CLI (Command Line Interface)

StarUML can be used as CLI (Command Line Interface) in terminal. With the CLI feature, you can generate various artifacts including source codes, documents (markdown, HTML, etc.), diagram images without launching StarUML GUI. Therefore, you can use CLI in your build script to automate artifacts generation based on your software model.

Creating Alias


It is useful to make an alias for StarUML application in terminal as below:

$ alias staruml='/Applications/'


You can create an alias for StarUML application in PowerShell as below:

PS> Set-Alias -Name staruml -Value 'C:\Program Files\StarUML\StarUML.exe'


In Linux, you don't need to create alias. If you installed StarUML successfully, you can run with staruml in Terminal without additional configuration.


You can use four commands in CLI mode. If you omit the supported commands, StarUML will be launched as GUI mode.

You can see what kind of commands are supported by typing with help (--help) option.

$ staruml --help
$ staruml ejs --help    # help for ejs command
$ staruml image --help  # help for image command
$ staruml html --help   # help for html command
$ staruml pdf --help    # help for pdf command
$ staruml exec --help   # help for exec command


The ejs command allow to generate textual artifacts from a user's software model file (.mdj). You can write your own templates with EJS (Embedded JavaScript templating). You can find simple examples for EJS at

You can generate textual artifacts with the below CLI command:

$ staruml ejs <file> <options>
  • <file> : A model file (.mdj) to load

  • option -t, --template : A template file (.ejs) to apply

  • option -o, --output : output file name (default: output.txt)

  • option -s, --select : query to select elements (default: @Project)

Here is an example to generate a HTML file.

$ staruml ejs myproject.mdj \
  -t class-list.ejs \
  -o class-list.html

You can generate multiple files with the select option as below:

$ staruml ejs myproject.mdj \
  -t java-class.ejs \
  -s @UMLClass \
  -o "out/<%=filenamify(>.java"

This command selects all classes (UMLClass type) in myproject.mdj and then apply the java-class.ejs template for each class and save it as a .java file with the name of the class. You can get more information about the query expression to select elements at the retrieving elements by query section.

Note that you can also use EJS template syntax in the output option. Sometimes the element name cannot be used as a filename (including special characters like /, !, #, ?, etc.). You can use filename() function to convert a string to a legal filename string in output option like -o "out/<%=filenamify(>.java".

In EJS template string (in .ejs files or in output option), you can use below variables:


The image command allows you can generate image files for diagrams:

$ staruml image <file> <options>
  • <file> : A model file (.mdj) to load

  • option -f, --format : image file format. One of png, jpeg, or svg. (default: png)

  • option -o, --output : output file name.

  • option -s, --select : query to select diagrams (default: @Diagram)

Here is an example to export all diagrams as PNG images in out folder:

$ staruml image myproject.mdj \
  -f png \
  -o "out/<%=filenamify(>.png"


The html command allows you can generate HTML docs for the model file:

$ staruml html <file> <options>
  • <file> : A model file (.mdj) to load

  • option -o, --output : output path. (default: ./html-docs)

Here is an example to generate HTML docs:

$ staruml html myproject.mdj


The pdf command allows you can generate PDF document for diagrams:

$ staruml pdf <file> <options>
  • <file> : A model file (.mdj) to load

  • option -o, --output : output file name. (default: output.pdf)

  • option -s, --select : query to select diagrams (default: @Diagram)

  • option -z, --size : page size. One of 4A0, 2A0, A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10, B0, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B10, C0, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10, RA0, RA1, RA2, RA3, RA4, SRA0, SRA1, SRA2, SRA3, SRA4, Executive, Folio, Legal, Letter, Tabloid (default: A4).

  • option -l, --layout : page layout. landscape or portrait. (default: landscape)

  • option -n, --showname : Show diagram name on page top. yes or no. (default: yes)

Here is an example to generate PDF document (A3-sized portrait) including all diagrams:

$ staruml pdf myproject.mdj \
  -o doc.pdf \
  -z A3 \
  -l portrait


The exec command allows you can execute a command:

$ staruml exec <file> <options>
  • <file> : A model file (.mdj) to load before executing a command

  • option -c, --command : command id. (e.g. application:main-log)

  • option -a, --arg : argument for the command

Here is an example to execute a command:

$ staruml exec myproject.mdj \
  --command application:main-log \
  --arg hello

Last updated