July 13, 2020

Installing Paperless in Docker - Second Steps

This page is a followup to my Installing Paperless in Docker article.

This covers some additional topics about running Paperless, that are not required, but may be very useful.

Generally speaking, before you run these commands, you want to cd into the location where you installed Paperless. (In the first article, it’s cd /opt/paperless/)

Additional Docker Commands

Paperless can be started by running:

# docker-compose up -d

Similarly, Paperless can be stopped by running:

# docker-compose down

And naturally, there’s also:

# docker-compose restart

Another useful one is reading the logs of the container:

# docker-compose logs

That command spits everything out in the screen. To view it in a program where you can scroll through it, run:

# docker-compose logs | less

Press “q” to quit.

You can also save the logs to a file, and use less to view that file.

# docker-compose logs > paperless.logs
# less paperless.logs

Please note that if you run that first command a second time, everything in the paperless.logs file will be overwritten. Usually, that’s fine, but if you want to save the logs, change the file name in the command.

Additional docker-compose.yml Options

The docker-compose.yml file primarily controls how docker-compose will run Paperless.

If you want Paperless to start automatically when the computer starts, remove the “# ” at the beginning of Line 7 and Line 35. Delete the “#” sign and the space after it.

Additional docker-compose.env Options

The docker-compose.env file primarily controls how Paperless will run. Think of it as being the primary Paperless configuration file. I’ve found the following options to be very useful.

You can add these lines at the end of the file, each option on a new line.


This option will remove the login page from Paperless. I trust everybody on my network with access to Paperless, so it was annoying to log in every time.


By default, when you click a document in Paperless, Paperless will have your browser download the file to your computer. 95% of the time, I want to look at the document, not download it. Setting this option will have Paperless display the document in your browser.


Paperless will look through documents to find dates. However, it’s default date format is DD/MM/YYYY. Here in the US, the date is typically written as MM/DD/YYYY. This was a huge help when implementing Paperless.

Working with Docker

When you make changes to the above configuration files, you need to restart Paperless to have the changes go into effect. See the docker-compose restart command above.