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10.2.5 • Public • Published

npm-check-updates npm version Build Status Coverage Status

npm-check-updates upgrades your package.json dependencies to the latest versions, ignoring specified versions.

  • maintains existing semantic versioning policies, i.e. "express": "^4.0.0" to "express": "^5.0.0".
  • only modifies package.json file. Run npm install to update your installed packages and package-lock.json.


  • Red = major upgrade (and all major version zero)
  • Cyan = minor upgrade
  • Green = patch upgrade

You may also want to consider npm-check. Similar purpose, different features.


npm install -g npm-check-updates


Show any new dependencies for the project in the current directory:

$ ncu
Checking package.json
[====================] 5/5 100%

 express           4.12.x  →   4.13.x
 multer            ^0.1.8  →   ^1.0.1
 react-bootstrap  ^0.22.6  →  ^0.24.0
 react-a11y        ^0.1.1  →   ^0.2.6
 webpack          ~1.9.10  →  ~1.10.5

Run ncu -u to upgrade package.json

Upgrade a project's package file:

Make sure your package file is in version control and all changes have been committed. This will overwrite your package file.

$ ncu -u
Upgrading package.json
[====================] 1/1 100%

 express           4.12.x  →   4.13.x

Run npm install to install new versions.

$ npm install      # update installed packages and package-lock.json

Check global packages:

ncu -g           # add -u to get a one-line command for upgrading

You can upgrade specific packages using the --filter option or adding additional cli arguments. You can exclude specific packages with the --reject option. They accept strings, comma-or-space-delimited lists, or regular expressions:

# upgrade only mocha
$ ncu mocha
$ ncu --filter mocha
$ ncu -f mocha

# upgrade only chalk, mocha, and react
$ ncu chalk mocha react
$ ncu chalk,mocha,react
$ ncu -f "chalk mocha react"

# do not upgrade nodemon
$ ncu -x nodemon
$ ncu --reject nodemon

# upgrade packages that start with "gulp-" using regex
$ ncu "/^gulp-.*$/"

# upgrade packages that do not start with "gulp-".
$ ncu '/^(?!gulp-).*$/' # mac/linux
$ ncu "/^(?!gulp-).*$/" # windows

Detailed output with links to each repository:

$ ncu --format repo


--concurrency <n>            Max number of concurrent HTTP requests to
                             registry. (default: 8)
--configFilePath <path>      Directory of .ncurc config file (default:
                             directory of `packageFile`).
--configFileName <filename>  Config file name (default: .ncurc.{json,yml,js})
--cwd <path>                 Working directory in which npm will be executed.
--dep <value>                Check one or more sections of dependencies only:
                             prod, dev, peer, optional, bundle
--deprecated                 Include deprecated packages.
--doctor                     Iteratively installs upgrades and runs tests to
                             identify breaking upgrades. Run "ncu --doctor"
                             for detailed help. Add "-u" to execute.
--enginesNode                Include only packages that satisfy engines.node
                             as specified in the package file.
-e, --errorLevel <n>         Set the error level. 1: exits with error code 0
                             if no errors occur. 2: exits with error code 0
                             if no packages need updating (useful for
                             continuous integration). (default: 1)
-f, --filter <matches>       Include only package names matching the given
                             string, comma-or-space-delimited list, or
--filterVersion <matches>    Filter on package version using
                             comma-or-space-delimited list, or /regex/.
-g, --global                 Check global packages instead of in the current
--greatest                   DEPRECATED. Renamed to "--target greatest".
-i, --interactive            Enable interactive prompts for each dependency;
                             implies -u unless one of the json options are
-j, --jsonAll                Output new package file instead of
                             human-readable message.
--jsonDeps                   Like `jsonAll` but only lists `dependencies`,
                             `devDependencies`, `optionalDependencies`, etc
                             of the new package data.
--jsonUpgraded               Output upgraded dependencies in json.
-l, --loglevel <n>           Amount to log: silent, error, minimal, warn,
                             info, verbose, silly. (default: "warn")
-m, --minimal                Do not upgrade newer versions that are already
                             satisfied by the version range according to
-n, --newest                 DEPRECATED. Renamed to "--target newest".
-p, --packageManager <name>  npm, yarn (default: "npm")
-o, --ownerChanged           DEPRECATED. Renamed to "--format ownerChanged".
--format <value>             Enable additional output data, string or
                             comma-delimited list: ownerChanged, repo.
                             ownerChanged: shows if the package owner changed
                             between versions. repo: infers and displays
                             links to source code repository. (default: [])
--packageData <value>        Package file data (you can also use stdin).
--packageFile <path>         Package file location (default: ./package.json).
--pre <n>                    Include -alpha, -beta, -rc. (default: 0; default
                             with --newest and --greatest: 1).
--prefix <path>              Current working directory of npm.
-r, --registry <url>         Third-party npm registry.
-x, --reject <matches>       Exclude packages matching the given string,
                             comma-or-space-delimited list, or /regex/.
--rejectVersion <matches>    Exclude package.json versions using
                             comma-or-space-delimited list, or /regex/.
--removeRange                Remove version ranges from the final package
--semverLevel <value>        DEPRECATED. Renamed to --target.
-s, --silent                 Don't output anything (--loglevel silent).
-t, --target <value>         Target version to upgrade to: latest, newest,
                             greatest, minor, patch. (default: "latest")
--timeout <ms>               Global timeout in milliseconds. (default: no
                             global timeout and 30 seconds per
-u, --upgrade                Overwrite package file with upgraded versions
                             instead of just outputting to console.
-V, --version                output the version number
-h, --help                   display help for command

How dependency updates are determined

  • Direct dependencies are updated to the latest stable version:
    • 1.21.3
  • Range operators are preserved and the version is updated:
    • ^1.2.0^2.0.0
    • 1.x2.x
    • >0.2.0>0.3.0
  • "Less than" is replaced with a wildcard:
    • <2.0.0^3.0.0
    • 1.0.0 < 2.0.0^3.0.0
  • "Any version" is preserved:
    • **
  • with --target minor, only update patch and minor:
  • with --target patch, only update patch:

Doctor Mode

Usage: ncu --doctor [-u] [options]

Iteratively installs upgrades and runs tests to identify breaking upgrades. Add -u to execute (modifies your package file, lock file, and node_modules).

To be more precise:

  1. Runs npm install and npm test to ensure tests are currently passing.
  2. Runs ncu -u to optimistically upgrade all dependencies.
  3. If tests pass, hurray!
  4. If tests fail, restores package file and lock file.
  5. For each dependency, install upgrade and run tests.
  6. When the breaking upgrade is found, saves partially upgraded package.json (not including the breaking upgrade) and exits.


$ ncu --doctor -u
npm install
npm run test
ncu -u
npm install
npm run test
Failing tests found:
  throw new Error('Test failed!')
Now let's identify the culprit, shall we?
Restoring package.json
Restoring package-lock.json
npm install
npm install --no-save react@16.0.0
npm run test
  ✓ react 15.0.0 → 16.0.0
npm install --no-save react-redux@7.0.0
npm run test
  ✗ react-redux 6.0.0 → 7.0.0
Saving partially upgraded package.json

Configuration Files

Use a .ncurc.{json,yml,js} file to specify configuration information. You can specify file name and path using --configFileName and --configFilePath command line options.

For example, .ncurc.json:

  "upgrade": true,
  "filter": "express",
  "reject": [

Module/Programmatic Usage

npm-check-updates can be required as a module:

const ncu = require('npm-check-updates')

const upgraded = await ncu.run({
  // Pass any cli option.
  // Defaults:
  jsonUpgraded: true,
  silent: true

console.log(upgraded) // { "mypackage": "^2.0.0", ... }

Known Issues

  • Windows: If npm-check-updates hangs, run ncu --loglevel verbose to see if it is waiting for stdin. If so, try setting the package file explicitly: ncu --packageFile package.json. See #136.

Also search the issues page.


File an issue. Please search existing issues first.


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