CLI Primer

If you aren’t familiar with command line interfaces, the following sections provide some basic information about command line and terminal concepts used in this documentation.

Command inputs and structure

The Antora CLI accepts command inputs in the form of a base call, a command (for the program), options, and arguments. Once entered in a terminal, the command is executed using the specified inputs.

$ antora <command> [options] <arguments>
base call

The Antora CLI command starts with the base call, which is the name of the program (i.e., antora). This tells the command interpreter to execute the Antora CLI. If the system cannot find the program name by itself, you must specify the path to the antora bin script instead (e.g., npx antora).


A command tells Antora what operation to perform. Only one command can be specified at a time.


One or more options can be specified after a command. The full name of an option is prefixed with two hyphens (--); a shorthand name is prefixed with one hyphen (-).

Some options toggle behavior on or off and others accept values. Options that accept values can be written using a single space between the option’s name and value (--option value) or using an equals sign between the name and value (--option=value).


An argument is entered after the base call and any options. You can think of an argument as an anonymous options. The generate command only accepts a single argument, which is the path to the playbook file.

environment variable

Environment variables (which are not present in the command itself) are read from your terminal’s state. An environment variable overrides the corresponding key in the playbook file, but is itself overridden by the corresponding CLI option.

Terminal conventions

If you’re new to terminal applications, here are the common conventions used in this documentation that represent a terminal and describe how you’ll interact with it.

Prompt ($)

The terminal command prompt is shown as a dollar sign ($) in the examples throughout this documentation. The prompt you see when you open your terminal depends on the terminal application you use. Don’t include the $ prompt when you type or copy commands.

Working directory

Every command is run from a current working directory. The processes associated with a command’s inputs are interpreted relative to the working directory. Your current working directory is often displayed directly to the left of the terminal’s command prompt ($), however, this is dependent on the terminal application you’re using and how its configured.

A few examples in this documentation show the name of the working directory in front of the prompt as a helpful hint.

name-of-working-directory $ antora antora-playbook

Don’t include this text or the prompt when copying the command.

Replaceable input

Many options are defined according to your content, environment, and site requirements. Some command line examples in this documentation call out the input you define with a set of angle brackets (< >). The text inside the brackets describes the input or represents a common input format, e.g., --require <path/to/library-script>, --title '<Title of Your Site>'. When composing the command in your terminal, replace the representative text with your input and don’t enclose it in angle brackets (< >).

Command output

If a command returns information, the output is displayed in your terminal on the lines beneath the executed command. The command prompt ($) is not displayed on the output lines.