The output-file-encoding global parameter is a string that determines which character encoding to use when writing Liquibase command outputs to external files. By default, it is set to UTF-8.


If you need to send the output of a Liquibase command like generate-changelog command, update-sql command, or diff command to a text file that does not use UTF-8, you must specify the correct character encoding. This ensures that all symbols in your file display correctly.

Alternative or legacy character encodings include US-ASCII, Windows-1252, UTF-16, and others.

Setting the output-file-encoding parameter

You can set output-file-encoding in four ways:

  • In the Liquibase properties file
  • As a global parameter in the CLI
  • As a JVM system property
  • As an environment variable (Liquibase Pro)

Liquibase properties file parameter

In Liquibase 4.1+, add the following to Liquibase properties file:

liquibase.outputFileEncoding: <string>

CLI global parameter

Tip: All commands and parameters use the --kebab-case format in the CLI environment. This is the format Liquibase recommends for best results. If your preference is camelCase, it will still work in the CLI.

In your command line, use a global parameter with a single Liquibase command:

liquibase --output-file-encoding=<string> update --changelog-file=dbchangelog.xml

Java system property

In your command line, use the JAVA_OPTS Environment Variable to set a JVM system property:

Mac/Linux syntax:


Windows syntax:

set JAVA_OPTS=-Dliquibase.outputFileEncoding=<string>

Note: To use a Liquibase command alongside JAVA_OPTS, add && liquibase <command> to the end of your input.

Environment variable (Liquibase Pro)

In Liquibase Pro, set an environment variable:

Mac/Linux syntax:


Windows syntax:


Note: These environment variable commands only apply to the current shell. If you need to pass an environment variable to a child process without affecting the parent process, you can use the export command on Mac/Linux or the setx command on Windows.