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Please use @electron/packager moving forward. There is no API change, just a package name change

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17.1.2 • Public • Published

Electron Packager

Package your Electron app into OS-specific bundles (.app, .exe, etc.) via JavaScript or the command line.

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Supported Platforms | Installation | Usage | API | Contributing | Support | Related Apps/Libraries | FAQ | Release Notes


Electron Packager is a command line tool and Node.js library that bundles Electron-based application source code with a renamed Electron executable and supporting files into folders ready for distribution.

For creating distributables like installers and Linux packages, consider using either Electron Forge (which uses Electron Packager internally), or one of the related Electron tools, which utilizes Electron Packager-created folders as a basis.

Note that packaged Electron applications can be relatively large. A zipped, minimal Electron application is approximately the same size as the zipped prebuilt binary for a given target platform, target arch, and Electron version (files named electron-v${version}-${platform}-${arch}.zip).

Supported Platforms

Electron Packager is known to run on the following host platforms:

  • Windows (32/64 bit)
  • macOS (formerly known as OS X)
  • Linux (x86/x86_64)

It generates executables/bundles for the following target platforms:

  • Windows (also known as win32, for x86, x86_64, and arm64 architectures)
  • macOS (also known as darwin) / Mac App Store (also known as mas)* (for x86_64, arm64, and universal architectures)
  • Linux (for x86, x86_64, armv7l, arm64, and mips64el architectures)

* Note for macOS / Mac App Store target bundles: the .app bundle can only be signed when building on a host macOS platform.


This module requires Node.js 14.17.5 or higher to run.

npm install --save-dev electron-packager

It is not recommended to install electron-packager globally.

Building Windows apps from non-Windows platforms

Building an Electron app for the Windows target platform requires editing the Electron.exe file. Currently, Electron Packager uses node-rcedit to accomplish this. A Windows executable is bundled in that Node package and needs to be run in order for this functionality to work, so on non-Windows host platforms (not including WSL), Wine 1.6 or later needs to be installed. On macOS, it is installable via Homebrew.


Via JavaScript

JavaScript API usage can be found in the API documentation.

From the command line

Running Electron Packager from the command line has this basic form:

npx electron-packager <sourcedir> <appname> --platform=<platform> --arch=<arch> [optional flags...]

Note: npx can be substituted for yarn or npm exec depending on what package manager and the version you have installed.

This will:

  • Find or download the correct release of Electron
  • Use that version of Electron to create an app in <out>/<appname>-<platform>-<arch> (this can be customized via an optional flag)

--platform and --arch can be omitted, in two cases:

  • If you specify --all instead, bundles for all valid combinations of target platforms/architectures will be created.
  • Otherwise, a single bundle for the host platform/architecture will be created.

For an overview of the other optional flags, run electron-packager --help or see usage.txt. For detailed descriptions, see the API documentation.

For flags that are structured as objects, you can pass each option as via dot notation as such:

npx electron-packager"bar"
# will pass in { flag: { foo: "bar"} } as an option to the Electron Packager API

If appname is omitted, this will use the name specified by "productName" or "name" in the nearest package.json.

Characters in the Electron app name which are not allowed in all target platforms' filenames (e.g., /), will be replaced by hyphens (-).

You should be able to launch the app on the platform you built for. If not, check your settings and try again.

Be careful not to include node_modules you don't want into your final app. If you put them in the devDependencies section of package.json, by default none of the modules related to those dependencies will be copied in the app bundles. (This behavior can be turned off with the prune: false API option or --no-prune CLI flag.) In addition, folders like .git and node_modules/.bin will be ignored by default. You can use --ignore to ignore files and folders via a regular expression (not a glob pattern). Examples include --ignore=\.gitignore or --ignore="\.git(ignore|modules)".


Let's assume that you have made an app based on the electron-quick-start repository on a macOS host platform with the following file structure:

├── package.json
├── index.html
├── […other files, like the app's LICENSE…]
└── script.js

…and that the following is true:

  • electron-packager is installed locally
  • productName in package.json has been set to Foo Bar
  • The electron module is in the devDependencies section of package.json, and set to the exact version of 1.4.15.
  • npm install for the Foo Bar app has been run at least once

When one runs the following command for the first time in the foobar directory:

npx electron-packager .

electron-packager will do the following:

  • Use the current directory for the sourcedir
  • Infer the appname from the productName in package.json
  • Infer the appVersion from the version in package.json
  • Infer the platform and arch from the host, in this example, darwin platform and x64 arch.
  • Download the darwin x64 build of Electron 1.4.15 (and cache the downloads in ~/.electron)
  • Build the macOS Foo
  • Place Foo in foobar/Foo Bar-darwin-x64/ (since an out directory was not specified, it used the current working directory)

The file structure now looks like:

├── Foo Bar-darwin-x64
│   ├── Foo
│   │   └── […Mac app contents…]
│   ├── LICENSE [the Electron license]
│   └── version
├── […other application bundles, like "Foo Bar-win32-x64" (sans quotes)…]
├── package.json
├── index.html
├── […other files, like the app's LICENSE…]
└── script.js

The Foo folder generated can be executed by a system running macOS, which will start the packaged Electron app. This is also true of the Windows x64 build on a system running a new enough version of Windows for a 64-bit system (via Foo Bar-win32-x64/Foo Bar.exe), and so on.


Distributable Creators





These Node modules utilize Electron Packager API hooks:

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npm i electron-packager

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