Ant - Using Command Line Arguments

Ant can read command line arguments easily to pass data to its tasks.

Commnd Line Arguments Options

ant [options] [target [target2 [target3] ...]]
   -help,          -h              print this message and exit
   -projecthelp,   -p              print project help information and exit
   -version                        print the version information and exit
   -diagnostics                    print information that might be helpful to diagnose or report problems and exit
   -quiet,         -q              be extra quiet
   -silent,        -S              print nothing but task outputs and build failures
   -verbose,       -v              be extra verbose
   -debug,         -d              print debugging information
   -emacs,         -e              produce logging information without adornments
   -lib          <path>            specifies a path to search for jars and classes
   -logfile      <file>            use given file for log
   -l            <file>                      ''
   -logger       <classname>       the class which is to perform logging
   -listener     <classname>       add an instance of class as a project listener
   -noinput                              do not allow interactive input
   -buildfile    <file>            use given buildfile
   -file         <file>                      ''
   -f            <file>                      ''
   -D            <property>=<value>   use value for given property
   -keep-going,    -k              execute all targets that do not depend on failed target(s)
   -propertyfile <name>            load all properties from file with -D properties taking precedence
   -inputhandler <class>           the class which will handle input requests
   -find         <file>            (s)earch for buildfile towards the root of
   -s            <file>            the filesystem and use it
   -nice         number            A niceness value for the main thread:1 (lowest) to 10 (highest); 5  is the default
   -nouserlib                      Run ant without using the jar files from ${user.home}/.ant/lib
   -noclasspath                    Run ant without using CLASSPATH
   -autoproxy                      Java 5+ : use the OS proxies
   -main         <class>           override Ant's normal entry point

We'll be using -Dproperty to pass varibles to the build task.


Create a src folder with text1.txt file with following contents −

This is a sample text written in 2021.

Create build.xml with the following content −

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<project name="sample" basedir="." default="copy">
   <target name="copy">
      <copy todir="${dest.dir}" filtering="true">
		<fileset dir="${src.dir}"/>


Here we're using src.dir and dest.dir properties without defining them. We'll pass them using command line arguments. Running Ant on the above build file produces the following output −

F:\tutorialspoint\ant>ant -Dsrc.dir=src -Ddest.dir=build
Buildfile: F:\tutorialspoint\ant\build.xml

   [copy] Copying 1 file to F:\tutorialspoint\ant\build
Total time: 0 seconds


Verify the content of copied file to build folder.

This is a sample text written in 2021.