dbt - Documentation

Using the CLI

A dbt project is typically executed through the Command Line Interface (CLI). To use dbt, your workflow generally looks like:

  • Build your dbt project in a code editor: popular choices include VSCode and Atom.
  • Run your project from the command line:
    • macOS ships with a default Terminal program, however you can also use iTerm or the command line prompt within a code editor to execute dbt commands

How we set up our projects for working on dbt projects

We've written a guide for our recommended setup when running dbt projects using the CLI.

Your command line has a concept of a "working directory": each command that you run is executed from a directory on your computer. To run your dbt project using the command line, you'll need to ensure that your command line's working directory is within your dbt project.

Use `pwd` to ensure that your terminal's working directory is your dbt project.

Use pwd to ensure that your terminal's working directory is your dbt project.

Once your working directory is your dbt project, you can execute dbt commands:

Pro tip: Using the --help flag

Most command line tools (dbt included) have a --help flag. This flag is useful if you ever want to check which commands and arguments you can use. For example:
dbt --help: this will list the commands available
dbt run --help: this will the flags available for the run command

If you're using the CLI, we recommend learning some basics of your terminal to help you work more effectively. In particular, it's important to understand cd, ls and pwd to be able to navigate through the directory structure of your computer easily.

To install the CLI, check out our OS-specific guides in this section.

For a full list of dbt commands, see the dbt Command reference section.

Using the CLI


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