Apache Maven Help Plugin

The Maven Help Plugin is used to get relative information about a project or the system. It can be used to get a description of a particular plugin, including the plugin's goals with their parameters and component requirements, the effective POM and effective settings of the current build, and the profiles applied to the current project being built.

Goals Overview

The Help Plugin has 7 goals:

  • help:active-profiles lists the profiles which are currently active for the build.
  • help:all-profiles lists the available profiles under the current project.
  • help:describe describes the attributes of a Plugin and/or a Mojo (Maven plain Old Java Object).
  • help:effective-pom displays the effective POM as an XML for the current build, with the active profiles factored in. If verbose, a comment is added to each XML element describing the origin of the line.
  • help:effective-settings displays the calculated settings as an XML for the project, given any profile enhancement and the inheritance of the global settings into the user-level settings.
  • help:evaluate evaluates Maven expressions given by the user in an interactive mode.
  • help:system displays a list of the platform details like system properties and environment variables.

Major Version Upgrade to version 3.0.0

Please note that the goal expressions has been completely removed from the plugin. All the Maven expressions that are supported as plugin parameters are available in the Javadoc of the PluginParameterExpressionEvaluator class.


General instructions on how to use the Help Plugin can be found on the usage page. Some more specific use cases are described in the examples given below.

In case you still have questions regarding the plugin's usage, please feel free to contact the user mailing list. The posts to the mailing list are archived and could already contain the answer to your question as part of an older thread. Hence, it is also worth browsing/searching the mail archive.

If you feel like the plugin is missing a feature or has a defect, you can fill a feature request or bug report in our issue tracker. When creating a new issue, please provide a comprehensive description of your concern. Especially for fixing bugs it is crucial that the developers can reproduce your problem. For this reason, entire debug logs, POMs or most preferably little demo projects attached to the issue are very much appreciated. Of course, patches are welcome, too. Contributors can check out the project from our source repository and will find supplementary information in the guide to helping with Maven.


To provide you with better understanding on some usages of the Help Plugin, you can take a look into the following example(s):