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All of the CLI options can be configured in the ava section of either your package.json file, or an ava.config.js file. This allows you to modify the default behavior of the ava command, so you don't have to repeatedly type the same options on the command prompt.

To ignore a file or directory, prefix the pattern with an ! (exclamation mark).


	"ava": {
		"files": [
		"sources": [
		"match": [
		"cache": true,
		"concurrency": 5,
		"failFast": true,
		"failWithoutAssertions": false,
		"tap": true,
		"verbose": true,
		"compileEnhancements": false,
		"require": [
		"babel": {
			"extensions": ["jsx"],
			"testOptions": {
				"babelrc": false

Arguments passed to the CLI will always take precedence over the configuration in package.json.


  • files: file & directory paths and glob patterns that select which files AVA will run tests from. Files with an underscore prefix are ignored. All matched files in selected directories are run. By default only selects files with js extensions, even if the glob pattern matches other files. Specify extensions and babel.extensions to allow other file extensions
  • source: files that, when changed, cause tests to be re-run in watch mode. See the watch mode recipe for details
  • match: not typically useful in the package.json configuration, but equivalent to specifying --match on the CLI
  • cache: cache compiled test and helper files under node_modules/.cache/ava. If false, files are cached in a temporary directory instead
  • failFast: stop running further tests once a test fails
  • failWithoutAssertions: if false, does not fail a test if it doesn't run assertions
  • tap: if true, enables the TAP reporter
  • verbose: if true, enables verbose output
  • snapshotDir: specifies a fixed location for storing snapshot files. Use this if your snapshots are ending up in the wrong location
  • compileEnhancements: if false, disables power-assert — which otherwise helps provide more descriptive error messages — and detection of improper use of the t.throws() assertion
  • extensions: extensions of test files that are not precompiled using AVA's Babel presets. Note that files are still compiled to enable power-assert and other features, so you may also need to set compileEnhancements to false if your files are not valid JavaScript. Setting this overrides the default "js" value, so make sure to include that extension in the list, as long as it's not included in babel.extensions
  • require: extra modules to require before tests are run. Modules are required in the worker processes
  • babel: test file specific Babel options. See our [Babel recipe] for more details
  • babel.extensions: extensions of test files that will be precompiled using AVA's Babel presets. Setting this overrides the default "js" value, so make sure to include that extension in the list

Note that providing files on the CLI overrides the files option. If you've configured a glob pattern, for instance test/**/*.test.js, you may want to repeat it when using the CLI: ava 'test/integration/*.test.js'.

Using ava.config.js

To use an ava.config.js file:

  1. It must be in the same directory as your package.json
  2. Your package.json must not contain an ava property (or, if it does, it must be an empty object)

The config file must have a default export, using ES modules. It can either be a plain object or a factory function which returns a plain object:

export default {
	require: ['esm']
export default function factory() {
	return {
		require: ['esm']

The factory function is called with an object containing a projectDir property, which you could use to change the returned configuration:

export default ({projectDir}) => {
	if (projectDir === '/Users/username/projects/my-project') {
		return {
			// Config A

	return {
		// Config B

Note that the final configuration must not be a promise.