Command Line

Electrum has a powerful command line. This page will show you a few basic principles.

Using the inline help

To see the list of Electrum commands, type:

electrum help

To see the documentation for a command, type:

electrum help <command>

Magic words

The arguments passed to commands may be one of the following magic words: ! ? : and -.

  • The exclamation mark ! is a shortcut that means 'the maximum amount available'.


    electrum payto 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE !

    Note that the transaction fee will be computed and deducted from the amount.

  • A question mark ? means that you want the parameter to be prompted.


    electrum signmessage 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE ?
  • Use a colon : if you want the prompted parameter to be hidden (not echoed in your terminal).

    electrum importprivkey :

    Note that you will be prompted twice in this example, first for the private key, then for your wallet password.

  • A parameter replaced by a dash - will be read from standard input (in a pipe)

    cat LICENCE | electrum signmessage 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE -


You can use DNS aliases in place of bitcoin addresses, in most commands.

electrum payto !

Formatting outputs using jq

Command outputs are either simple strings or json structured data. A very useful utility is the 'jq' program. Install it with:

sudo apt-get install jq

The following examples use it.


Sign and verify message

We may use a variable to store the signature, and verify it:

sig=$(cat LICENCE| electrum signmessage 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE -)


cat LICENCE | electrum verifymessage 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE $sig -

Show the values of your unspents

The 'listunspent' command returns a list of dict objects, with various fields. Suppose we want to extract the 'value' field of each record. This can be achieved with the jq command:

electrum listunspent | jq 'map(.value)'

Select only incoming transactions from history

Incoming transactions have a positive 'value' field

electrum history | jq '.[] | select(.value>0)'

Filter transactions by date

The following command selects transactions that were timestamped after a given date:

after=$(date -d '07/01/2015' +"%s")

electrum history | jq --arg after $after '.[] | select(.timestamp>($after|tonumber))'

Similarly, we may export transactions for a given time period:

before=$(date -d '08/01/2015' +"%s")

after=$(date -d '07/01/2015' +"%s")

electrum history | jq --arg before $before --arg after $after '.[] | select(.timestamp&gt;($after|tonumber) and .timestamp&lt;($before|tonumber))'

Encrypt and decrypt messages

First we need the public key of a wallet address:

pk=$(electrum getpubkeys 1JuiT4dM65d8vBt8qUYamnDmAMJ4MjjxRE| jq -r '.[0]')


cat | electrum encrypt $pk -


electrum decrypt $pk ?

Note: this command will prompt for the encrypted message, then for the wallet password

Export private keys and sweep coins

The following command will export the private keys of all wallet addresses that hold some bitcoins:

electrum listaddresses --funded | electrum getprivatekeys -

This will return a list of lists of private keys. In most cases, you want to get a simple list. This can be done by adding a jq filer, as follows:

electrum listaddresses --funded | electrum getprivatekeys - | jq 'map(.[0])'

Finally, let us use this list of private keys as input to the sweep command:

electrum listaddresses --funded | electrum getprivatekeys - | jq 'map(.[0])' | electrum sweep - [destination address]