How can I pass arguments to a batch file?

Batch FileArguments

Batch File Problem Overview

I need to pass an ID and a password to a batch file at the time of running rather than hardcoding them into the file.

Here's what the command line looks like:

test.cmd admin P@55w0rd > test-log.txt

Batch File Solutions

Solution 1 - Batch File

Another useful tip is to use %* to mean "all". For example:

echo off
set arg1=%1
set arg2=%2
fake-command /u %arg1% /p %arg2% %*

When you run:

test-command admin password foo bar

the above batch file will run:

fake-command /u admin /p password admin password foo bar

I may have the syntax slightly wrong, but this is the general idea.

Solution 2 - Batch File

Here's how I did it:

@fake-command /u %1 /p %2

Here's what the command looks like:

test.cmd admin P@55w0rd > test-log.txt

The %1 applies to the first parameter the %2 (and here's the tricky part) applies to the second. You can have up to 9 parameters passed in this way.

Solution 3 - Batch File

If you want to intelligently handle missing parameters you can do something like:

IF %1.==. GOTO No1
IF %2.==. GOTO No2
... do stuff...

  ECHO No param 1
  ECHO No param 2


Solution 4 - Batch File

Accessing batch parameters can be simple with %1, %2, ... %9 or also %*,
but only if the content is simple.

There is no simple way for complex contents like "&"^&, as it's not possible to access %1 without producing an error.

set  var=%1
set "var=%1"
set  var=%~1
set "var=%~1"

The lines expand to

set  var="&"&
set "var="&"&"
set  var="&"&
set "var="&"&"

And each line fails, as one of the & is outside of the quotes.

It can be solved with reading from a temporary file a remarked version of the parameter.

@echo off
SETLOCAL DisableDelayedExpansion

for %%a in (1) do (
    set "prompt="
    echo on
    for %%b in (1) do rem * #%1#
    @echo off
) > param.txt

for /F "delims=" %%L in (param.txt) do (
  set "param1=%%L"
SETLOCAL EnableDelayedExpansion
set "param1=!param1:*#=!"
set "param1=!param1:~0,-2!"
echo %%1 is '!param1!'

The trick is to enable echo on and expand the %1 after a rem statement (works also with %2 .. %*).
So even "&"& could be echoed without producing an error, as it is remarked.

But to be able to redirect the output of the echo on, you need the two for-loops.

The extra characters * # are used to be safe against contents like /? (would show the help for REM).
Or a caret ^ at the line end could work as a multiline character, even in after a rem.

Then reading the rem parameter output from the file, but carefully.
The FOR /F should work with delayed expansion off, else contents with "!" would be destroyed.
After removing the extra characters in param1, you got it.

And to use param1 in a safe way, enable the delayed expansion.

Solution 5 - Batch File

Yep, and just don't forget to use variables like %%1 when using if and for and the gang.

If you forget the double %, then you will be substituting in (possibly null) command line arguments and you will receive some pretty confusing error messages.

Solution 6 - Batch File

There is no need to complicate it. It is simply command %1 %2 parameters, for example,

@echo off

xcopy %1 %2 /D /E /C /Q /H /R /K /Y /Z

echo copied %1 to %2


The "pause" displays what the batch file has done and waits for you to hit the ANY key. Save that as xx.bat in the Windows folder.

To use it, type, for example:

xx c:\f\30\*.* f:\sites\30

This batch file takes care of all the necessary parameters, like copying only files, that are newer, etc. I have used it since before Windows. If you like seeing the names of the files, as they are being copied, leave out the Q parameter.

Solution 7 - Batch File

A friend was asking me about this subject recently, so I thought I'd post how I handle command-line arguments in batch files.

This technique has a bit of overhead as you'll see, but it makes my batch files very easy to understand and quick to implement. As well as supporting the following structures:

>template.bat [-f] [--flag] [--namedvalue value] arg1 [arg2][arg3][...]

The jist of it is having the :init, :parse, and :main functions.

> Example usage

>template.bat /?
test v1.23
This is a sample batch file template,
providing command-line arguments and flags.

test.bat [flags] "required argument" "optional argument"

/?, --help           shows this help
/v, --version        shows the version
/e, --verbose        shows detailed output
-f, --flag value     specifies a named parameter value

>template.bat          <- throws missing argument error
(same as /?, plus..)
****                                   ****
****                                   ****

>template.bat -v

>template.bat --version
test v1.23
This is a sample batch file template,
providing command-line arguments and flags.

>template.bat -e arg1
UnNamedArgument:    "arg1"
UnNamedOptionalArg: not provided
NamedFlag:          not provided

>template.bat --flag "my flag" arg1 arg2
UnNamedArgument:    "arg1"
UnNamedOptionalArg: "arg2"
NamedFlag:          "my flag"

>template.bat --verbose "argument #1" --flag "my flag" second
UnNamedArgument:    "argument #1"
UnNamedOptionalArg: "second"
NamedFlag:          "my flag"

> template.bat

@echo off
goto :init

    echo %__NAME% v%__VERSION%
    echo This is a sample batch file template,
    echo providing command-line arguments and flags.
    goto :eof

    echo USAGE:
    echo   %__BAT_NAME% [flags] "required argument" "optional argument" 
    echo.  /?, --help           shows this help
    echo.  /v, --version        shows the version
    echo.  /e, --verbose        shows detailed output
    echo.  -f, --flag value     specifies a named parameter value
    goto :eof

    if "%~1"=="full" call :header & goto :eof
    echo %__VERSION%
    goto :eof

    call :header
    call :usage
    echo ****                                   ****
    echo ****    MISSING "REQUIRED ARGUMENT"    ****
    echo ****                                   ****
    goto :eof

    set "__NAME=%~n0"
    set "__VERSION=1.23"
    set "__YEAR=2017"

    set "__BAT_FILE=%~0"
    set "__BAT_PATH=%~dp0"
    set "__BAT_NAME=%~nx0"

    set "OptHelp="
    set "OptVersion="
    set "OptVerbose="

    set "UnNamedArgument="
    set "UnNamedOptionalArg="
    set "NamedFlag="

    if "%~1"=="" goto :validate

    if /i "%~1"=="/?"         call :header & call :usage "%~2" & goto :end
    if /i "%~1"=="-?"         call :header & call :usage "%~2" & goto :end
    if /i "%~1"=="--help"     call :header & call :usage "%~2" & goto :end

    if /i "%~1"=="/v"         call :version      & goto :end
    if /i "%~1"=="-v"         call :version      & goto :end
    if /i "%~1"=="--version"  call :version full & goto :end

    if /i "%~1"=="/e"         set "OptVerbose=yes"  & shift & goto :parse
    if /i "%~1"=="-e"         set "OptVerbose=yes"  & shift & goto :parse
    if /i "%~1"=="--verbose"  set "OptVerbose=yes"  & shift & goto :parse

    if /i "%~1"=="--flag"     set "NamedFlag=%~2"   & shift & shift & goto :parse
    if /i "%~1"=="-f"         set "NamedFlag=%~2"   & shift & shift & goto :parse

    if not defined UnNamedArgument     set "UnNamedArgument=%~1"     & shift & goto :parse
    if not defined UnNamedOptionalArg  set "UnNamedOptionalArg=%~1"  & shift & goto :parse

    goto :parse

    if not defined UnNamedArgument call :missing_argument & goto :end

    if defined OptVerbose (
        echo **** DEBUG IS ON

    echo UnNamedArgument:    "%UnNamedArgument%"

    if defined UnNamedOptionalArg      echo UnNamedOptionalArg: "%UnNamedOptionalArg%"
    if not defined UnNamedOptionalArg  echo UnNamedOptionalArg: not provided

    if defined NamedFlag               echo NamedFlag:          "%NamedFlag%"
    if not defined NamedFlag           echo NamedFlag:          not provided

    call :cleanup
    exit /B

    REM The cleanup function is only really necessary if you
    REM are _not_ using SETLOCAL.
    set "__NAME="
    set "__VERSION="
    set "__YEAR="

    set "__BAT_FILE="
    set "__BAT_PATH="
    set "__BAT_NAME="

    set "OptHelp="
    set "OptVersion="
    set "OptVerbose="

    set "UnNamedArgument="
    set "UnNamedArgument2="
    set "NamedFlag="

    goto :eof

Solution 8 - Batch File

In batch file

set argument1=%1
set argument2=%2
echo %argument1%
echo %argument2%

%1 and %2 return the first and second argument values respectively.

And in command line, pass the argument

Directory> batchFileName admin P@55w0rd 

Output will be


Solution 9 - Batch File

IF "%1"=="" GOTO Continue

Note: IF "%1"=="" will cause problems if %1 is enclosed in quotes itself.

In that case, use IF [%1]==[] or, in NT 4 (SP6) and later only, IF "%~1"=="" instead.

Solution 10 - Batch File

Let's keep this simple.

Here is the .cmd file.

@echo off
rem this file is named echo_3params.cmd
echo %1
echo %2
echo %3
set v1=%1
set v2=%2
set v3=%3
echo v1 equals %v1%
echo v2 equals %v2%
echo v3 equals %v3%

Here are 3 calls from the command line.

C:\Users\joeco>echo_3params 1abc 2 def  3 ghi
v1 equals 1abc
v2 equals 2
v3 equals def

C:\Users\joeco>echo_3params 1abc "2 def"  "3 ghi"
"2 def"
"3 ghi"
v1 equals 1abc
v2 equals "2 def"
v3 equals "3 ghi"

C:\Users\joeco>echo_3params 1abc '2 def'  "3 ghi"
v1 equals 1abc
v2 equals '2
v3 equals def'


Solution 11 - Batch File

FOR %%A IN (%*) DO (
    REM Now your batch file handles %%A instead of %1
    REM No need to use SHIFT anymore.
    ECHO %%A

This loops over the batch parameters (%*) either they are quoted or not, then echos each parameter.

Solution 12 - Batch File

I wrote a simple read_params script that can be called as a function (or external .bat) and will put all variables into the current environment. It won't modify the original parameters because the function is being called with a copy of the original parameters.

For example, given the following command:

myscript.bat some -random=43 extra -greeting="hello world" fluff

myscript.bat would be able to use the variables after calling the function:

call :read_params %*

echo %random%
echo %greeting%

Here's the function:

if not %1/==/ (
    if not "%__var%"=="" (
        if not "%__var:~0,1%"=="-" (
            goto read_params
        endlocal & set %__var:~1%=%~1
    ) else (
        setlocal & set __var=%~1
    goto read_params
exit /B


  • Cannot load arguments with no value such as -force. You could use -force=true but I can't think of a way to allow blank values without knowing a list of parameters ahead of time that won't have a value.


  • 2/18/2016
  • No longer requires delayed expansion
  • Now works with other command line arguments by looking for - before parameters.

Solution 13 - Batch File

Everyone has answered with really complex responses, however it is actually really simple. %1 %2 %3 and so on are the arguements parsed to the file. %1 is arguement 1, %2 is arguement 2 and so on.

So, if I have a bat script containing this:

@echo off
echo %1

and when I run the batch script, I type in this:

C:> script.bat Hello

The script will simply output this:


This can be very useful for certain variables in a script, such as a name and age. So, if I have a script like this:

@echo off
echo Your name is: %1
echo Your age is: %2

When I type in this:

C:> script.bat Oliver 1000

I get the output of this:

Your name is: Oliver
Your age is: 1000

Solution 14 - Batch File

Inspired by an answer elsewhere by @Jon, I have crafted a more general algorithm for extracting named parameters, optional values, and switches.

Let us say that we want to implement a utility foobar. It requires an initial command. It has an optional parameter --foo which takes an optional value (which cannot be another parameter, of course); if the value is missing it defaults to default. It also has an optional parameter --bar which takes a required value. Lastly it can take a flag --baz with no value allowed. Oh, and these parameters can come in any order.

In other words, it looks like this:

foobar <command> [--foo [<fooval>]] [--bar <barval>] [--baz]

Here is a solution:

REM FooBar parameter demo
REM By Garret Wilson


IF "%CMD%" == "" (
  GOTO usage

IF "%PARAM%" == "--foo" (
  IF NOT "%ARG%" == "" (
    IF NOT "%ARG:~0,2%" == "--" (
      SET FOO=%ARG%
    ) ELSE (
  ) ELSE (
) ELSE IF "%PARAM%" == "--bar" (
  IF NOT "%ARG%" == "" (
  ) ELSE (
    ECHO Missing bar value. 1>&2
    GOTO usage
) ELSE IF "%PARAM%" == "--baz" (
  SET BAZ=true
) ELSE IF "%PARAM%" == "" (
  GOTO endargs
) ELSE (
  ECHO Unrecognized option %1. 1>&2
  GOTO usage
GOTO args

ECHO Command: %CMD%
IF NOT "%FOO%" == "" (
  ECHO Foo: %FOO%
IF NOT "%BAR%" == "" (
  ECHO Bar: %BAR%
IF "%BAZ%" == "true" (
  ECHO Baz

REM TODO do something with FOO, BAR, and/or BAZ
GOTO :eof

ECHO Usage: foobar ^<command^> [--foo [^<fooval^>]] [--bar ^<barval^>] [--baz]
  • Use SETLOCAL so that the variables don't escape into the calling environment.

  • Don't forget to initialize the variables SET FOO=, etc. in case someone defined them in the calling environment.

  • Use %~1 to remove quotes.

  • Use IF "%ARG%" == "" and not IF [%ARG%] == [] because [ and ] don't play will at all with values ending in a space.

  • Even if you SHIFT inside an IF block, the current args such as %~1 don't get updated because they are determined when the IF is parsed. You could use %~1 and %~2 inside the IF block, but it would be confusing because you had a SHIFT. You could put the SHIFT at the end of the block for clarity, but that might get lost and/or confuse people as well. So "capturing" %~1 and %~1 outside the block seems best.

  • You don't want to use a parameter in place of another parameter's optional value, so you have to check IF NOT "%ARG:~0,2%" == "--".

  • Be careful only to SHIFT when you use one of the parameters.

  • The duplicate code SET FOO=%DEFAULT_FOO% is regrettable, but the alternative would be to add an IF "%FOO%" == "" SET FOO=%DEFAULT_FOO% outside the IF NOT "%ARG%" == "" block. However because this is still inside the IF "%PARAM%" == "--foo" block, the %FOO% value would have been evaluated and set before you ever entered the block, so you would never detect that both the --foo parameter was present and also that the %FOO% value was missing.

  • Note that ECHO Missing bar value. 1>&2 sends the error message to stderr.

  • Want a blank line in a Windows batch file? You gotta use ECHO: or one of the variations.

Solution 15 - Batch File

To refer to a set variable in command line you would need to use %a% so for example:

set a=100 
echo %a%  
rem output = 100 

Note: This works for Windows 7 pro.

Solution 16 - Batch File

enter image description here

> For to use looping get all arguments and in pure batch:

Obs: For using without: ?*&|<>

@echo off && setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

 for %%Z in (%*)do set "_arg_=%%Z" && set/a "_cnt+=1+0" && (
     call set "_arg_[!_cnt!]=!_arg_!" && for /l %%l in (!_cnt! 1 !_cnt!
     )do echo/ The argument n:%%l is: !_arg_[%%l]!

goto :eof 

> Your code is ready to do something with the argument number where it needs, like...

 @echo off && setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

 for %%Z in (%*)do set "_arg_=%%Z" && set/a "_cnt+=1+0" && call set "_arg_[!_cnt!]=!_arg_!"
 fake-command /u !_arg_[1]! /p !_arg_[2]! > test-log.txt

Solution 17 - Batch File

Simple solution(even though question is old)


echo off
echo "Batch started"
set arg1=%1
echo "arg1 is %arg1%"
echo on


call "C:\Temp\Test1.bat" pass123


YourLocalPath>call "C:\Temp\test.bat" pass123

YourLocalPath>echo off
"Batch started"
"arg1 is pass123"

Press any key to continue . . .

Where YourLocalPath is current directory path.

To keep things simple store the command param in variable and use variable for comparison.

Its not just simple to write but its simple to maintain as well so if later some other person or you read your script after long period of time, it will be easy to understand and maintain.

To write code inline : see other answers.

Solution 18 - Batch File

Make a new batch file (example: openclass.bat) and write this line in the file:

java %~n1

Then place the batch file in, let's say, the system32 folder, go to your Java class file, right click, Properties, Open with..., then find your batch file, select it and that's that...

It works for me.

PS: I can't find a way to close the cmd window when I close the Java class. For now...

Solution 19 - Batch File

Paired arguments

If you prefer passing the arguments in a key-value pair you can use something like this:

@echo off

setlocal enableDelayedExpansion

:::::  asigning arguments as a key-value pairs:::::::::::::
set counter=0
for %%# in (%*) do (	
	set /a counter=counter+1
	set /a even=counter%%2
	if !even! == 0 (
		echo setting !prev! to %%#
		set "!prev!=%%~#"
	set "prev=%%~#"

:: showing the assignments
echo %one% %two% %three% %four% %five%


And an example :

c:>argumentsDemo.bat one 1 "two" 2 three 3 four 4 "five" 5
1 2 3 4 5

Predefined variables

You can also set some environment variables in advance. It can be done by setting them in the console or setting them from my computer:

@echo off

if defined variable1 (
	echo %variable1%

if defined variable2 (
	echo %variable2%

and calling it like:

c:\>set variable1=1

c:\>set variable2=2


File with listed values

You can also point to a file where the needed values are preset. If this is the script:

@echo off

set "VALUES_FILE=E:\scripts\values.txt"

for /f "usebackq eol=: tokens=* delims=" %%# in ("%VALUES_FILE%") do set "%%#"

echo %key1% %key2% %some_other_key%


and values file is this:

:::: use EOL=: in the FOR loop to use it as a comment



:::: do not left spaces arround the =
:::: or at the begining of the line

some_other_key=something else


the output of calling it will be:

>value1 value2 something else

Of course you can combine all approaches. Check also arguments syntax , shift

Solution 20 - Batch File

If you're worried about security/password theft (that led you to design this solution that takes login credentials at execution instead of static hard coding without the need for a database), then you could store the api or half the code of password decryption or decryption key in the program file, so at run time, user would type username/password in console to be hashed/decrypted before passed to program code for execution via set /p, if you're looking at user entering credentials at run time.

If you're running a script to run your program with various user/password, then command line args will suit you.

If you're making a test file to see the output/effects of different logins, then you could store all the logins in an encrypted file, to be passed as arg to test.cmd, unless you wanna sit at command line & type all the logins until finished.

The number of args that can be supplied is limited to total characters on command line. To overcome this limitation, the previous paragraph trick is a workaround without risking exposure of user passwords.


All content for this solution is sourced from the original question on Stackoverflow.

The content on this page is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

Content TypeOriginal AuthorOriginal Content on Stackoverflow
QuestionKengView Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - Batch FileGreg HewgillView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - Batch FileKengView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 3 - Batch FilethelsdjView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 4 - Batch FilejebView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 5 - Batch FileFrank KruegerView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 6 - Batch FileDearWebbyView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 7 - Batch FilekodybrownView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 8 - Batch FileThe GodfatherView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 9 - Batch FilerightcodeatrighttimeView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 10 - Batch FileLove and peace - Joe CodeswellView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 11 - Batch FileAmr AliView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 12 - Batch FileEvan KennedyView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 13 - Batch Filei Mr Oli iView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 14 - Batch FileGarret WilsonView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 15 - Batch FileCMS_95View Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 16 - Batch FileIo-oIView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 17 - Batch FileAmol PatilView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 18 - Batch FileSvenVPView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 19 - Batch FilenpocmakaView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 20 - Batch FileZimbaView Answer on Stackoverflow