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Overview Join the chat at Go Report Card

"Think globally, act locally"

Run your GitHub Actions locally! Why would you want to do this? Two reasons:

  • Fast Feedback - Rather than having to commit/push every time you want test out the changes you are making to your main.workflow file (or for any changes to embedded GitHub actions), you can use act to run the actions locally. The environment variables and filesystem are all configured to match what GitHub provides.
  • Local Task Runner - I love make. However, I also hate repeating myself. With act, you can use the GitHub Actions defined in your main.workflow file to replace your Makefile!

How Does It Work?

When you run act it reads in your GitHub Actions from .github/main.workflow and determines the set of actions that need to be run. It uses the Docker API to either pull or build the necessary images, as defined in your main.workflow file and finally determines the execution path based on the dependencies that were defined. Once it has the execution path, it then uses the Docker API to run containers for each action based on the images prepared earlier. The environment variables and filesystem are all configured to match what GitHub provides.

Let's see it in action with a sample repo!



To install with Homebrew, run:

brew tap nektos/tap && brew install nektos/tap/act

Alternatively, you can use the following:

curl | sudo bash


# List the actions
act -l

# Run the default (`push`) event:

# Run a specific event:
act pull_request

# Run a specific action:
act -a test

# Run in dry-run mode:
act -n

# Run in reuse mode to save state:
act -r

# Enable verbose-logging (can be used with any of the above commands)
act -v


To run act with secrets, you can enter them interactively or supply them as environment variables. If you have a secret called FOO in your main.workflow, act will take whatever you have set as FOO in the session from which you are running act. If FOO is unset, it will ask you interactively.

You can set environment variables for the current session by running export FOO="zap", or globally in your .profile. You can also set environment variables per directory using a tool such as direnv. Be careful not to expose secrets: You may want to .gitignore any files or folders containing secrets, and/or encrypt secrets.

Skip Actions When Run in act

You may sometimes want to skip some actions when you're running a main.workflow in act, such as deployment. You can achieve something similar by using a filter action, filtering on all GITHUB_ACTORs except nektos/act, which is the GITHUB_ACTOR set by act.

action "Filter Not Act" {
  uses = "actions/bin/filter@3c0b4f0e63ea54ea5df2914b4fabf383368cd0da"
  args = "not actor nektos/act"

Just remember that GitHub actions will cancel all upcoming and concurrent actions on a neutral exit code. To avoid prematurely cancelling actions, place this filter at the latest possible point in the build graph.


Need help? Ask on Gitter!


Want to contribute to act? Awesome! Check out the contributing guidelines to get involved.

Building from source

  • Install Go tools 1.11.4+ - (
  • Clone this repo git clone
  • Run unit tests with make check
  • Build and install: make install
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