🔎 ScanCode scans code and detects licenses, copyrights, package manifests & dependencies and more ... to discover and inventory open source and third-party packages used in your code.
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ScanCode toolkit

A typical software project often reuses hundreds of third-party packages. License and origin information is often scattered, not easy to find and not normalized: ScanCode discovers and normalizes this data for you.

ScanCode is a suite of command line utilities to reliably scan a codebase for license, copyright, package manifests and direct dependencies and other interesting origin and licensing information discovered in source and binary code files.

ScanCode is used by several projects and organizations such as the Eclipse Foundation, Here.com Open Source Review Toolkit, ClearlyDefined and RedHat Fabric8 analytics.

ScanCode provides comprehensive scan results that you can save as JSON, HTML, CSV or SPDX. And you can use the companion AboutCode Manager GUI app to review, search and display scan results, statistics and graphics.

ScanCode is programed primarily in Python (with some C/C++ when performance is critical). License and copyright detection use multiple techniques borrowed from NLP, ML and information retrieval such as feature extraction, probabilistic searches using inverted indexes, multi-patterns automatons and multiple local sequence alignments for comprehensive, accurate and reasonably fast scanning. ScanCode is easily extensible with plugins to contribute new and improved scanner, data summarization and outputs.

As a command line application returning JSON, ScanCode is easy to integrate in a code analysis pipeline and Ci/CD.

We are continuously working on new features, such as detecting more package manifests or improving scanning accuracy and performance and welcome contributions.

See our roadmap for upcoming features: https://github.com/nexB/scancode-toolkit/wiki/Roadmap

Build and tests status

Branch Coverage Linux/macOS Windows
Master Master branch test coverage (Linux) Linux Master branch tests status Windows Master branch tests status
Develop Develop branch test coverage (Linux) Linux Develop branch tests status Windows Develop branch tests status

Quick Start

Install Python 2.7 then download and extract the latest ScanCode release https://github.com/nexB/scancode-toolkit/releases/

Then run ./scancode -h for help.



Next, download and extract the latest ScanCode release from https://github.com/nexB/scancode-toolkit/releases/

Open a terminal window and then cd to the extracted ScanCode directory and run this command to display help. ScanCode will self-configure if needed:

./scancode --help

You can run an example scan printed on screen as JSON:

./scancode -clip --json-pp - samples

See more command examples:

./scancode --examples

Archives extraction

The archives that exist in a codebase must be extracted before running a scan: ScanCode does not extract files from tarballs, zip files, etc. as part of the scan. The bundled utility extractcode is a mostly-universal archive extractor. For example, this command will recursively extract the mytar.tar.bz2 tarball in the mytar.tar.bz2-extract directory:

./extractcode mytar.tar.bz2

Documentation & FAQ


See also https://aboutcode.org for related companion projects and tools.


If you have a problem, a suggestion or found a bug, please enter a ticket at: https://github.com/nexB/scancode-toolkit/issues

For discussions and chats, we have:

Source code and downloads


  • Apache-2.0 with an acknowledgement required to accompany the scan output.
  • Public domain CC-0 for reference datasets.
  • Multiple licenses (GPL2/3, LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc.) for third-party components.

See the NOTICE file and the .ABOUT files that document the origin and license of the third-party code used in ScanCode for more details.