6.5.0 • Public • Published

NPM License Report Tool

Version License: MIT

Generate a license report for the projects dependencies.


npm install -g license-report


license-report gets the dependencies of a program or package from its package.json file and for each dependency adds the installed version, the license type and the author from the corresponding package.json file in the node_modules directory and the latest available version and other data from the (npm) registry where this package was installed from.


  1. The dependencies of the project under inspection must be installed so that the node_modules directory exists in the path of the package.json file.
  2. The registry defined in the registry configuration setting must be accessible (default: '').


Run license-report without options:

By default, license-report outputs all licenses from dependencies, devDependencies, optionalDependencies and peerDependencies.

cd your/project/

Select dependencies:

To specify one or some dependency types, use configuration options, e.g.

license-report --only=dev
license-report --only=prod
license-report --only=prod,opt,peer

The 'only' option is a comma separated list of the dependencies to use.
Possible values are:

value segment of package.json
prod dependencies
dev devDependencies
opt optionalDependencies
peer peerDependencies

Explicit package.json:

To define the package.json to inspect, use the 'package' option.

license-report --package=/path/to/package.json

Customize a field's label:

The configurable labels are used as column headers in table / csv / html output. For html output the labels of all fields in the output must be unique.

license-report --department.label=division

Customize a fields default value:

Only applicable for the fields in the list later in this document and for "custom" fields (look for "Fields with data set in the configuration of license-report")

license-report --department.value=ninjaSquad

Use another registry:

To define the registry, the remote data for packages are fetched from, use the 'registry' option.

license-report --registry=

Registry with authorization:

To use a npm registry that requires authorization, the option npmTokenEnvVar must contain the name of an environment variable that contains the required npm authorization token (the default name is 'NPM_TOKEN'). An example:

# if the name of the environment variable containing the bearer token for npm authorization is 'NPM_TOKEN'
license-report --registry= --npmTokenEnvVar=NPM_TOKEN

The name of this environment variable (in the example: 'npm_token') should not be added as an option to the license-report config file, as this implies a severe security risk, when this file is checked in into a git repository. A warning is emitted if such an option is found in the config file.

Generate different outputs:

license-report --output=table
license-report --output=json
license-report --output=csv
license-report --output=html
license-report --output=markdown

# replace default ',' separator with something else
license-report --output=csv --delimiter="|" 

# output csv headers (fields) on first row
license-report --output=csv --csvHeaders

# use custom stylesheet for html output
license-report --output=html --html.cssFile=/a/b/c.css

# see the output immediately in your browser, use hcat
license-report --output=html | hcat

When using the 'hcat' package to open the result in a browser, this package must be globally installed with npm i -g hcat.

Select fields for output:

If only a few fields are required in the output, the easiest way of selecting the fields is via --fields command line arguments.

# set options with command line arguments
license-report --output=csv --fields=name --fields=installedVersion

If more fields are needed, the best way is to use a custom config file, that contains a fields array.

# set options with command line option for custom (partial) config file
license-report --output=csv --config license-report-config.json
# example of config file for backward compatible output:
  "fields": [

Besides the 'build-in' fields ("department", "name", "installedVersion", "author" "comment", "licensePeriod", "licenseType", "link", "material", "relatedTo"), any field allowed in a package.json can be used in the fields array (as "custom" field).

When using "custom" field, an element named like the "custom" field with 2 properties must be added: "value" - the default value for this field - and "label - the "heading" for generated columns. Here is an example for adding the 'homepage' field:

  "fields": [
  "homepage": {
    "value": 'n/a',
    "label": 'Homepage'

Exclude packages:

With the 'exclude' option, single packages can be excluded from the output.

license-report --exclude=async --exclude=rc

Using the 'excludeRegex' option, packages can be excluded from the output using a regular expression.

license-report --excludeRegex=@mycompany\/.*

Format output

Markdown Options

If you want to change the default markdown table look and feel, e.g. center-align the text, you have to use a custom config file (--config=license-report-config.json) and in the config file use the tablemarkConfig property.

Example config for markdown table with center-aligned content:

"output": "markdown",
"fields": [
"tablemarkOptions": {
  "columns": [
    { "name" : "department", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "relatedTo", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "name", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "licensePeriod", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "material", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "licenseType", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "link", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "comment", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "installedVersion", "align": "center" },
    { "name" : "author", "align": "center" }

For an explanation of all available options see


screenshot screenshot1 screenshot1

"Build-in" fields

Fields with data of the installed packages:

fieldname column title data source
name name name of the package
licenseType license type type of the license of the package (e.g. MIT)
link link link to the repository of the package
installedFrom installed from the download source for the installed package (optional field)
remoteVersion remote version latest available version of the package in the registry following defined semver range (can be different from the installed version)
installedVersion installed version installed version of the package (can be different from the remote version)
definedVersion defined version version of the package as defined in the (dev-) dependencies entry (can start with a semver range character)
latestRemoteVersion latest remote version latest version of the package available in the registry (optional field)
latestRemoteModified latest remote modified last modification date of the package in the registry (optional field)
comment comment deprecated (replaced by field 'remoteVersion'); will be removed in a future version
author author author of the package

Fields with data set in the configuration of license-report:

fieldname column title set value
department department --department.value=kessler
relatedTo related to --relatedTo.value=stuff
licensePeriod license period --licensePeriod.value=perpetual
material material / not material --material.value=material

More configuration options

See lib/config.js for more details e.g. on customizing the generated html data.

license-report uses the 'rc' package for handling configuration. So it is possible to add options to the command line, use a custom (partial) configuration file or even a default configuration file in a project.

A default project configuration file must be placed in the project root path and be named .license-reportrc. The file format is 'json'. An example looks like this:

  "output": "table",
  "fields": [

To find out what configuration options are available see the /lib/config.js file in the project source.

For more 'rc' configuration details see the rc documentation.

Debug report generation

By setting the debug environment variable as follows, detailed log information is generated during the report generation. For details see the documentation of the debug package on npm.

export DEBUG=license-report*


For list of changes and bugfixes, see


The is generated with standard-changelog (using the command npm run release).

To make this possible the commit messages must follow the conventional commits specification.

<type>: <description>

<optional body>

The following is the list of supported types:

  • build: changes that affect build components like build tool, ci pipeline, dependencies, project version, etc...
  • chore: changes that aren't user-facing (e.g. merging branches).
  • docs: changes that affect the documentation.
  • feat: changes that introduce a new feature.
  • fix: changes that patch a bug.
  • perf: changes which improve performance.
  • refactor: changes which neither fix a bug nor add a feature.
  • revert: changes that revert a previous commit.
  • style: changes that don't affect code logic, such as white-spaces, formatting, missing semi-colons.
  • test: changes that add missing tests or correct existing tests.

To ensure the syntax of commit messages commitlint is used, triggered by husky. This feature must be activated with npm run activate-commitlint once for every local clone of license-report.

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  • kessler
  • yaniv