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Templates are used to change the contents of a file depending on the environment. For example, you can use the hostname of the machine to create different configurations on different machines.

chezmoi uses the text/template syntax from Go extended with text template functions from sprig.

When reading files from the source state, chezmoi interprets them as a template if either of the following is true:

  • The file name has a .tmpl suffix.

  • The file is in the .chezmoitemplates directory, or a subdirectory of .chezmoitemplates.

Template data

chezmoi provides a variety of template variables. For a full list, run

$ chezmoi data

These come from a variety of sources (later data overwrite earlier ones):

  • Variables populated by chezmoi are in .chezmoi, for example .chezmoi.os.

  • Variables created by you in the .chezmoidata.$FORMAT configuration file. The various supported formats (json, jsonc, toml and yaml) are read in alphabetical order.

  • Variables created by you in the data section of the configuration file.

Furthermore, chezmoi provides a variety of functions to retrieve data at runtime from password managers, environment variables, and the filesystem.

Creating a template file

There are several ways to create a template:

  • When adding a file for the first time, pass the --template argument, for example:

    $ chezmoi add --template ~/.zshrc
  • If a file is already managed by chezmoi, but is not a template, you can make it a template by running, for example:

    $ chezmoi chattr +template ~/.zshrc
  • You can create a template manually in the source directory by giving it a .tmpl extension, for example:

    $ chezmoi cd
    $ $EDITOR dot_zshrc.tmpl
  • Templates in .chezmoitemplates must be created manually, for example:

    $ chezmoi cd
    $ mkdir -p .chezmoitemplates
    $ cd .chezmoitemplates
    $ $EDITOR mytemplate

Editing a template file

The easiest way to edit a template is to use chezmoi edit, for example:

$ chezmoi edit ~/.zshrc

This will open the source file for ~/.zshrc in $EDITOR. When you quit the editor, chezmoi will check the template syntax.

If you want the changes you make to be immediately applied after you quit the editor, use the --apply option, for example:

$ chezmoi edit --apply ~/.zshrc

Testing templates

Templates can be tested and debugged with chezmoi execute-template, which treats each of its arguments as a template and executes it. The templates are interpreted and the results are output to standard output, making it useful for testing small template fragments:

$ chezmoi execute-template '{{ .chezmoi.hostname }}'

Without arguments, chezmoi execute-template will read the template from standard input, which is useful for testing whole files:

$ chezmoi cd
$ chezmoi execute-template < dot_zshrc.tmpl

If file redirection does not work (as when using PowerShell), the contents of a file can be piped into chezmoi execute-template:

$ cat foo.txt | chezmoi execute-template

Template syntax

Template actions are written inside double curly brackets, {{ and }}. Actions can be variables, pipelines, or control statements. Text outside actions is copied literally.

Variables are written literally, for example:

{{ .chezmoi.hostname }}

Conditional expressions can be written using if, else if, else, and end, for example:

{{ if eq .chezmoi.os "darwin" }}
# darwin
{{ else if eq .chezmoi.os "linux" }}
# linux
{{ else }}
# other operating system
{{ end }}

For a full description of the template syntax, see the text/template documentation.

Removing whitespace

For formatting reasons you might want to leave some whitespace after or before the template code. This whitespace will remain in the final file, which you might not want.

A solution for this is to place a minus sign and a space next to the brackets. So {{- for the left brackets and -}} for the right brackets. Here's an example:

HOSTNAME={{- .chezmoi.hostname }}

This will result in


Notice that this will remove any number of tabs, spaces and even newlines and carriage returns.

Simple logic

A very useful feature of chezmoi templates is the ability to perform logical operations.

# common config
export EDITOR=vi

# machine-specific configuration
{{- if eq .chezmoi.hostname "work-laptop" }}
# this will only be included in ~/.bashrc on work-laptop
{{- end }}

In this example chezmoi will look at the hostname of the machine and if that is equal to "work-laptop", the text between the if and the end will be included in the result.

Boolean functions

Function Return value
eq Returns true if the first argument is equal to any of the other arguments
not Returns the boolean negation of its single argument
and Returns the boolean AND of its arguments by returning the first empty argument or the last argument, that is, and x y behaves as if x then y else x. All the arguments are evaluated
or Returns the boolean OR of its arguments by returning the first non-empty argument or the last argument, that is, or x y behaves as if x then x else y All the arguments are evaluated

Integer functions

Function Return value
len Returns the integer length of its argument
eq Returns the boolean truth of arg1 == arg2
ne Returns the boolean truth of arg1 != arg2
lt Returns the boolean truth of arg1 < arg2
le Returns the boolean truth of arg1 <= arg2
gt Returns the boolean truth of arg1 > arg2
ge Returns the boolean truth of arg1 >= arg2

More complicated logic

Up until now, we have only seen if statements that can handle at most two variables. In this part we will see how to create more complicated expressions.

You can also create more complicated expressions. The eq command can accept multiple arguments. It will check if the first argument is equal to any of the other arguments.

{{ if eq "foo" "foo" "bar" }}hello{{end}}
{{ if eq "foo" "bar" "foo" }}hello{{end}}
{{ if eq "foo" "bar" "bar" }}hello{{end}}

The first two examples will output hello and the last example will output nothing.

The operators or and and can also accept multiple arguments.

Chaining operators

You can perform multiple checks in one if statement.

{{ if (and (eq .chezmoi.os "linux") (ne .email "")) }}
{{ end }}

This will check if the operating system is Linux and the configured email is not the home email. The brackets are needed here, because otherwise all the arguments will be give to the and command.

This way you can chain as many operators together as you like.

Helper functions

chezmoi has added multiple helper functions to the text/template syntax.

chezmoi includes sprig, an extension to the text/template format that contains many helper functions. Take a look at their documentation for a list.

chezmoi adds a few functions of its own as well. Take a look at the reference for complete list.

Template variables

chezmoi defines a few useful templates variables that depend on the system you are currently on. A list of the variables defined by chezmoi can be found here.

There are, however more variables than that. To view the variables available on your system, execute:

$ chezmoi data

This outputs the variables in JSON format by default. To access the variable chezmoi.kernel.osrelease in a template, use

{{ .chezmoi.kernel.osrelease }}

This way you can also access the variables you defined yourself.

Using .chezmoitemplates

Files in the .chezmoitemplates subdirectory are parsed as templates and are available to be included in other templates using the template action with a name equal to their relative path to the .chezmoitemplates directory.

By default, such templates will be executed with nil data. If you want to access template variables (e.g. .chezmoi.os) in the template you must pass the data explicitly.

For example:

{{ if eq .chezmoi.os "linux" }}
# linux config
{{ else }}
# non-linux config
{{ end }}

{{ template "part.tmpl" . }}

Using .chezmoitemplates for creating similar files

When you have multiple similar files, but they aren't quite the same, you can create a template file in the directory .chezmoitemplates. This template can be inserted in other template files, for example:

Create .local/share/chezmoi/.chezmoitemplates/alacritty:

some: config
fontsize: {{ . }}
more: config

Notice the file name doesn't have to end in .tmpl, as all files in the directory .chezmoitemplates are interpreted as templates.

Create other files using the template ~/.local/share/chezmoi/small-font.yml.tmpl

{{- template "alacritty" 12 -}}


{{- template "alacritty" 18 -}}

Here we're calling the shared alacritty template with the font size as the . value passed in. You can test this with chezmoi cat:

$ chezmoi cat ~/small-font.yml
some: config
fontsize: 12
more: config
$ chezmoi cat ~/big-font.yml
some: config
fontsize: 18
more: config

Passing multiple arguments

In the example above only one arguments is passed to the template. To pass more arguments to the template, you can do it in two ways.

Via the config file

This method is useful if you want to use the same template arguments multiple times, because you don't specify the arguments every time. Instead you specify them in the file ~/.config/chezmoi/chezmoi.toml:

    fontsize = 18
    font = "DejaVu Serif"
    fontsize = 12
    font = "DejaVu Sans Mono"

Use the variables in ~/.local/share/chezmoi/.chezmoitemplates/alacritty:

some: config
fontsize: {{ .fontsize }}
font: {{ .font }}
more: config

And connect them with ~/.local/share/chezmoi/small-font.yml.tmpl:

{{- template "alacritty" .alacritty.small -}}

At the moment, this means that you'll have to duplicate the alacritty data in the config file on every machine, but a feature will be added to avoid this.

By passing a dictionary

Using the same alacritty configuration as above, you can pass the arguments to it with a dictionary, for example ~/.local/share/chezmoi/small-font.yml.tmpl:

{{- template "alacritty" dict "fontsize" 12 "font" "DejaVu Sans Mono" -}}