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Launching ArmA 3 from a desktop shortcut
Forum » Information and Rules » Technical Difficulties and Solutions
Joined: 25th Apr 2014
Rank: Public Player
Likes 88
18th Feb 2015

This method can be used with manually installed mods or ones updated with Play withSIX.

The main advantage is you have a separate icon for each set of launch options.

Create A Shortcut

Go to your ArmA 3 folder (the one with arma3.exe in it).  It should be something like:

   C:\Program Files (x86)\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\common\Arma 3

Right click on the arma.exe file and select Create shortcut (near the bottom of the list).

Now drag the shortcut onto your desktop.

Rename the short cut something appropriate, like: TWC Modset

We now have a working shortcut on the desktop that will launch ArmA 3 but currently it has no bells and whistles.

Adding Command Line Options

Options are added by selecting the shortcut (left click on it) and press Alt+Enter to open the Properties dialogue.

In the Target field add options to the end like:

   ...Arma 3\arma.exe" -option1 -option2

Where there is a hyphen before the option and a space between each subsequent option.

As the Target field in the shortcuts Properties dialogue is quite small, I open notepad and create the command line in that then copy and paste it onto the Target field.

The Mod Option

The most important option is the -mod option. This allows the selection of the required mods to be used with the shortcut.  This has a general format is:

   -mod=@mod1   (for one mod)
   -mod=@mod1;@mod2;@mod3   (many mods separated by '; ' character)

For the TWC Public server the mod list would be:


Options to speed the launching of ArmA 3

   -nosplash -world=empty -skipIntro

These disable the 'splash screens', stops a world being loaded and disables world intros in the main menu.

Options for launching a server

You can set options to set the user profile, server and port to connect to:

   -name=UserName -connect=ServerIP -port=Port


   -name=Strider -connect= -port=9314
   yes I know the server IP is invalid

Development options

This is an option that does not have a hyphen or a tag.


Where <mission-path> is something like:

   C:\Users\gavin\Documents\Arma 3\Missions\template_mp.Stratis\
   C:\Users\gavin\Documents\Arma 3 - Other Profiles\Strider\Missions\template_mp.Stratis\

This will specify the mission to load straight into the editor. The double quotes are required.

Note: This can cause problems with the command line being too big to fit in the Target field.  The limit being 259 characters.  If this is the case then see Appendix B: Command Line > 259 below.


Run the game windowed mode.  I find it easier to tab in and out of the game as well as look at the game and other information.


Will display script errors.  Though not usually long enough for you to be able to take in the information but at least you know there is an error.

Appendix A: Useful links

ArmA 3 Startup Parameters: ... 3_Startup_Parameters

Appendix B: Command Line > 259

For some reason you can't put a command line longer than 259 in the Target field of and shortcut's Properties dialogue.  The actual Windows command line limit (since WinXP) is 8,191 (ref:  The solution is to create a command file.  A file with the extension .cmd:

Go to your ArmA 3 profile directory.  Which should be something like one of the following (It can be an suitable directory but this is where I put them).  One of:

   C:\Users\gavin\Documents\Arma 3 (for default profile)
   C:\Users\gavin\Documents\Arma 3 - Other Profiles\ <your-profile-name>

And create a folder called Shortcut.

In the Shortcut folder create a file called <someName>.cmd (Where some name is descriptive of the shortcut we want to create.  e.g.


Now edit the file you have just created.  All you need to do is put the command line in.  But it would be good to add a comment to says what the command is doing.

:: Launch ArmA 3 and connect to the TWC Public server.
:: v1.0 by Strider
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\common\Arma 3\arma3.exe" -big -command "C:\Users\ … \hope.Altis\mission.sqm"

Where anything after ':: ' is considered a comment and ignored by the execution system and the command must be one line with no returns in it.

One final nerdy option is to split the lines by putting the '^ ' character at a suitable break.

:: Launch ArmA 3 and connect to the TWC Public server.
:: v1.0 by Strider
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\common\Arma 3\arma3.exe" ^
  -nosplash -skipIntro -showScriptErrors ^
  -mod=@cba_a3;@agm;@alive;@task_force_radio -window -strider ^
  "C:\Users\gavin\Documents\Arma 3 - Other Profiles\Strider\Missions\tao_template_nA.Altis\mission.sqm"

You can't break a line between double quotes.

Now create a shortcut to the .cmd file.  In Windows Explorer, right click the file and select Create shortcut (near the bottom of the list).

Drag the file onto your desktop.  Rename it to something appropriate.

Change the shortcut icon

Select the shortcut (left click on it) and press Alt + Enter to display the Properties dialogue.
Click the Change Icon... button.
Click the OK button to choose an icon form a different file.
Finally we have the Change Icon dialogue.
Click the Browse button and navigate to the arma.exe file and click OK, OK.

Phew!  If you created the cmd file and shortcut successfully award yourself a 'Geek Squad' medal.  S

Edit: 23 Feb 2015 @1110
Edit: 25 Feb 2015 @1109 - Updated mod list.
The following in a command file will launch straight into the public server:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\common\Arma 3\arma3.exe" ^
  -nosplash -skipIntro -name=[i]your-profile-name[/i] -connect= -port=2302 ^

Obviously edit the your-profile-name.

Edit 30 Mar @1806 - Rpaced the steam launch system with direct call to the arma3.exe to avoid news splash that get in the way of the command line options.

A day may come when the courage of Alpha fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship,
but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and wrecked weapons when the West comes crashing down, but it is not this day!
This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!

Last Edit: 30th Mar 2015 by Strider
Forum » Information and Rules » Technical Difficulties and Solutions
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