Adding all JARs in a directory to the classpath

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If you want to add all the JARs in directory to the classpath, you can do this concisely using classpath wildcard syntax; for example:


This tells the JVM to add all JAR and ZIP files in the someFolder directory to the classpath. This syntax can be used in a -cp argument, a CLASSPATH environment variable, or a Class-Path attribute in an executable JAR file’s manifest file.See Setting the Class Path: Class Path Wild Cards for examples and caveats.


  1. Classpath wildcards were first introduced in Java 6. Earlier versions of Java do not treat “*” as a wildcard.
  2. You cannot put other characters before or after the “*”; e.g. “someFolder/*.jar” is not a wildcard.
  3. A wildcard matches only files with the suffix “.jar” or “.JAR”. ZIP files are ignored, as are JAR files with a different suffixes.
  4. A wildcard matches only JAR files in the directory itself, not in its subdirectories.
  5. When a group of JAR files is matched by a wildcard entry, their relative order on the classpath is not specified.

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