Command Line Options - KeePass


Command Line

Command Line Options

Command line options to automate KeePass tasks.

You can pass a file path in the command line in order to tell KeePass to open this file immediately after startup.

Switches can be either prefixed using a minus (-) or two minus characters (--). On Windows, a slash (/) is another alternative. The prefixes are equivalent; it doesn't matter which one you use.

Database file. The database file location is passed as argument. Only one database file is allowed. If the path contains a space, it must be enclosed in quotes (").

Password. Passwords are passed using the -pw: option. In order to pass 'abc' as password, you would add the following argument to the command line: -pw:abc. Note that there must be no space between the ':' and the password. If your password contains a space, you must enclose it in quotes. For example: -pw:"my secret password".

Key file. For supplying the key file location, the -keyfile: switch exists. The same rules as above apply, just that you specify the key file location: -keyfile:D:\pwsafe.key. You also need to quote the value, if it contains a space, tab or other whitespace characters.

Pre-selection. In order to just pre-select a key file, use the -preselect: option. For example, if you lock your database with a password and a key file, but just want to type in the password (so, without selecting the key file manually), your command line would look like this:

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabase.kdb" -preselect:C:\pwsafe.key

KeePass would then show a prompt for the password for the database, but in the key file list, the C:\pwsafe.key file is selected already. When using the preselect switch, KeePass by default activates the key file switch and sets the focus to the password edit window.

Note the difference! The preselect switch just pre-selects the key file for you and displays the login prompt. In contrast, the keyfile switch doesn't prompt you for the (maybe missing) password.

The -minimize command line argument makes KeePass start up minimized.

The -auto-type command line argument makes all previous KeePass instances perform a global auto-type.

If the -readonly switch is present in the command line, KeePass will open the database in read-only mode.

The -lock switch forces KeePass to open in locked mode (i.e. you will not be asked immediately for the master key when also passing a database path).

The order of the arguments is arbitrary.

Text  Usage Examples

Open the database file 'C:\My Documents\MyDatabase.kdb' (KeePass will prompt you for the password and/or key file location):

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabase.kdb"

If you got a database that is locked with a password 'abc', you could open it like this:

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabaseWithPw.kdb" -pw:abc

If your USB stick always mounts to drive F: and you've locked your database with a key file on the USB stick, you could open your database as follows:

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabaseWithFile.kdb" -keyfile:F:\pwsafe.key

If you've locked your database using a password and a key file, you can combine the two switches and open your database as follows:

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabaseWithTwo.kdb" -pw:abc -keyfile:F:\pwsafe.key

You have locked your database using a password and a key file, but only want to have the key file pre-selected (i.e. you want to get prompted for the password), your command line would look like this:

KeePass.exe "C:\My Documents\MyDatabaseWithTwo.kdb" -preselect:F:\pwsafe.key

Text  Starting KeePass using a Batch File

Batch files can be used to start KeePass. Mostly you want to specify some of the parameters listed above. You can theoretically simply put the command line (i.e. application path and parameters) into the batch file, but this is not recommended as the command window will stay open until KeePass is closed. The following method is recommended instead:

START "" KeePass.exe ..\MyDb.kdb -pw:MySecretPw

This START command will run KeePass (which opens the ..\MyDb.kdb file using MySecretPw as password). KeePass is assumed to be in the same directory (working directory) as the batch file, otherwise you need to specify a different path.

START executes the given command line and immediately exits, i.e. it doesn't wait until the application is terminated. Consequently, the command window will disappear after KeePass has been started.

Please note the two quotes (") after the START command. These quotes are required if the application path contains quotes (in the example above, the quotes could also be removed). If you want to learn more about the START command syntax, type START /? into the command window.

Text  Closing/Locking KeePass using a Batch File

To close all currently running KeePass instances, call KeePass.exe with the '--exit-all' parameter:

KeePass.exe --exit-all

All KeePass windows will attempt to close. If a database has been modified, KeePass will ask you whether you want to save or not. If you wish to save in any case (i.e. a forced exit without any confirmation dialog), enable the 'Automatically save database on exit and workspace locking' option in 'Tools' - 'Options...' - 'Advanced'.

The KeePass instance that has been created by the command above is not visible (i.e. it does not show a main window) and will immediately terminate after sending close requests to the other instances.

KeePass ≥ 1.17 and ≥ 2.10 support the --lock-all and --unlock-all command line options to lock/unlock the workspaces of all other KeePass instances.