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Start Compass from the Command Line

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  • Compass Executable Location
  • Command Line Connection Specification
  • Configuration File Connection Specification
  • Learn More

You can start a Compass session from the command line.

In enterprise environments, a scripted start can make it easier to deploy Compass. For example, to limit access to sensitive systems, you can configure a command line start so that Compass can run on a jump host.

There are two ways to start Compass from the command line:

  • Specify a connection string on the command line

  • Specify connection details in a file

If your connection string contains sensitive information, consider using a configuration file to avoid exposing that information on the command line.

The name and location of the Compass executable varies by operating system.

Operating System
Executable Name
The installer installs it in the /usr/bin directory.
The installer installs it in a folder you pick during the installation process.
MongoDB Compass

The installer installs it under the Applications folder:

/Applications/MongoDB\\ Compass

The command line invocation for Compass has two components, the path to the Compass executable and a connection string. You can optionally provide the username and password on the command line or the configuration file. The format is:

<connection string>
--username <username> --password <password>


If the username and password arguments are not provided, Compass uses the credentials in the connection string.

The following example uses a basic connection string for a MongoDB University training cluster. Modify the connection details to connect to your MongoDB installation:

mongodb-compass mongodb+srv://

This example uses the username and password parameters to authenticate Compass to the MongoDB deployment provided in the connection string:

mongodb-compass mongodb+srv://
--username user1 --password password1

The command line invocation for Compass can specify a configuration file.

The format is:

<path/to/compass/executable> \
--file=<filename> \
[--passphrase=<passphrase>] \
[<connection id>]

The components of the command invocation are:

  • The path to the Compass executable

  • A connection configuration file

  • An optional passphrase for the connection configuration file

  • An optional connection id

To create the connection configuration file, follow the steps to export the connection details from your Compass instance. The export process creates a file that includes all of your favorite connections.


If you export your saved connections without using a passphrase, the configuration file contains the plaintext version of your username and password. Use a passphrase to encrypt the password.

To open Compass and connect to your MongoDB instance, use a command line like:

mongodb-compass --file=learningConnectionFile \

If you have multiple favorites, include the connection id from the configuration file to specify which connection to use:

mongodb-compass --file=multipleConnectionFile \
--passphrase=superSecret \
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