datalad configuration


datalad configuration [-h] [--scope {global|local|branch}] [-d DATASET] [-r] [-R LEVELS]
    [--version] [{dump|get|set|unset}] [name[=value] ...]


Get and set dataset, dataset-clone-local, or global configuration

This command works similar to git-config, but some features are not supported (e.g., modifying system configuration), while other features are not available in git-config (e.g., multi-configuration queries).

Query and modification of three distinct configuration scopes is supported:

  • ‘branch’: the persistent configuration in .datalad/config of a dataset branch

  • ‘local’: a dataset clone’s Git repository configuration in .git/config

  • ‘global’: non-dataset-specific configuration (usually in $USER/.gitconfig)

Modifications of the persistent ‘branch’ configuration will not be saved by this command, but have to be committed with a subsequent SAVE call.

Rules of precedence regarding different configuration scopes are the same as in Git, with two exceptions: 1) environment variables can be used to override any datalad configuration, and have precedence over any other configuration scope (see below). 2) the ‘branch’ scope is considered in addition to the standard git configuration scopes. Its content has lower precedence than Git configuration scopes, but it is committed to a branch, hence can be used to ship (default and branch-specific) configuration with a dataset.

Besides storing configuration settings statically via this command or git config, DataLad also reads any DATALAD_* environment on process startup or import, and maps it to a configuration item. Their values take precedence over any other specification. In variable names _ encodes a . in the configuration name, and __ encodes a -, such that DATALAD_SOME__VAR is mapped to datalad.some-var. Additionally, a DATALAD_CONFIG_OVERRIDES_JSON environment variable is queried, which may contain configuration key-value mappings as a JSON-formatted string of a JSON-object:

DATALAD_CONFIG_OVERRIDES_JSON='{"datalad.credential.example_com.user": "jane", ...}'

This is useful when characters are part of the configuration key that cannot be encoded into an environment variable name. If both individual configuration variables and JSON-overrides are used, the former take precedent over the latter, overriding the respective individual settings from configurations declared in the JSON-overrides.

This command supports recursive operation for querying and modifying configuration across a hierarchy of datasets.


Dump the effective configuration, including an annotation for common items:

% datalad configuration

Query two configuration items:

% datalad configuration get

Recursively set configuration in all (sub)dataset repositories:

% datalad configuration -r set my.config=value

Modify the persistent branch configuration (changes are not committed):

% datalad configuration --scope branch set my.config=value



which action to perform. Constraints: value must be one of (‘dump’, ‘get’, ‘set’, ‘unset’) [Default: ‘dump’]


configuration name (for actions ‘get’ and ‘unset’), or name/value pair (for action ‘set’).

-h, -\-help, -\-help-np

show this help message. –help-np forcefully disables the use of a pager for displaying the help message

-\-scope {global|local|branch}

scope for getting or setting configuration. If no scope is declared for a query, all configuration sources (including overrides via environment variables) are considered according to the normal rules of precedence. For action ‘get’ only ‘branch’ and ‘local’ (which include ‘global’ here) are supported. For action ‘dump’, a scope selection is ignored and all available scopes are considered. Constraints: value must be one of (‘global’, ‘local’, ‘branch’)

-d DATASET, -\-dataset DATASET

specify the dataset to query or to configure. Constraints: Value must be a Dataset or a valid identifier of a Dataset (e.g. a path) or value must be NONE

-r, -\-recursive

if set, recurse into potential subdatasets.

-R LEVELS, -\-recursion-limit LEVELS

limit recursion into subdatasets to the given number of levels. Constraints: value must be convertible to type ‘int’ or value must be NONE


show the module and its version which provides the command


datalad is developed by The DataLad Team and Contributors <>.