Skip to main content
Version: v2.16.x LTS

How command precedence works

How command precedence works

You can provide your mainframe connection details (username, password, etc.) to Zowe CLI in several ways. Zowe CLI abides by a command option order of precedence that provides flexibility when issuing commands and writing scripts.

When you issue a command, the CLI searches for your command arguments in the following order:

  1. Options that you specify on individual commands.

  2. Environment variables that you define in the computer's operating system.

    For more information, see Using environment variables.

  3. Service profiles that you create (i.e. z/OSMF profile or another mainframe service).

  4. Base profiles that you create.

    These can contain credentials for use with multiple services and/or an API ML login token.

  5. Default option value.

Command precedence in action

If you omit an option from the command line, Zowe CLI searches for an environment variable that contains a value for the option. If no environment variable exists, the CLI checks your service profiles for the value. If necessary, the CLI then searches base profiles, which provide values to service profiles to avoid specifying the same options (such as a username and password) in multiple service profiles.


If you do not provide a value using one of these methods, the default value is used. If a required option value is not located, a syntax error message such as Missing Positional Argument or Missing Option displays.