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gotestfmt: go test output for humans

⚠️ Action required: gotestfmt has moved to the GoTestTools organization and you need to update your references. Please see the announcement. The old repository will be deleted on January 1, 2023.

Are you tired of scrolling through endless Golang test logs in GitHub Actions (or other CI systems)?

An animation showcasing that gotestfmt transforms a text log into an interactive log with folding sections.

Then this is the tool for you. Run it locally, or in any CI system with the following command line like this:

set -euo pipefail
go test -json -v ./... 2>&1 | tee /tmp/gotest.log | gotestfmt

Tadam, your tests will now show up in a beautifully formatted fashion. Plug it into your CI and you're done. Installation is also easy:

Note: Please always save the original log. You will need it if you have to file a bug report for gotestfmt.

Table of Contents


You can install gotestfmt using the following methods.


You can download the binary manually from the releases section. The binaries have no dependencies and should run without any problems on any of the listed operating systems.

Using go install

You can install gotestfmt using the go install command:

go install

You can then use the gotestfmt command, provided that your Go bin directory is added to your system path.

Using a container

You can also run gotestfmt in a container. For example:

go test -json ./... | docker run

If you have a high volume of requests you may want to mirror the image to your own registry.

Setting it up in your CI system

We have support for several CI systems, and you can also customize the output to match your system. Gotestfmt detects the CI system based on environment variables. If it can't detect the CI system it will try to create a generic colored test output. You can force the CI output with the -ci github|gitlab|... option.

GitHub Actions

For GitHub Actions we provide gotestfmt-action, making it easy to use. Here's how you can set it up:

    name: Test
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      # Checkout your project with git
      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      # Install Go on the VM running the action.
      - name: Set up Go
        uses: actions/setup-go@v2
          go-version: 1.16

      # Install gotestfmt on the VM running the action.
      - name: Set up gotestfmt
        uses: gotesttools/gotestfmt-action@v2
          # Optional: pass GITHUB_TOKEN to avoid rate limiting.
          token: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}

      # Alternatively, install using go install
      - name: Set up gotestfmt
        run: go install

      # Run tests with nice formatting. Save the original log in /tmp/gotest.log
      - name: Run tests
        run: |
          set -euo pipefail
          go test -json -v ./... 2>&1 | tee /tmp/gotest.log | gotestfmt

      # Upload the original go test log as an artifact for later review.
      - name: Upload test log
        uses: actions/upload-artifact@v2
        if: always()
          name: test-log
          path: /tmp/gotest.log
          if-no-files-found: error

Gotestfmt provides specialized output for GitHub Actions based on the presence of the GITHUB_WORKFLOW environment variable. You can also set gotestfmt to run in GitHub Actions mode by providing the -ci github option.

In GitHub Actions mode gotestfmt will look for the rendering templates in the .gotestfmt/github and .gotestfmt folders, which can be customized.

GitLab CI

There are multiple ways to run gotestfmt in GitLab CI. You can simply download it from the releases section and use it that way, but we would recommend creating a custom container image to run the tests as follows:

# Include gotestfmt as a base image for building
FROM AS gotestfmt

# Use the golang base image
FROM golang
# Copy gotestfmt into the golang image
COPY --from gotestfmt /gotestfmt /usr/local/bin/

You can then run the tests within this image with the following command:

go test -json -v ./... | /usr/local/bin/gotestfmt

To put it all together, you can use the following .gitlab-ci.yaml:

  image: docker:latest
  stage: build
    - docker:dind
    - |
      docker build -t gotestfmt .
      docker run \
        -v $(pwd):/source \
        -v /tmp:/tmp |
        -e GITLAB_CI=${GITLAB_CI} \
        gotestfmt \
        /bin/sh -c "cd /source; go test -json -v ./... 2>&1 | tee /tmp/gotest.log | /usr/local/bin/gotestfmt"
      - /tmp/gotest.log
    expire_in: 1 week
        - Dockerfile

You can, of course, customize this to your liking. We also recommend mirroring the gotestfmt image to your local registry to avoid rate limiting errors. See the GitLab blog on how to do this.

Gotestfmt detects running in GitLab CI based on the GITLAB_CI environment variable. You can also force gotestfmt to run in GitLab CI mode by passing the -c gitlab option.


There is no special template for CircleCI since it doesn't support advanced features like log folding. You can set up Circle CI by using the gotestfmt container directly:

version: 2
      - image: circleci/golang:1.16
      - checkout
      - setup_remote_docker:
          version: 19.03.13
      - run:
          name: Run tests
          command: go test -json -v ./... 2>&1 | tee /tmp/gotest.log | docker run -i
      - store_artifacts:
          path: /tmp/gotest.log
          destination: gotest.log
  version: 2
      - test

Add your own CI

You can, of course, customize the output to match your CI system. You can do this creating a folder named .gotestfmt in your project and adding the go template files below. You can find the default templates in the .gotestfmt folder in this repository.

When running on a well-known CI system, such as GitHub Actions, gotestfmt will detect that and look in the specific subfolder. If you think a specific CI system should have a custom template, please send us a pull request to this repository.


This file contains the output fragment showing the package downloads in the Go template format. It has the following variables available:

Variable Type Description
.Failed bool Indicates an overall failure.
.Packages []Package A list of packages that have been processed.
.StartTime *time.Time The time the first download line was seen. May be empty.
.EndTime *time.Time The time the last download line was seen. May be empty.
.Reason string If an extra reason is given for the failure, the text is included here.
.Settings RenderSettings The render settings (what to hide, etc, see below).

The Package items have the following format:

Variable Type Description
.Package string Name of the package. (e.g.
.Version string Version of the package. (e.g. v1.0.0)
.Failed bool If the package download has failed.
.Reason string Text explaining the failure.


This template is the output format for the results of a single package and the tests in it. If multiple packages are tested, this template is called multiple times in a row. It has the following fields:

Variable Type Description
.Name string Name of the package under test.
.Result string Result of all tests in this package. Can be PASS, FAIL, or SKIP.
.Duration time.Duration Duration of all test runs in this package.
.Coverage *float64 If coverage data was provided, this indicates the code coverage percentage.
.Output string Additional output from failures. (e.g. syntax error indications)
.TestCases []TestCase A list of test case results.
.Reason string Text explaining the failure. Empty in most cases.
.StartTime *time.Time A pointer to a time object when the package was first seen in the output. May be nil.
.EndTime *time.Time A pointer to the time object when the package was last seen in the output. May be nil.
.Settings RenderSettings The render settings (what to hide, etc, see below).

Test cases have the following format:

Variable Type Description
.Name string Name of the test case. May contain slashes (/) if subtests are run.
.Result string Result of the test. Can be PASS, FAIL, or SKIP.
.Duration time.Duration Duration of all test runs in this package.
.Output string Log output from the test.
.StartTime *time.Time A pointer to a time object when the test case was first seen in the output. May be nil.
.EndTime *time.Time A pointer to the time object when the test case was last seen in the output. May be nil.

Render settings

Render settings are available in all templates. They have the following fields:

Variable Type Description
.HideSuccessfulDownloads bool Hide successful package downloads from the output.
.HideSuccessfulPackages bool Hide all packages that have only successful tests from the output.
.HideEmptyPackages bool Hide the packages from the output that have no test cases.
.HideSuccessfulTests bool Hide all tests from the output that are successful.
.ShowTestStatus bool Show the test status next to the icons (PASS, FAIL, SKIP).
.Formatter string Path to the formatter to be used. This formatter can be invoked by calling formatTestOutput outputHere .Settings.


How do I make the output less verbose?

By default, gotestfmt will output all tests and their logs. However, you can use the -hide function to hide certain aspects of the output. It accepts a comma-separated list of the following values:

  • successful-tests: Hide successful tests.
  • successful-downloads: Hide successful dependency downloads.
  • successful-packages: Hide packages with only successful tests.
  • empty-packages: Hide packages that have no tests.
  • all: Hide all non-error items.

⚠️ This feature depends on the template you use. If you customized your template please make sure to check the Render settings object in your code.

How do I format the log lines within a test?

Gotestfmt starting with version 2.2.0 supports running external formatters:

go test -json -v ./... 2>&1 | gotestfmt -formatter "/path/to/your/formatter"

The formatter will be called for each individual test case separately and the entire output of the test case will be passed to the formatter on the standard input. The formatter can then write the modified test output to the standard output. The formatter has 10 seconds to finish the test case, otherwise it will be terminated.

You can find a sample formatter written in Go in cmd/gotestfmt-formatter/main.go.

Why does gotestfmt exit with a non-zero status?

As of version 2.3.0 gotestfmt returns with a non-zero exit status when one or more tests fail. We added this behavior to make sure your CI doesn't pass on failing tests if you forget the set -euo pipefail option. You can disable this behavior by passing the -nofail parameter in the command line.

How do I know what the icons mean in the output?

The icons are based on the output of go test -json. They map to the values from the test2json package (PASS, FAIL, SKIP).

You can use the -showteststatus flag to output the words next to the icons.

Can I use gotestfmt without -json?

When running go test without -json the output does not properly contain the package names for each line. This is not a problem if you are running tests only on a single package, but lines become mixed up when running tests on multiple packages. Version 1 of gotestfmt supported the raw output, but version 2 dropped support for it because it results in a lot of unmaintainable code based on an undocumented format.

If you need to use gotestfmt without using the -json flag, please use version 1 of gotestfmt. However, it may break, and we may not be able to fix it.

Does gotestfmt work with Ginkgo?

Ginkgo has its own output format which is not compatible with go test. This choice is understandable because the go test output format is not properly documented and is also very difficult to work with. However, this means that gotestfmt does not support Ginkgo.

But, fear not! Ginkgo has a large number of formats it supports using reporters, such as writing jUnit XML reports. Alternatively, you can even write your own.

I don't like gotestfmt. What else can I use?

There are more awesome tools out there:

Who uses gotestfmt?

To add your name here simply click the pen icon on top of this box. Please use alphabetic order.


Gotestfmt takes the output from go test, parses it and reformats it with the templates located in the .gotestfmt directory, or baked into the application.

This application has 3 main pieces: the tokenizer, the parser, and the renderer. All of them run in separate goroutines and pipeline data using channels.

The tokenizer takes the raw output from go test and turns it into a stream of events that can be consumed.

The parser takes the tokens from the tokenizer and interprets them, constructing logical units for test cases, packages, and package downloads.

Finally, the renderer takes the two streams from the parser and renders them into human-readable text templates, which are then streamed out to the main application for writing.


If you wish to build gotestfmt for yourself you'll need at least Go 1.16. You can then build it by running go build cmd/gotestfmt.


This project is licensed under the Unlicense, you are free to do with it as you please. It has no external dependencies.