Check for outdated, incorrect, and unused dependencies.


  • Tells you what’s out of date.
  • Provides a link to the package’s documentation so you can decide if you want the update.
  • Kindly informs you if a dependency is not being used in your code.
  • Works on your globally installed packages too, via -g.
  • Interactive Update for less typing and fewer typos, via -u.
  • Supports public and private @scoped/packages.
  • Supports ES6-style import from syntax.
  • Upgrades your modules using your installed version of npm, including the new npm@3, so dependencies go where you expect them.
  • Works with any public npm registry, private registries, and alternate registries like Sinopia.
  • Does not query registries for packages with private: true in their package.json.
  • Emoji in a command-line app, because command-line apps can be fun too.
  • Works with npm@2 and npm@3, as well as newer alternative installers like ied and pnpm.


  • Node >= 0.11.

On the command line

This is the easiest way to use npm-check.


$ npm install -g npm-check


$ npm-check

The result should look like the screenshot, or something nice when your packages are all up-to-date and in use.

When updates are required it will return a non-zero response code that you can use in your CI tools.


$ npm-check <path> <options>
Where to check. Defaults to current directory. Use -g for checking global modules.
-u, --update Interactive update.
-g, --global Look at global modules.
-s, --skip-unused Skip check for unused packages.
-p, --production Skip devDependencies.
-E, --save-exact Save exact version (x.y.z) instead of caret (^x.y.z) in package.json.
--no-color Force or disable color output.
--no-emoji Remove emoji support. No emoji in default in CI environments.
--debug Debug output. Throw in a gist when creating issues on github.
$ npm-check # See what can be updated, what isn't being used.
$ npm-check ../foo # Check another path.
$ npm-check -gu # Update globally installed modules by picking which ones to upgrade.

-u, — update

Show an interactive UI for choosing which modules to update.

Automatically updates versions referenced in the package.json.

Based on recommendations from the npm team, npm-check only updates using npm install, not npm update. To avoid using more than one version of npm in one directory, npm-check will automatically install updated modules using the version of npm installed globally.

Update using ied or pnpm

Set environment variable NPM_CHECK_INSTALLER to the name of the installer you wish to use.

NPM_CHECK_INSTALLER=pnpm npm-check -u
## pnpm install --save-dev foo@version --color=always

You can also use this for dry-run testing:

NPM_CHECK_INSTALLER=echo npm-check -u

-g, — global

Check the versions of your globally installed packages.

Tip: Use npm-check -u -g to do a safe interactive update of global modules, including npm itself.

-s, — skip-unused

By default npm-check will let you know if any of your modules are not being used by looking at require statements in your code.

This option will skip that check.

This is enabled by default when using global or update.

-p, — production

By default npm-check will look at packages listed as dependencies and devDependencies.

This option will let it ignore outdated and unused checks for packages listed as devDependencies.

-E, — save-exact

Install packages using — save-exact, meaning exact versions will be saved in package.json.

Applies to both dependencies and devDependencies.

— color, — no-color

Enable or disable color support.

By default npm-check uses colors if they are available.

— emoji, — no-emoji

Enable or disable emoji support. Useful for terminals that don’t support them. Automatically disabled in CI servers.

— spinner, — no-spinner

Enable or disable the spinner. Useful for terminals that don’t support them. Automatically disabled in CI servers.


The API is here in case you want to wrap this with your CI toolset.

const npmCheck = require('npm-check');
.then(currentState => console.log(currentState.get('packages')));


  • Check global modules.
  • default is false
  • cwd is automatically set with this option.


  • Interactive update.
  • default is false


  • Skip checking for unused packages.
  • default is false


  • Ignore devDependencies.
  • This is called — production on the command line to match npm.
  • default is false


  • Override where npm-check checks.
  • default is process.cwd()


  • Update package.json with exact version x.y.z instead of semver range ^x.y.z.
  • default is false


The result of the promise is a currentState object, look in state.js to see how it works.

You will probably want currentState.get(‘packages’) to get an array of packages and the state of each of them.

Each item in the array will look like the following:

moduleName: 'lodash', // name of the module.
homepage: '', // url to the home page.
regError: undefined, // error communicating with the registry
pkgError: undefined, // error reading the package.json
latest: '4.7.0', // latest according to the registry.
installed: '4.6.1', // version installed
isInstalled: true, // Is it installed?
notInstalled: false, // Is it installed?
packageWanted: '4.7.0', // Requested version from the package.json.
packageJson: '^4.6.1', // Version or range requested in the parent package.json.
devDependency: false, // Is this a devDependency?
usedInScripts: undefined, // Array of `scripts` in package.json that use this module.
mismatch: false, // Does the version installed not match the range in package.json?
semverValid: '4.6.1', // Is the installed version valid semver?
easyUpgrade: true, // Will running just `npm install` upgrade the module?
bump: 'minor', // What kind of bump is required to get the latest, such as patch, minor, major.
unused: false // Is this module used in the code?

You will also see this if you use — debug on the command line.


  • npm outdated — awkward output, requires — depth=0 to be grokable.
  • david — does not work with private registries.
  • update-notifier — for single modules, not everything in package.json.
  • depcheck — only part of the puzzle. npm-check uses depcheck.
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