Direct a batch program to jump to a labelled line.

      GOTO label


   label   A predefined label in the batch program.
           Each label must be defined on a line by itself, beginning with
           a colon and ending with either a space, a colon or a CR/LF.

   :eof    This predefined label will exit the current subroutine or script.

Each GOTO… command must be terminated by a newline.

Although undocumented, GOTO :MySubroutine generally has the same effect as GOTO MySubroutine
or GOTO:MySubroutine (a colon in place of the space).


The eof label is a special case - using GOTO:eof will always transfer execution to the end of the current batch file or the end of the current subroutine.
This can be written as GOTO:eof or GOTO :eof the space is optional.

GOTO EOF and GOTO :EOF are not the same.
if you create a label called eof, the command GOTO:eof will still exit the file/routine and not jump to the label.

The command goto eof (without a colon) will jump to a label called eof, but to avoid confusion it is better to use a different name goto nextsub

When exiting a subroutine, an alternative command is EXIT /b
EXIT /b has the option to set a specific errorlevel, 0 for sucess, 1 or greater for an error.
EXIT /b without an ExitCode acts the same as goto:eof and will not alter the %errorlevel%

Best practice - use CALL to call subroutines

The goto command has a poor reputation, with a tendency to produce spaghetti code that jumps around seemingly at random. A good practice is to place all subroutines towards the end of the script, end each subroutine with a goto :eof and then place another goto :eof before the first subroutine. Then use the CALL command rather than goto.
This will ensure that the code flows in a predictable pattern like a more formal programming language.

@Echo Off
:: main routine
CALL subroutine1
CALL subroutine2
:: end of main routine

  some commands here
goto :eof

  some more commands here
goto :eof

In a real-world example you would be calling the subroutines multiple times, but the structure remains the same.


Using GOTO within parentheses - including FOR and IF commands - will break their context:

@Echo Off
if A equ A (
) else (
   echo You didn’t expected to see this,did you?

An alternative is to replace the GOTO with a CALL to a subroutine. The subroutine can contain GOTO statements as they will be safely outside the parentheses.

GOTO breaks the & and && redirection operators.

If GOTO a non existent label is used in conjunction with a negative conditional execution, the line containing the GOTO will be executed, but the rest of the Batch file is cancelled:

goto :non_existent_label || Echo This line will run anything except GOTO ,SHIFT ,SETLOCAL , ENDLOCAL , CALL
:SUBROUTINE echo This will be never displayed.

Just placing a :label within parentheses, can cause errors if the following line is not a valid command, details on SO.


If the jump is successfully made %ERRORLEVEL% = unchanged, typically this will be 0 but if a previous command set an errorlevel, that will be preserved (this is a bug).

If the subroutine Label does not exist %ERRORLEVEL% = 1


A simple goto jump:

@Echo Off
GOTO sub-message
   Echo this wont display

   Echo this is a subroutine

Use the %1 parameter to jump:

@Echo Off
IF %1==12 GOTO specialcase 
   Echo the input was NOT 12
   Echo the input was 12

Use a variable, in this case %ERRORLEVEL% to jump to a specific label:

@Echo Off
CHOICE /C:rg /m choose "[R]ed or [G]reen"
:: at this point the errorlevel will contain either 1 or 2
goto sub_%ERRORLEVEL%

Echo You typed R for red.

Echo You typed G for green.

An alternative to using a GOTO statement is using a variable to insert a comment, which will skip a line of code.
In this example the COPY command will only run if the parameter "Update" is supplied to the batch:

@Echo Off 
SET _skip=
IF /I NOT %1==Update SET _skip=:: 
%_skip% COPY x:\update.dat 
%_skip% echo Update applied 

GOTO is an internal command. If Command Extensions are disabled GOTO will no longer recognise the :EOF label.

“GOTO... how bad can it be??...” ~ XKCD

Related commands

CALL - Call one batch program from another.
EXIT - Quit the current script/routine and set an errorlevel.
IF - Conditionally perform a command.
Equivalent PowerShell: While (condition) {action} else {action}
Equivalent bash command: case - Conditionally perform a command.

Copyright © 1999-2024
Some rights reserved