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Send messages and files over Telegram from the command-line.

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Telegram-send is a command-line tool to send messages and files over Telegram to your account, to a group or to a channel. It provides a simple interface that can be easily called from other programs.

Table of Contents


To send a message:

telegram-send "Hello, World!"

There is a maximum message length of 4096 characters, larger messages will be automatically split up into smaller ones and sent separately.

To send a message using Markdown or HTML formatting:

telegram-send --format markdown "Only the *bold* use _italics_"
telegram-send --format html "<pre>fixed-width messages</pre> are <i>also</i> supported"
telegram-send --format markdown "||Do good and find good!||"

Note that not all Markdown syntax or all HTML tags are supported. For more information on supported formatting, see the formatting options. We use the MarkdownV2 style for Markdown.

The --pre flag formats messages as fixed-width text:

telegram-send --pre "monospace"

To send a message without link previews:

telegram-send --disable-web-page-preview ""

To send a message from stdin:

printf 'With\nmultiple\nlines' | telegram-send --stdin

With this option you can send the output of any program.

To send a file (maximum file size of 50 MB) with an optional caption:

telegram-send --file quran.pdf --caption "The Noble Qur'an"

To send an image (maximum file size of 10 MB) with an optional caption:

telegram-send --image moon.jpg --caption "The Moon at Night"

To send a sticker:

telegram-send --sticker sticker.webp

To send a GIF or a soundless MP4 video (encoded as H.264/MPEG-4 AVC with a maximum file size of 50 MB) with an optional caption:

telegram-send --animation kitty.gif --caption "🐱"

To send an MP4 video (maximum file size of 50 MB) with an optional caption:

telegram-send --video birds.mp4 --caption "Singing Birds"

To send an audio file with an optional caption:

telegram-send --audio "Pachelbel's Canon.mp3" --caption "Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D"

To send a location via latitude and longitude:

telegram-send --location 35.5398033 -79.7488965

All captions can be optionally formatted with Markdown or html:

telegram-send --image moon.jpg --caption "The __Moon__ at *Night*" --format markdown

Telegram-send integrates into your file manager (Thunar, Nautilus and Nemo):


Install telegram-send system-wide with pip:

sudo pip3 install telegram-send

Or if you want to install it for a single user without root permissions:

pip3 install telegram-send

If installed for a single user you need to add ~/.local/bin to their path, refer to this guide for instructions.

And finally configure it with telegram-send --configure if you want to send to your account, telegram-send --configure-group to send to a group or with telegram-send --configure-channel to send to a channel.

Use the --config option to use multiple configurations. For example to set up sending to a channel in a non-default configuration: telegram-send --config channel.conf --configure-channel. Then always specify the config file to use it: telegram-send --config channel.conf "Bismillah".

The -g option uses the global configuration at /etc/telegram-send.conf. Configure it once: sudo telegram-send -g --configure and all users on the system can send messages with this config: telegram-send -g "GNU" (provided you've installed it system-wide.)


Here are some examples to get a taste of what is possible with telegram-send.

Alert on completion of shell commands

Receive an alert when long-running commands finish with the tg alias, based on Ubuntu's built-in alert. Put the following in your ~/.bashrc:

alias tg='telegram-send "$([ $? = 0 ] && echo "" || echo "error: ") $(history|tail -n1|sed -e '\''s/^\s*[0-9]\+\s*//;s/[;&|]\s*tg$//'\'')"'

And then use it like sleep 10; tg. This will send you a message with the completed command, in this case sleep 10.

What if you started a program and forgot to set the alert? Suspend the program with Ctrl+Z and then enter fg; telegram-send "your message here".

To automatically receive notifications for long running commands, use ntfy with the Telegram backend.

Periodic messages with cron

We can combine telegram-send with cron to periodically send messages. Here we will set up a cron job to send the Astronomy Picture of the Day to the astropod channel.

Create a bot by talking to the BotFather, create a public channel and add your bot as administrator to the channel. You will need to explicitly search for your bot's username when adding it. Then run telegram-send --configure-channel --config astropod.conf. We will use the script that gets the daily picture and calls telegram-send to post it to the channel.

We create a cron job /etc/cron.d/astropod (as root) with the content:


# m h dom mon dow user  command
0 1 * * * telegram ~/ --config ~/astropod.conf

Make sure the file ends with a newline. Cron will then execute the script every day at 1:00 as the user telegram. Join the astropod channel to see the result.

Supervisor process state notifications

Supervisor controls and monitors processes. It can start processes at boot, restart them if they fail and also report on their status. Supervisor-alert is a simple plugin for Supervisor that sends messages on process state updates to an arbitrary program. Using it with telegram-send (by using the --telegram option), you can receive notifications whenever one of your processes exits.

Usage from Python

Because telegram-send is written in Python, you can use its functionality directly from other Python programs: import telegram_send. Look at the documentation.

Cron job output

Cron has a built-in feature to send the output of jobs via mail. In this example we'll send cron output over Telegram. Here is the example cron job:


# m h dom mon dow user  command
0 * * * * rahiel chronic ~/script.bash 2>&1 | telegram-send -g --stdin

The command is chronic ~/script.bash 2>&1 | telegram-send -g --stdin. We run the cron job with chronic, a tool from moreutils. Chronic makes sure that a command produces no output unless it fails. No news is good news! If our script fails, chronic passes the output through the pipe (|) to telegram-send. We also send the output of stderr by redirecting stderr to stdout (2>&1).

Here we've installed telegram-send system-wide with sudo and use the global configuration (-g) so telegram-send is usable in the cron job. Place the cron job in /etc/cron.d/ and make sure the file ends with a newline. The filename can't contain a . either.

ASCII pictures

Combining --stdin and --pre, we can send ASCII pictures:

ncal -bh | telegram-send --pre --stdin
apt-get moo | telegram-send --pre --stdin

Questions & Answers

How to use a proxy?

You can set a proxy with an environment variable:

https_proxy=https://ip:port telegram-send "hello"

Within Python you can set the environment variable with:

os.environ["https_proxy"] = "https://ip:port"

If you have a SOCKS proxy, you need to install support for it:

pip3 install pysocks

If you installed telegram-send with sudo, you also need to install pysocks with sudo.

How to send the same message to multiple users?

First you configure telegram-send for every recipient you want to send messages to:

telegram-send --config user1.conf --configure
telegram-send --config group1.conf --configure-group
telegram-send --config group2.conf --configure-group
telegram-send --config channel1.conf --configure-channel

You will need all of the above config files. Now to send a message to all of the above configured recipients:

telegram-send --config user1.conf \
              --config group1.conf \
              --config group2.conf \
              --config channel1.conf \

How to get sticker files?

In Telegram Desktop you right click a sticker and choose "Save Image As...". You can then send the saved webp file with telegram-send --sticker sticker.webp.


sudo telegram-send --clean
sudo pip3 uninstall telegram-send

Or if you installed it for a single user:

telegram-send --clean
pip3 uninstall telegram-send

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