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1. Overview

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to convert the default file we receive when we download a new Spring Boot project from Spring Initializer to the more readable application.yml file.

2. Difference Between Properties and YML File

Before diving directly into the topic, let’s see the difference between these two file formats in the form of code.

In the file, properties are stored as a single-line configuration. Spring Boot generates the properties file as the default one:


On the other hand, we can create an application.yml. This is a YML-based file that is easy to read when having hierarchical data compared to the properties file:

    url: 'jdbc:h2:mem:testDB'
    username: user
    password: testpwd

As we can see, with the help of YML-based configuration, we have removed the need to add repeated prefixes (spring.datasource).

3. Convert Properties to YML

3.1. IntelliJ Plugin

If we’re using IntelliJ as our IDE to run the Spring Boot application, we can do the conversion by installing the following plugin:


We need to go to File > Settings > Plugins > Install Convert YAML and Properties file“.

Once we’ve installed the plugin, we:

  • Right-click on the file
  • Select the option “Convert YAML and Properties file” to convert the file to application.yml automatically

We’ll be able to convert it back as well.

3.2. Online Website Tool

Instead of using Intellij and installing plugins, we can also directly copy-paste the properties file’s content from our codebase to the simpleStep converter website.

For security purposes, we must ensure we don’t enter passwords for conversion on third-party websites:

Online tool to convert properties to yaml

As we can see in the screenshot, we first select the input and output content types using the two dropdown boxes. When we paste the properties file content in the “Input” section, the converted YML format appears instantly in the “Output” section.

4. Conclusion

In this article, we’ve seen the difference between .properties and .yml files and learned how to convert the file to application.yml using various tools and plugins.

Course – LS – All

Get started with Spring and Spring Boot, through the Learn Spring course:

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