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jrnl - Man Page

manual page for jrnl v4.1

Examples (TL;DR)


usage: __main__.py [--debug] [--help] [--version] [--list] [--encrypt]

[--decrypt] [--import] [--template TEMPLATE] [-on DATE] [-today-in-history] [-month DATE] [-day DATE] [-year DATE] [-from DATE] [-to DATE] [-contains TEXT] [-and] [-starred] [-tagged] [-n [NUMBER]] [-not [TAG/FLAG]] [--edit] [--delete] [--change-time [DATE]] [--format TYPE] [--tags] [--short] [--config-override CONFIG_KV_PAIR CONFIG_KV_PAIR] [--config-file CONFIG_FILE_PATH] [ ...]

Collect your thoughts and notes without leaving the command line

Optional Arguments


Print information useful for troubleshooting

Standalone Commands

These commands will exit after they complete. You may only run one at a time.


Show this help message


Print version information


List all configured journals. Optional parameters: --format [json or yaml]


Encrypt selected journal with a password


Decrypt selected journal and store it in plain text


Import entries from another journal. Optional parameters: --file FILENAME (default: uses stdin) --format [jrnl] (default: jrnl)


To add a new entry into your journal, simply write it on the command line:

jrnl yesterday: I was walking and I found this big log.

The date and the following colon ("yesterday:") are optional. If you leave them out, "now" will be used:

jrnl Then I rolled the log over.

Also, you can mark extra special entries ("star" them) with an asterisk:

jrnl *And underneath was a tiny little stick.

Please note that asterisks might be a special character in your shell, so you might have to escape them. When in doubt about escaping, put quotes around your entire entry:

jrnl "saturday at 2am: *Then I was like 'That log had a child!'"

--template TEMPLATE

Path to template file. Can be a local path, absolute path, or a path relative to $XDG_DATA_HOME/jrnl/templates/


To find entries from your journal, use any combination of the below filters.

-on DATE

Show entries on this date


Show entries of today over the years

-month DATE

Show entries on this month of any year

-day DATE

Show entries on this day of any month

-year DATE

Show entries of a specific year

-from DATE

Show entries after, or on, this date

-to DATE

Show entries before, or on, this date (alias: -until)

-contains TEXT

Show entries containing specific text (put quotes around text with spaces)


Show only entries that match all conditions, like saying "x AND y" (default: OR)


Show only starred entries (marked with *)


Show only entries that have at least one tag


Show a maximum of NUMBER entries (note: '-n 3' and '-3' have the same effect)

-not [TAG/FLAG]

If passed a string, will exclude entries with that tag. Can be also used before -starred or -tagged flags, to exclude starred or tagged entries respectively.

Searching Options:

These help you do various tasks with the selected entries from your search. If used on their own (with no search), they will act on your entire journal


Opens the selected entries in your configured editor


Interactively deletes selected entries

--change-time [DATE]

Change timestamp for selected entries (default: now)

--format TYPE

Display selected entries in an alternate format. TYPE can be: boxed, dates, fancy, json, markdown, md, pretty, short, tags, text, txt, xml, or yaml. Optional parameters: --file FILENAME Write output to file instead of stdout


Alias for '--format tags'. Returns a list of all tags and number of occurrences


Show only titles or line containing the search tags

Config file override

Apply a one-off override of the config file option


Override configured key-value pair with CONFIG_KV_PAIR for this command invocation only. Examples: - Use a different editor for this jrnl entry, call: jrnl --config-override editor "nano" - Override color selections jrnl --config-override colors.body blue --configoverride colors.title green

Specifies alternate config to be used

Applies alternate config for current session

--config-file CONFIG_FILE_PATH

Overrides default (created when first installed) config file for this command only. Examples: - Use a work config file for this jrnl entry, call: jrnl --config-file /home/user1/work_config.yaml - Use a personal config file stored on a thumb drive: jrnl --config-file /media/user1/my-thumbdrive/personal_config.yaml

We gratefully thank all contributors! Come see the whole list of code and financial contributors at https://github.com/jrnl-org/jrnl And special thanks to Bad Lip Reading for the Yoda joke in the Writing section above :)


June 2024 jrnl v4.1