Pre-Scan Options

All “Pre-Scan” Options

--ignore <pattern>

Ignore files matching <pattern>.

--include <pattern>

Include files matching <pattern>.


Classify files with flags telling if the file is a legal, or readme or test file, etc.


  • --license-clarity-score

  • --summary-key-files

--facet <facet_pattern>

Here <facet_pattern> represents <facet>=<pattern>. Add the <facet> to files with a path matching <pattern>.


  • --summary-by-facet


Please note that different for different install methods, scan commands vary.

The basic command to perform a scan, in case of a download and configure installation (on Linux/MacOS) is:


The basic usage, if Scancode is installed from pip, or in Windows:


For more information on how the Scan Command varies for Various Installation Methods/Operating Systems, refer Commands Variation.

--ignore Option

In a scan, all files inside the directory specified as an input argument is scanned. But if there are some files which you don’t want to scan, the --ignore option can be used to do the same.

A sample usage:

scancode --ignore "*.java" samples samples.json

Here, Scancode ignores files ending with .java, and continues with other files as usual.

More information on Glob Pattern Matching.

--include Option

In a normal scan, all files inside the directory specified as an input argument is scanned. But if you want to run the scan on only some selective files, then --include option can be used to do the same.

A sample usage:

scancode --include "*.java" samples samples.json

Here, Scancode selectively scans files that has names ending with .java, and ignores all other files. This is basically complementary in behavior to the --ignore option.

More information on Glob Pattern Matching.



The options --license-clarity-score and --summary-key-files are sub-options of --classify. --license-clarity-score and --summary-key-files are Post-Scan Options.

The --classify option can be used like:

scancode -clpieu --json-pp sample_facet.json samples --classify

This option makes ScanCode further classify scanned files/directories, to determine whether they fall in these following categories

  • legal

  • readme

  • top-level

  • manifest

    A manifest file in computing is a file containing metadata for a group of accompanying files that are part of a set or coherent unit.

  • key-file

    A KEY file is a generic file extension used by various programs when registering legal copies of the software. It may be saved in a plain text format, but generally contains some form of encrypted key string that authenticates the purchase and registers the software.

As in, to the JSON object of each file scanned, these extra attributes are added:

"is_legal": false,
"is_manifest": false,
"is_readme": true,
"is_top_level": true,
"is_key_file": true,

--facet Option


The option --summary-by-facet is a sub-option of --facet. --summary-by-facet is a Post-Scan Option.

Valid <facet> values are:

  • core,

  • dev,

  • tests,

  • docs,

  • data,

  • examples.

You can use the --facet option in the following manner:

scancode -clpieu --json-pp sample_facet.json samples --facet dev="*.java" --facet dev="*.c"

This adds to the header object, the following attribute:

"--facet": [

Here in this example, .java and .c files are marked as it belongs to facet dev.

As a result, .java file has the following attribute added:

"facets": [


All other files which are not dev are marked to be included in the facet core.

For each facet, the --facet option precedes the <facet>=<pattern> argument. For specifying multiple facets, this whole part is repeated, including the --facet option.

For users who want to know What is a Facet?.

Glob Pattern Matching

All the Pre-Scan options use pattern matching, so the basics of Glob Pattern Matching is discussed briefly below.

Glob pattern matching is useful for matching a group of files, by using patterns in their names. Then using these patterns, files are grouped and treated differently as required.

Here are some rules from the Linux Manual on glob patterns. Refer the same for more detailed information.

A string is a wildcard pattern if it contains one of the characters ‘?’, ‘*’ or ‘[‘. Globbing is the operation that expands a wildcard pattern into the list of pathnames matching the pattern. Matching is defined by:

  • A ‘?’ (not between brackets) matches any single character.

  • A ‘*’ (not between brackets) matches any string, including the empty string.

  • An expression “[…]” where the first character after the leading ‘[‘ is not an ‘!’ matches a single character, namely any of the characters enclosed by the brackets.

  • There is one special convention: two characters separated by ‘-‘ denote a range.

  • An expression “[!…]” matches a single character, namely any character that is not matched by the expression obtained by removing the first ‘!’ from it.

  • A ‘/’ in a pathname cannot be matched by a ‘?’ or ‘*’ wildcard, or by a range like “[.-0]”.

Note that wildcard patterns are not regular expressions, although they are a bit similar.

For more information on Glob pattern matching refer these resources:

You can also import these Python Libraries to practice UNIX style pattern matching:

  • fnmatch for File Name matching

  • glob for File Path matching

What is a Facet?

A facet is defined as follows (by ClearlyDefined):

A facet of a component is a subset of the files related to the component. It’s really just a grouping that helps us understand the shape of the project. Each facet is described by a set of glob expressions, essentially wildcard patterns that are matched against file names.

Each facet definition can have zero or more glob expressions. A file can be captured by more than one facet. Any file found but not captured by a defined facet is automatically assigned to the core facet.

  • core - The files that go into making the release of the component. Note that the core facet is not explicitly defined. Rather, it is made up of whatever is not in any other facet. So, by default, all files are in the core facet unless otherwise specified.

  • data - The files included in any data distribution of the component.

  • dev - Files primarily used at development time (e.g., build utilities) and not distributed with the component

  • docs - Documentation files. Docs may be included with the executable component or separately or not at all.

  • examples – Like docs, examples may be included in the main component release or separately.

  • tests – Test files may include code, data and other artifacts.

Important Links: