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1.0.3 • Public • Published


Easily generate licenses for your projects!

Table of Contents

What is this?

Have you ever started a new project, and needed to add a new license to it but don't know the exact wording off by heart (because who would)? You have to search for the license you want, copy its text, paste it into a new file, and then check to see if there's anything like copyright information that you need to update.

License is a super easy to use CLI tool for streamlining the LICENSE file creation process. With a super simple but powerful CLI inspired by tools such as now, setting up a license for your new project has never been easier!


First, globally install license through your package manager of choice.

$ yarn global add license
# or 
$ npm i -g license

And then simply run license to generate a license.

$ license [license]

If you don't specify a license to generate, it'll either pick from your config, or show an interactive prompt for you to search through.

If you don't want to install license and just want to run it once, you can use npx

$ npx license [license]
# Or using Yarn 2.x 
$ yarn dlx license [license]



Advanced Usage

By default, license will try to guess your name, email, the current project, and the current year to use in the license it generates. You can override these in a number of ways though.


By default, license will try to get your name from your Git configuration, (git config --global If it fails to, it will fallback to using the USER environment variable, often your username in a shell.

You can override this in two ways:

  1. Overriding it as a one time thing by providing a --name option while running license (also alised to -n).
  2. Overriding it permanently by using license config --name <name>, which will add it to the global config, and will be used for any future calls to license, unless the --name option above is used, in which case that will take precedence.


By default, license will try to get your email from your Git configuration, just like it does with your name, (git config --global, however it does not have any fallback to use, so it's recommended you use either of the two override methods below.

  1. Overriding it as a one time thing by providing an --email option while running license (also aliased to -e).
  2. Overriding it permanently by using license config --email <email>, which will add it to the global config, and will be used for any future calls to license, unless the --email option above is used, in which case that will take precedence.


By default, license will use the current year (according to your system time) to fill in, however you can set a custom year using the --year option to license.

It supports a couple formats for the year:

  1. a plain year - 2009
  2. a year range - 2005-2009
  3. a list of years - 2004, 2006, 2007 - also supports ranges in it - 2004, 2005-2009, 2011


By default, license will use the directory it's making the license file in as the name of the project, however in case the directory's name doesn't match the project name or whatever, you can override the name using the --projectName option to license.

If you want to change the directory the license gets generated in, without needing to cd into it, you can supply the --project option (aliased to -p) with a path to the directory instead, and it'll generate the license there. It'll also change the project name set to that of the directory, unless you specify the --projectName option above.

Default License

If you wish to be able to run license without having to specify the same license everytime - say you just want to use the MIT License everywhere because that's your go-to. You can set what license gets generated by default with license config --license <license>, and it will procede to use that for all future calls without you need to specify MIT as the license every single time.

You can of course override this decision by specifying a license to when you call license via the normal usage, this just changes the default empty behaviour from the search prompt to auto filling a license.

API Usage

You can also use the core functionality of license through a simple API

Getting a license you know

import { getLicense } from "license";
// Get license template text
// Fill out some info
console.log(getLicense("MIT", { author: "Ovyerus", year: "2020" }));

Getting a list of licenses that match a search term

import { findLicense } from "license";
// [ 'MIT', 'MirOS', 'Multics', 'MPL-2.0-no-copyleft-exception' ]
// [ 'MIT' ] (exact match)
// Showing more licenses than just OSI-approved
console.log(findLicense("mi", false));
// [
//   'CDLA-Permissive-1.0',
//   'MIT',
//   'MIT-0',
//   'MIT-CMU',
//   'MIT-advertising',
//   'MIT-enna',
//   'MIT-feh',
//   'MITNFA',
//   'MirOS',
//   ...
// ]

Combined, you can provide a powerful searching experience for a license without needing your users to exactly remember the name of what they want.

API Docs

getLicense(license[, replacements]) => string

Get the body text of a given license, optionally filling in any placeholder values with given values, such as author or date.

license (string)

The name of the license to get/fill in. Must be an exact match including capitalisation.

replacements (object)

A plain key: value object used to populate given any present placeholders in the license text, where key is used as the placeholder's name, and value is what replaces the placeholder.

findLicense(search[, osiOnly = true]) => string[]

Get a list of possible matching license identifiers, given a string - possibly user input. If the input is an exact matchs (sans capitalisation), it'll return only that as a result, to make it easier to determine if the user got the search right.

search (string)

The string to search through all the identifiers for a match.

osiOnly (boolean)

Determines whether or not to only show only OSI-approved licenses in the results. Defaults to true.


This repository and the code inside it is licensed under the MIT License. Read LICENSE for more information.




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