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pflag is a drop-in replacement for Go's flag package, implementing POSIX/GNU-style --flags.

pflag is compatible with the GNU extensions to the POSIX recommendations for command-line options. For a more precise description, see the "Command-line flag syntax" section below.

pflag is available under the same style of BSD license as the Go language, which can be found in the LICENSE file.


pflag is available using the standard go get command.

Install by running:

go get

Run tests by running:

go test


pflag is a drop-in replacement of Go's native flag package. If you import pflag under the name "flag" then all code should continue to function with no changes.

import flag ""

There is one exception to this: if you directly instantiate the Flag struct there is one more field "Shorthand" that you will need to set. Most code never instantiates this struct directly, and instead uses functions such as String(), BoolVar(), and Var(), and is therefore unaffected.

Define flags using flag.String(), Bool(), Int(), etc.

This declares an integer flag, -flagname, stored in the pointer ip, with type *int.

var ip *int = flag.Int("flagname", 1234, "help message for flagname")

If you like, you can bind the flag to a variable using the Var() functions.

var flagvar int
func init() {
    flag.IntVar(&flagvar, "flagname", 1234, "help message for flagname")

Or you can create custom flags that satisfy the Value interface (with pointer receivers) and couple them to flag parsing by

flag.Var(&flagVal, "name", "help message for flagname")

For such flags, the default value is just the initial value of the variable.

After all flags are defined, call


to parse the command line into the defined flags.

Flags may then be used directly. If you're using the flags themselves, they are all pointers; if you bind to variables, they're values.

fmt.Println("ip has value ", *ip)
fmt.Println("flagvar has value ", flagvar)

After parsing, the arguments after the flag are available as the slice flag.Args() or individually as flag.Arg(i). The arguments are indexed from 0 through flag.NArg()-1.

The pflag package also defines some new functions that are not in flag, that give one-letter shorthands for flags. You can use these by appending 'P' to the name of any function that defines a flag.

var ip = flag.IntP("flagname", "f", 1234, "help message")
var flagvar bool
func init() {
    flag.BoolVarP("boolname", "b", true, "help message")
flag.VarP(&flagVar, "varname", "v", 1234, "help message")

Shorthand letters can be used with single dashes on the command line. Boolean shorthand flags can be combined with other shorthand flags.

The default set of command-line flags is controlled by top-level functions. The FlagSet type allows one to define independent sets of flags, such as to implement subcommands in a command-line interface. The methods of FlagSet are analogous to the top-level functions for the command-line flag set.

Command line flag syntax

--flag    // boolean flags only

Unlike the flag package, a single dash before an option means something different than a double dash. Single dashes signify a series of shorthand letters for flags. All but the last shorthand letter must be boolean flags.

// boolean flags

// non-boolean flags
-n 1234

// mixed
-abcs "hello"

Flag parsing stops after the terminator "--". Unlike the flag package, flags can be interspersed with arguments anywhere on the command line before this terminator.

Integer flags accept 1234, 0664, 0x1234 and may be negative. Boolean flags (in their long form) accept 1, 0, t, f, true, false, TRUE, FALSE, True, False. Duration flags accept any input valid for time.ParseDuration.

More info

You can see the full reference documentation of the pflag package at, or through go's standard documentation system by running godoc -http=:6060 and browsing to http://localhost:6060/pkg/ after installation.


Drop-in replacement for Go's flag package, implementing POSIX/GNU-style --flags.







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