This page describes how to setup and use the QMK CLI.


The QMK CLI makes building and working with QMK keyboards easier. We have provided a number of commands to simplify and streamline tasks such as obtaining and compiling the QMK firmware, creating keymaps, and more.


The CLI requires Python 3.5 or greater. We try to keep the number of requirements small but you will also need to install the packages listed in requirements.txt.

Global CLI

QMK provides an installable CLI that can be used to setup your QMK build environment, work with QMK, and which makes working with multiple copies of qmk_firmware easier. We recommend installing and updating this periodically.

Install Using Homebrew (macOS, some Linux)

If you have installed Homebrew you can tap and install QMK:

brew tap qmk/qmk
brew install qmk
export QMK_HOME='~/qmk_firmware' # Optional, set the location for `qmk_firmware`
qmk setup # This will clone `qmk/qmk_firmware` and optionally set up your build environment

Install Using easy_install or pip

If your system is not listed above you can install QMK manually. First ensure that you have python 3.5 (or later) installed and have installed pip. Then install QMK with this command:

pip3 install qmk
export QMK_HOME='~/qmk_firmware' # Optional, set the location for `qmk_firmware`
qmk setup # This will clone `qmk/qmk_firmware` and optionally set up your build environment

Packaging For Other Operating Systems

We are looking for people to create and maintain a qmk package for more operating systems. If you would like to create a package for your OS please follow these guidelines:

  • Follow best practices for your OS when they conflict with these guidelines

    • Document why in a comment when you do deviate

  • Install using a virtualenv

  • Instruct the user to set the environment variable QMK_HOME to have the firmware source checked out somewhere other than ~/qmk_firmware.

Local CLI

If you do not want to use the global CLI there is a local CLI bundled with qmk_firmware. You can find it in qmk_firmware/bin/qmk. You can run the qmk command from any directory and it will always operate on that copy of qmk_firmware.


$ ~/qmk_firmware/bin/qmk hello
Ψ Hello, World!

Local CLI Limitations

There are some limitations to the local CLI compared to the global CLI:

  • The local CLI does not support qmk setup or qmk clone

  • The local CLI always operates on the same qmk_firmware tree, even if you have multiple repositories cloned.

  • The local CLI does not run in a virtualenv, so it's possible that dependencies will conflict

CLI Commands

qmk cformat

This command formats C code using clang-format. Run it with no arguments to format all core code, or pass filenames on the command line to run it on specific files.


qmk cformat [file1] [file2] [...] [fileN]

qmk compile

This command allows you to compile firmware from any directory. You can compile JSON exports from https://config.qmk.fm or compile keymaps in the repo.

Usage for Configurator Exports:

qmk compile <configuratorExport.json>

Usage for Keymaps:

qmk compile -kb <keyboard_name> -km <keymap_name>

qmk flash

This command is similar to qmk compile, but can also target a bootloader. The bootloader is optional, and is set to :flash by default. To specify a different bootloader, use -bl <bootloader>. Visit https://docs.qmk.fm/#/flashing for more details of the available bootloaders.

Usage for Configurator Exports:

qmk flash <configuratorExport.json> -bl <bootloader>

Usage for Keymaps:

qmk flash -kb <keyboard_name> -km <keymap_name> -bl <bootloader>

Listing the Bootloaders

qmk flash -b

qmk config

This command lets you configure the behavior of QMK. For the full qmk config documentation see CLI Configuration.


qmk config [-ro] [config_token1] [config_token2] [...] [config_tokenN]

qmk docs

This command starts a local HTTP server which you can use for browsing or improving the docs. Default port is 8936.


qmk docs [-p PORT]

qmk doctor

This command examines your environment and alerts you to potential build or flash problems.


qmk doctor

qmk json-keymap

Creates a keymap.c from a QMK Configurator export.


qmk json-keymap [-o OUTPUT] filename

qmk kle2json

This command allows you to convert from raw KLE data to QMK Configurator JSON. It accepts either an absolute file path, or a file name in the current directory. By default it will not overwrite info.json if it is already present. Use the -f or --force flag to overwrite.


qmk kle2json [-f] <filename>


$ qmk kle2json kle.txt
☒ File info.json already exists, use -f or --force to overwrite.
$ qmk kle2json -f kle.txt -f
Ψ Wrote out to info.json

qmk list-keyboards

This command lists all the keyboards currently defined in qmk_firmware


qmk list-keyboards

qmk new-keymap

This command creates a new keymap based on a keyboard's existing default keymap.


qmk new-keymap [-kb KEYBOARD] [-km KEYMAP]

qmk pyformat

This command formats python code in qmk_firmware.


qmk pyformat

qmk pytest

This command runs the python test suite. If you make changes to python code you should ensure this runs successfully.


qmk pytest