot use:

docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq <command> [flags] [expression ]FILE...

Run commands interactively:

docker run --rm -it -v "${PWD}":/workdir --entrypoint sh mikefarah/yq

It can be useful to have a bash function to avoid typing the whole docker command:

yq() {
  docker run --rm -i -v "${PWD}":/workdir mikefarah/yq "$@"

Go Get:

GO111MODULE=on go get

Community Supported Installation methods

As these are supported by the community ❤️ - however, they may be out of date with the officially supported releases.


webi yq

See webi Supported by @adithyasunil26 (


choco install yq

Supported by @chillum (


Using MacPorts

sudo port selfupdate
sudo port install yq

Supported by @herbygillot (

Alpine Linux

  • Enable edge/community repo by adding $MIRROR/alpine/edge/community to /etc/apk/repositories
  • Update database index with apk update
  • Install yq with apk add yq

Supported by Tuan Hoang

On Ubuntu 16.04 or higher from Debian package:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys CC86BB64
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rmescandon/yq
sudo apt update
sudo apt install yq -y

Supported by @rmescandon (



Check out the documentation for more detailed and advanced usage.

  yq [flags]
  yq [command]

Available Commands:
  eval             Apply expression to each document in each yaml file given in sequence
  eval-all         Loads _all_ yaml documents of _all_ yaml files and runs expression once
  help             Help about any command
  shell-completion Generate completion script

  -C, --colors        force print with colors
  -e, --exit-status   set exit status if there are no matches or null or false is returned
  -h, --help          help for yq
  -I, --indent int    sets indent level for output (default 2)
  -i, --inplace       update the yaml file inplace of first yaml file given.
  -M, --no-colors     force print with no colors
  -N, --no-doc        Don't print document separators (---)
  -n, --null-input    Don't read input, simply evaluate the expression given. Useful for creating yaml docs from scratch.
  -P, --prettyPrint    pretty print, shorthand for '... style = ""' 
  -j, --tojson        output as json. Set indent to 0 to print json in one line.
  -v, --verbose       verbose mode
  -V, --version       Print version information and quit

Use "yq [command] --help" for more information about a command.

Simple Example:

yq e '.a.b | length' f1.yml f2.yml 

Known Issues / Missing Features