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A CLI tool to get help with CLI tools 🐙

A CLI tool to get help with CLI tools 🐙

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Continuous Integration Continuous Deployment Docker Builds Documentation halp demo

halp aims to help find the correct arguments for command-line tools by checking the predefined list of commonly used options/flags. Additionally, it provides a prompt for quick access to the manual page or cheat sheet of the given command.

If you deal with command-line tools often, it might take some time to figure out how to get help or check the version of a particular command (especially when shell completions are not available). In that case, you might try the most-known flags such as -h and -v but unfortunately not all the command-line tools follow these conventions (either due to conflicts with other flags or they just use another form). Instead of brute-forcing manually into getting help, you can run halp <command> and it will check the following arguments for you:

If one of these arguments succeeds (with exit code 0), it prints the output and exits. This way, you can get informed about the version and help in one single command. You can also customize this list with a configuration file or provide a list of arguments via command-line arguments.

On the other hand, if you really need help, you can use the plz subcommand which will prompt a selection for:

  1. show the man page (runs man(1))
  2. show the cheat sheet (via
Table of Contents - [Example](#example) - [Installation](#installation) - [Cargo](#cargo) - [Arch Linux](#arch-linux) - [Docker](#docker) - [Images](#images) - [Usage](#usage) - [Building](#building) - [Binary releases](#binary-releases) - [Build from source](#build-from-source) - [Usage](#usage-1) - [`plz`](#plz) - [Examples](#examples) - [Check `help` and `version` (default)](#check-help-and-version-default) - [Check a custom argument](#check-a-custom-argument) - [Disable defaults](#disable-defaults) - [Verbose logging](#verbose-logging) - [Get additional help (via `plz`)](#get-additional-help-via-plz) - [Custom pager](#custom-pager) - [Custom host URL](#custom-cheatsh-host-url) - [Configuration](#configuration) - [Funding](#funding) - [Contributing](#contributing) - [License](#license) - [Copyright](#copyright)


Have you ever experienced this:

$ cli_tool -v
unknown flag -v
$ cli_tool -V
unknown flag -V
$ cli_tool -h
unknown flag -h
$ asdjw1jwhdajh1idojad # frustration
bash: asdjw1jwhdajh1idojad: command not found
$ cli_tool --help # f*cking finally!
Some CLI Tool Version 1.42.69
  cli_tool <flags> <args> [--parameter1 value1 --parameter2 value2 ...]

Whereas with halp:

$ halp cli_tool

(°ロ°)  checking 'cli_tool -v'
(×﹏×)      fail '-v' argument not found.
(°ロ°)  checking 'cli_tool -V'
(×﹏×)      fail '-V' argument not found.
(°ロ°)  checking 'cli_tool -h'
(×﹏×)      fail '-h' argument not found.
(°ロ°)  checking 'cli_tool --help'
\(^ヮ^)/ success '--help' argument found!

Some CLI Tool Version 1.42.69
  cli_tool <flags> <args> [--parameter1 value1 --parameter2 value2 ...]


Packaging status [![Packaging status](](


halp can be installed from

cargo install halp

The minimum supported Rust version is 1.74.1.

Arch Linux

halp can be installed from the community repository using pacman:

pacman -S halp

Or you can install the available AUR packages using an AUR helper. For example,

paru -S halp-git

Alternatively, you can clone the AUR package and then build it with makepkg. For example,

git clone && cd halp-git && makepkg -si



Docker builds are automated and images are available in the following registries:


The following commands can be used to get help for a binary inside the container:

docker run --rm -it "orhunp/halp:${TAG:-latest}" whoami
docker run --rm -it "orhunp/halp:${TAG:-latest}" plz whoami

Or you can provide a custom binary as follows (please note that you might get shared library errors):

docker run -v "bin:/app/bin:rw" --rm -it "orhunp/halp:${TAG:-latest}" -v ./bin


Custom Docker images can be built from the Dockerfile:

docker build -t halp .

Binary releases

See the available binaries for different targets from the releases page. They are automated via Continuous Deployment workflow

Release tarballs are signed with the following PGP key: 0xFB41AE0358378256

Build from source

  1. Clone the repository.
git clone && cd halp/
  1. Build.
CARGO_TARGET_DIR=target cargo build --release

Binary will be located at target/release/halp.


halp [OPTIONS] <CMD>
      --check <ARG>    Sets the argument to check
      --no-version     Disable checking the version information
      --no-help        Disable checking the help information
  -c, --config <PATH>  Sets the configuration file [env: HALP_CONFIG=]
  -t, --timeout <S>    Sets the timeout for the command [default: 5]
  -v, --verbose        Enables verbose logging
  -h, --help           Print help
  -V, --version        Print version


halp [OPTIONS] plz <CMD>
  -m, --man-cmd <MAN_CMD>   Sets the manual page command to run
      --cheat-sh-url <URL>  Use a custom URL for [env: CHEAT_SH_URL=]
  -p, --pager <PAGER>       Sets the pager to use
      --no-pager            Disables the pager
  -h, --help                Print help


Check help and version (default)

halp whoami

halp example I

Check a custom argument

halp --check "\--silent" zps

(You can escape - with using \-.)

You can also provide multiple arguments as follows:

halp --check "help" --check "test" menyoki

Disable defaults

halp --no-version sha512sum
halp --no-help sha512sum

Verbose logging

halp --verbose git-cliff

This will result in stderr/stdout being printed if there was an error. For example:

(°ロ°)  checking 'git-cliff -v'
(×﹏×)      fail '-v' argument not found.
(o_O)      debug
 WARN  git_cliff > "cliff.toml" is not found, using the default configuration.
 ERROR git_cliff > Git error: `could not find repository from '.'; class=Repository (6); code=NotFound (-3)`

Get additional help (via plz)

halp plz vim

halp example II

Custom pager
halp plz --pager bat vim

To disable the pager:

halp plz --no-pager bat vim
Custom host URL
halp plz --cheat-sh-url vim


halp can be configured with a configuration file that uses the TOML format. It can be specified via --config or HALP_CONFIG environment variable. It can also be placed in one of the following global locations:

<config_dir> depends on the platform as shown in the following table:

Platform Value Example
Linux $XDG_CONFIG_HOME or $HOME/.config /home/orhun/.config
macOS $HOME/Library/Application Support /Users/Orhun/Library/Application Support
Windows {FOLDERID_RoamingAppData} C:\Users\Orhun\AppData\Roaming

See halp.toml for the default configuration values.


If you find halp and/or other projects on my GitHub profile useful, consider supporting me on GitHub Sponsors or becoming a patron!

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See our Contribution Guide and please follow the Code of Conduct in all your interactions with the project.


Licensed under either of Apache License Version 2.0 or The MIT License at your option.

🦀 ノ( º _ º ノ) - respect crables!

Copyright © 2023-2024, Orhun Parmaksız