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Use scripts to perform actions

Understand how scripts work

chezmoi supports scripts, which are executed when you run chezmoi apply. The scripts can either run every time you run chezmoi apply, only when their contents have changed, or only if they have not been run before.

In verbose mode, the script's contents will be printed before executing it. In dry-run mode, the script is not executed.

Scripts are any file in the source directory with the prefix run_, and are executed in alphabetical order. Scripts that should be run whenever their contents change have the run_onchange_ prefix. Scripts that should only be run if they have not been run before have the prefix run_once_.

Scripts break chezmoi's declarative approach, and as such should be used sparingly. Any script should be idempotent, even run_onchange_ and run_once_ scripts.

Scripts are normally run while chezmoi updates your dotfiles. To configure scripts to run before or after your dotfiles are updated use the before_ and after_ attributes respectively, e.g.

Scripts must be created manually in the source directory, typically by running chezmoi cd and then creating a file with a run_ prefix. There is no need to set the executable bit on the script.

Scripts with the suffix .tmpl are treated as templates, with the usual template variables available. If, after executing the template, the result is only whitespace or an empty string, then the script is not executed. This is useful for disabling scripts.

When chezmoi executes a script, it first generates the script contents in a file in a temporary directory with the executable bit set, and then executes the contents with exec(3). Consequently, the script's contents must either include a #! line or be an executable binary.

Set environment variables

You can set extra environment variables for your scripts in the scriptEnv section of your config file. For example, to set the MY_VAR environment variable to my_value, specify:

    MY_VAR = "my_value"

chezmoi sets a number of environment variables when running scripts, including CHEZMOI=1 and common template data like CHEZMOI_OS and CHEZMOI_ARCH.


By default, chezmoi diff will print the contents of scripts that would be run by chezmoi apply. To exclude scripts from the output of chezmoi diff, set diff.exclude in your configuration file, for example:

    exclude = ["scripts"]

Similarly, chezmoi status will print the names of the scripts that it will execute with the status R. This can similarly disabled by setting status.exclude to ["scripts"] in your configuration file.

Install packages with scripts

Change to the source directory and create a file called

$ chezmoi cd

In this file create your package installation script, e.g.

sudo apt install ripgrep

The next time you run chezmoi apply or chezmoi update this script will be run. As it has the run_onchange_ prefix, it will not be run again unless its contents change, for example if you add more packages to be installed.

This script can also be a template. For example, if you create with the contents:

{{ if eq .chezmoi.os "linux" -}}
sudo apt install ripgrep
{{ else if eq .chezmoi.os "darwin" -}}
brew install ripgrep
{{ end -}}

This will install ripgrep on both Debian/Ubuntu Linux systems and macOS.

Run a script when the contents of another file changes

chezmoi's run_ scripts are run every time you run chezmoi apply, whereas run_onchange_ scripts are run only when their contents have changed, after executing them as templates. You can use this to cause a run_onchange_ script to run when the contents of another file has changed by including a checksum of the other file's contents in the script.

For example, if your dconf settings are stored in dconf.ini in your source directory then you can make chezmoi apply only load them when the contents of dconf.ini has changed by adding the following script as


# dconf.ini hash: {{ include "dconf.ini" | sha256sum }}
dconf load / < {{ joinPath .chezmoi.sourceDir "dconf.ini" | quote }}

As the SHA256 sum of dconf.ini is included in a comment in the script, the contents of the script will change whenever the contents of dconf.ini are changed, so chezmoi will re-run the script whenever the contents of dconf.ini change.

In this example you should also add dconf.ini to .chezmoiignore so chezmoi does not create dconf.ini in your home directory.

Clear the state of all run_onchange_ and run_once_ scripts

chezmoi stores whether and when run_onchange_ and run_once_ scripts have been run in its persistent state.

To clear the state of run_onchange_ scripts, run:

$ chezmoi state delete-bucket --bucket=entryState

To clear the state of run_once_ scripts, run:

$ chezmoi state delete-bucket --bucket=scriptState