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Pre-Loaded Plugins

Loading plugins before parsing begins in Less.js

While the easiest way to use a plugin is using the @plugin at-rule, in a Node.js environment, you can pre-load a global Less.js plugin via the command line or by specifying it in the Less options.


Pre-loading plugins is necessary if you want to add a Less.js Pre-processor. That is, a plugin that gets called and passed the raw Less source before parsing even starts. An example of this would be a Sass-To-Less Pre-processor plugin.

Note: pre-loading is not necessary for pre-evaluation plugins (after Less source is parsed, but before it is evaluated).


Using the Command Line

If you are using lessc, the first thing you need to do is install that plugin. In registries like NPM, we recommend a Less.js plugin is registered with the "less-plugin-" prefix (for easier searching), though that isn't required. So, for a custom plugin, you might install with:

npm install less-plugin-myplugin

To use the plugin, you can pass this on the command line by simply writing:

lessc --myplugin

Less.js will try to load either the "less-plugin-myplugin" and the "myplugin" modules as plugins whenever there's an unknown Less option (like "myplugin").

You can also explicitly specify the plugin with:

lessc --plugin=myplugin

To pass options to the plugin, you can write that in one of two ways.

lessc --myplugin="advanced"
lessc --plugin=myplugin=advanced

Loading a Plugin via Less.js

In Node, require the plugin and pass it to less in an array as an option plugins. E.g.

var LessPlugin = require('less-plugin-myplugin');
less.render(myCSS, { plugins: [LessPlugin] })
    function(output) { },
    function(error) { }