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Start Compass from the Command Line

On this page

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

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.

The executable is called mongodb-compass. The installer installs it in the /usr/bin directory.

The executable is called MongoDBCompass.exe. The installer installs it in a folder you pick during the installation process.

The executable is called 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 \
←  Connect to MongoDBCompass Command Line Options →
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