All Available Options

This section contains an exhaustive list of all Scancode options, arranged in various sections. The sections are as follows:

  • Basic Scan Options

  • Core Scan Options

  • Output Formats

  • Controlling Output and Filters

  • Pre-Scan Options

  • Post-Scan Options

There’s also another section for extractcode options.

The order of the sections and all their options is the same as in the :ref:’cli_help_text’, available in the command line.


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.

All “Basic” Scan Options

Option lists are two-column lists of command-line options and descriptions, documenting a program’s options. For example:

-c, --copyright

Scan <input> for copyrights.


  • --consolidate

-l, --license

Scan <input> for licenses.


  • --consolidate

  • --license-score INT

  • --license-text

  • --license-url-template TEXT

  • --license-text-diagnostics

  • --is-license-text

-p, --package

Scan <input> for packages.


  • --consolidate

-e, --email

Scan <input> for emails.


  • --max-email INT

-u, --url

Scan <input> for urls.


  • --max-url INT

-i, --info

Include information such as:

  • Size,

  • Type,

  • Date,

  • Programming language,

  • sha1 and md5 hashes,

  • binary/text/archive/media/source/script flags

  • Additional options through more CLI options


  • --mark-source


Unlike previous 2.x versions, -c, -l, and -p are not default. If any of combination of these options are used, ScanCode only performs that specific task, and not the others. scancode -e only scans for emails, and doesn’t scan for copyright/license/packages/general information.


These options, i.e. -c, -l, -p, -e, -u, and -i can be used together. As in, instead of scancode -c -i -p, you can write scancode -cip and it will be the same.


Classify automatically generated code files with a flag.

--max-email INT

Report only up to INT emails found in a file. Use 0 for no limit. [Default: 50]

Sub-Option of - --email

--max-url INT

Report only up to INT urls found in a file. Use 0 for no limit. [Default: 50]

Sub-Option of - --url

--license-score INTEGER

Do not return license matches with scores lower than this score. A number between 0 and 100. [Default: 0] Here, a bigger number means a better match, i.e. Setting a higher license score translates to a higher threshold (with equal or less number of matches).

Sub-Option of - --license


Include the matched text for the detected licenses in the output report.

Sub-Option of - --license


  • --license-text-diagnostics

  • --is-license-text

--license-url-template TEXT

Set the template URL used for the license reference URLs.

In a template URL, curly braces ({}) are replaced by the license key. [Default:{}]

Sub-Option of - --license


In the matched license text, include diagnostic highlights surrounding with square brackets [] words that are not matched.

Sub-Option of - --license and --license-text

All Extractcode Options

This is intended to be used as an input preparation step, before running the scan. Archives found in an extracted archive are extracted recursively by default. Extraction is done in-place in a directory named ‘-extract’ side-by-side with an archive.

To extract the packages in the samples directory

extractcode samples

This extracts the zlib.tar.gz package:


Do not extract recursively nested archives (e.g. Not archives in archives).


Print verbose file-by-file progress messages.


Do not print any summary or progress message.

-h, --help

Show the extractcode help message and exit.


Show information about ScanCode and licensing and exit.


Show the version and exit.

All “Core” Scan Options

-n, --processes INTEGER

Scan <input> using n parallel processes. [Default: 1]


Print verbose file-by-file progress messages.


Do not print summary or progress messages.

--timeout FLOAT

Stop scanning a file if scanning takes longer than a timeout in seconds. [Default: 120]


Force a check and possible reindexing of the cached license index.


Load codebase from an existing JSON scan

--max-in-memory INTEGER

Maximum number of files and directories scan details kept in memory during a scan. Additional files and directories scan details above this number are cached on-disk rather than in memory. Use 0 to use unlimited memory and disable on-disk caching. Use -1 to use only on-disk caching. [Default: 10000]

--max-depth INTEGER

Descend at most INTEGER levels of directories including and below the starting point. INTEGER must be positive or zero for no limit. [Default: 0]


All the Core Options are independent options, i.e. They don’t depend on other options.

All Scan Output Options

--json FILE

Write scan output as compact JSON to FILE.

--json-pp FILE

Write scan output as pretty-printed JSON to FILE.

--json-lines FILE

Write scan output as JSON Lines to FILE.

--csv FILE

Write scan output as CSV to FILE.

--html FILE

Write scan output as HTML to FILE.


Write scan output to FILE formatted with the custom Jinja template file.

Mandatory Sub-option:

  • --custom-template FILE

--custom-template FILE

Use this Jinja template FILE as a custom template.

Sub-Option of: --custom-output

--spdx-rdf FILE

Write scan output as SPDX RDF to FILE.

--spdx-tv FILE

Write scan output as SPDX Tag/Value to FILE.

--html-app FILE

Write scan output as a mini HTML application to FILE.


The html-app feature has been deprecated and you should use Scancode Workbench instead to visualize scan results. The official Repository link. Also refer How to Visualize Scan results.

All “Output Control” Scan Options


Strip the root directory segment of all paths.


Report full, absolute paths.


The options --strip-root and --full-root can’t be used together, i.e. Any one option may be used in a single scan.


The default is to always include the last directory segment of the scanned path such that all paths have a common root directory.

--ignore-author <pattern>

Ignore a file (and all its findings) if an author contains a match to the <pattern> regular expression.

--ignore-copyright-holder <pattern>

Ignore a file (and all its findings) if a copyright holder contains a match to the <pattern> regular expression.


Note that this both the options --ignore-author and --ignore-copyright-holder will ignore a file even if it has other scanned data such as a license or errors.


Only return files or directories with findings for the requested scans. Files and directories without findings are omitted (file information is not treated as findings).

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

All “Post-Scan” Options


Set the “is_source” flag to true for directories that contain over 90% of source files as direct children and descendants. Count the number of source files in a directory as a new “source_file_counts” attribute

Sub-Option of - --url


Group resources by Packages or license and copyright holder and return those groupings as a list of consolidated packages and a list of consolidated components.

Sub-Option of - --copyright, --license and --packages.


Filter redundant duplicated clues already contained in detected licenses, copyright texts and notices.


Set the “is_license_text” flag to true for files that contain mostly license texts and notices (e.g. over 90% of the content).

Sub-Option of - --info and --license-text.


--is-license-text is an experimental Option.


Compute a summary license clarity score at the codebase level.

Sub-Option of - --classify.

--license-policy FILE

Load a License Policy file and apply it to the scan at the Resource level.


Summarize license, copyright and other scans at the codebase level.


  • --summary-by-facet

  • --summary-key-files

  • --summary-with-details


Summarize license, copyright and other scans and group the results by facet.

Sub-Option of - --summary and --facet.


Summarize license, copyright and other scans for key, top-level files. Key files are top- level codebase files such as COPYING, README and package manifests as reported by the --classify option “is_legal”, “is_readme”, “is_manifest” and “is_top_level” flags.

Sub-Option of - --classify and --summary.


Summarize license, copyright and other scans at the codebase level, keeping intermediate details at the file and directory level.