Command line

You can run PlantUML using the command line. (See running for ways to run PlantUML from various other tools and workflows).

The most basic way to run it is:

java -jar plantuml.jar file1 file2 file3

This will look for @startXYZ into file1, file2 and file3. For each diagram, a .png file will be created.

For processing a whole directory, you can use:

java -jar plantuml.jar "c:/directory1" "c:/directory2"

This command will search for @startXYZ and @endXYZ into .txt, .tex, .java, .htm, .html, .c, .h, .cpp, .apt, .pu, .puml, .hpp or .hh files of the c:/directory1 and c:/directory2 directories.

Wildcards

You can also use wildcards :

  • For a single character, use ?
  • For zero or more characters, use *
  • For zero or more characters, (including / or \), use a double **

So to process any .cpp files in all directories starting by dummy :

java -jar plantuml.jar "dummy*/*.cpp"

And to process any .cpp files in all directories starting by dummy, and theirs subdirectories :

java -jar plantuml.jar "dummy*/**.cpp"

Excluded files

You can exlude some files from the process using the -x option:

java -jar plantuml.jar -x "**/common/**" -x "**/test/Test*" "dummy*/**/*.cpp"

Output Directory

You can specify an output directory for all images using the -o switch:

java -jar plantuml.jar -o "c:/outputPng" "c:/directory2"

If you recurse into several directory, there is a slight difference if you provide an absolute or a relative path for this output directory:

  • An absolute path will ensure that all images are output to a single, specific, directory.

  • If you provide a relative path then the images is placed in that directory relative to the location of the input file, not the current directory (note: this applies even if the path begins with a .). When Plantuml processes files from multiple directores then the corresponding directory structure is created under the computed output directory.

Types of Output File

Images for your diagrams can be exported in a variety of different formats. By default the format will be a PNG file but another type can be selected using the following extensions:

Param name Short param name Output format Comment
-tpng-png PNG Default
-tsvg-svg SVG Further details can be found here
-teps-eps EPS Further details can be found here
-teps:text-eps:text EPS This option keeps text as text
-tpdf-pdf PDF Further details can be found here
-tvdx-vdx VDX Microsoft Visio Document
-txmi-xmi XMI Further details can be found here
-tscxml-scxml SCXML
-thtml-html HTML Alpha feature: do not use
-ttxt-txt ATXT ASCII art. Further details can be found here
-tutxt-utxt UTXT ASCII art using Unicode characters
-tlatex-latex LATEX Further details can be found here
-tlatex:nopreamble-latex:nopreamble LATEX Contains no LaTeX preamble creating a document
-tbraille-braille PNG Braille image

Example:

java -jar plantuml.jar yourdiagram.txt -ttxt

Configuration File

You can also provide a configuration file which will be included before each diagram:

java -jar plantuml.jar -config "./config.cfg" dir1

Metadata

After all preprocessing (includes etc), PlantUML saves the diagram's source code in the generated PNG Metadata in the form of encoded text.
  • If you does not want plantuml to save the diagram's source code in the generated PNG Metadata, you can during generation use the option -nometadata to disable this functionality (To NOT export metadata in PNG/SVG generated files).
  • It is possible to retrieve this source with the -metadata option. This means that the PNG is almost "editable": you can post it on a corporate wiki where you cannot install plugins, and someone in the future can update the diagram by getting the metadata, editing and re-uploading again. Also, the diagram is stand-alone.
  • Conversely, the -checkmetadata option checks whether the target PNG has the same source and if there are no changes, doesn't regenerate the PNG, thus saving all processing time. This allows you to run PlantUML on a whole folder (or tree with the -recursive option) incrementally.

Sounds like magic! No, merely clever engineering :-)

Example:

  java -jar plantuml.jar -metadata diagram.png > diagram.puml

Unfortunately this option works only with local files. It doesn't work with -pipe so you cannot fetch a URL with eg curl and feed the PNG to PlantUML.

However, the Plantuml server has a similar feature, where it can get a PNG from a URL and extract its metadata.

Exit code

When there are some errors in diagrams the command returns an error (-1) exit code. But even if some diagrams contain some errors, all diagrams are generated, which can be time consuming for large project.

You can use the -failfast flag to change this behavior to stop diagram generations as soon as one error occurs. In that case, some diagrams will be generated, and some will not.

There is also a -failfast2 flag that does a first checking pass. If some error is present, no diagram will be generated at all. In case of error, -failfast2 runs even faster than -failfast, which may be useful for huge project.

Standard report [stdrpt]

Using the -stdrpt (standard report) option, you can change the format of the error output of your PlantUML scripts.

With this option, a different error output of your diagram is possible:
  • -stdrpt
  • -stdrpt:1
  • -stdrpt:2

[Ref. Issue#155 and QA-11805]

Examples, with the bad file file1.pu, where as is written aass:

@startuml
participant "Famous Bob" aass Bob
@enduml

Without any option

java -jar plantuml.jar file1.pu

The error output is:

Error line 2 in file: file1.pu
Some diagram description contains errors

-stdrpt option

java -jar plantuml.jar -stdrpt file1.pu

The error output is:

file1.pu:2:error:Syntax Error?

-stdrpt:1 option

java -jar plantuml.jar -stdrpt:1 file1.pu

The error output is:

protocolVersion=1
status=ERROR
lineNumber=2
label=Syntax Error?
Error line 2 in file: file1.pu
Some diagram description contains errors

-stdrpt:2 option (like -stdrpt)

java -jar plantuml.jar -stdrpt:2 file1.pu

The error output is:

file1.pu:2:error:Syntax Error?

Standard Input & Output

Using the -pipe option, you can easily use PlantUML in your scripts.

With this option, a diagram description is received through standard input and the PNG file is generated to standard output. No file is written on the local file system.

Example:

cat somefile.puml | java -jar plantuml.jar -pipe > somefile.png

The -pipemap option can be used to generate PNG map data (hyperlink rectangles) for use in HTML, eg:

cat somefile.puml | java -jar plantuml.jar -pipemap > somefile.map

The map file looks like this:

<map id="plantuml_map" name="plantuml_map">
<area shape="rect" id="id1" href="http://plantuml.com" title="http://plantuml.com"
      alt="" coords="1,8,88,44"/>
</map>

Note: Also take a look at -pipedelimitor and -pipeNoStderr to implement proper multiplexing of several PNG in a stream (in case the puml file contains multiple diagrams), and error handling.

Help

You can have a help message by launching :

java -jar plantuml.jar -help

This will output:

Usage: java -jar plantuml.jar [options] -gui
        (to execute the GUI)
    or java -jar plantuml.jar [options] [file/dir] [file/dir] [file/dir]
        (to process files or directories)

You can use the following wildcards in files/dirs:
        *       means any characters but '\'
        ?       one and only one character but '\'
        **      means any characters (used to recurse through directories)

where options include:
    -gui                To run the graphical user interface
    -tpng               To generate images using PNG format (default)
    -tsvg               To generate images using SVG format
    -teps               To generate images using EPS format
    -tpdf               To generate images using PDF format
    -tvdx               To generate images using VDX format
    -txmi               To generate XMI file for class diagram
    -tscxml             To generate SCXML file for state diagram
    -thtml              To generate HTML file for class diagram
    -ttxt               To generate images with ASCII art
    -tutxt              To generate images with ASCII art using Unicode characters
    -tlatex             To generate images using LaTeX/Tikz format
    -tlatex:nopreamble  To generate images using LaTeX/Tikz format without preamble
    -o[utput] "dir"     To generate images in the specified directory
    -DVAR1=value        To set a preprocessing variable as if '!define VAR1 value' were used
    -Sparam1=value      To set a skin parameter as if 'skinparam param1 value' were used
    -Ppragma1=value     To set pragma as if '!pragma pragma1 value' were used
    -I\path\to\file     To include file as if '!include file' were used
    -I\path\to\*.puml   To include files with pattern
    -theme xxx          To use a specific theme
    -charset xxx        To use a specific charset (default is windows-1251)
    -e[x]clude pattern  To exclude files that match the provided pattern
    -metadata           To retrieve PlantUML sources from PNG images
    -nometadata         To NOT export metadata in PNG/SVG generated files
    -checkmetadata              Skip PNG files that don't need to be regenerated
    -version            To display information about PlantUML and Java versions
    -v[erbose]          To have log information
    -quiet              To NOT print error message into the console
    -debugsvek          To generate intermediate svek files
    -h[elp]             To display this help message
    -testdot            To test the installation of graphviz
    -graphvizdot "exe"  To specify dot executable
    -p[ipe]             To use stdin for PlantUML source and stdout for PNG/SVG/EPS generation
    -encodesprite 4|8|16[z] "file"      To encode a sprite at gray level (z for compression) from an image
    -computeurl|-encodeurl      To compute the encoded URL of a PlantUML source file
    -decodeurl          To retrieve the PlantUML source from an encoded URL
    -syntax             To report any syntax error from standard input without generating images
    -language           To print the list of PlantUML keywords
    -checkonly          To check the syntax of files without generating images
    -failfast           To stop processing as soon as a syntax error in diagram occurs
    -failfast2          To do a first syntax check before processing files, to fail even faster
    -noerror            To skip images when error in diagrams
    -duration           To print the duration of complete diagrams processing
    -nbthread N         To use (N) threads for processing
    -nbthread auto      To use 4 threads for processing
    -timeout N          Processing timeout in (N) seconds. Defaults to 15 minutes (900 seconds).
    -author[s]          To print information about PlantUML authors
    -overwrite          To allow to overwrite read only files
    -printfonts         To print fonts available on your system
    -enablestats        To enable statistics computation
    -disablestats       To disable statistics computation (default)
    -htmlstats          To output general statistics in file plantuml-stats.html
    -xmlstats           To output general statistics in file plantuml-stats.xml
    -realtimestats      To generate statistics on the fly rather than at the end
    -loopstats          To continuously print statistics about usage
    -splash             To display a splash screen with some progress bar
    -progress           To display a textual progress bar in console
    -pipeimageindex N   To generate the Nth image with pipe option
    -stdlib             To print standard library info
    -extractstdlib      To extract PlantUML Standard Library into stdlib folder
    -filedir xxx        To behave as if the PlantUML source is in this dir (only affects '-pipe' and PicoWeb 'POST /render')
    -filename "example.puml"    To override %filename% variable
    -preproc            To output preprocessor text of diagrams
    -cypher             To cypher texts of diagrams so that you can share them
    -picoweb            To start internal HTTP Server. See https://plantuml.com/picoweb

If needed, you can setup the environment variable GRAPHVIZ_DOT.