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ScanCode toolkit

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

Read more about ScanCode here:

Why use ScanCode?

  • As a standalone command line tool, ScanCode is easy to install, run and embed in your CI/CD processing pipeline. It runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.
  • ScanCode is used by several projects and organizations such as the Eclipse Foundation,, the FSF, OSS Review Toolkit,, RedHat Fabric8 analytics and many more.
  • ScanCode detects licenses, copyrights, package manifests and direct dependencies and more both in source code and binary files.
  • ScanCode provides the most accurate license detection engine and does a full comparison (also known as diff or red line comparison) between a database of license texts and your code instead of relying only on regex patterns or probabilistic search, edit distance or machine learning.
  • Written in Python, ScanCode is easy to extend with plugins to contribute new and improved scanners, data summarization, package manifest parsers and new outputs.
  • You can save your scan results as JSON, HTML, CSV or SPDX. And you can use the companion ScanCode workbench GUI app to review and display scan results, statistics and graphics.
  • ScanCode is actively maintained, has a growing community of users.
  • ScanCode is heavily tested with an automated test suite of over 8000 tests.
  • ScanCode has extensive and updated Documentation help for users.

See our roadmap for upcoming features.

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

Documentation Build

Version RTD Build
Latest Documentation Status


The ScanCode documentation is hosted at

If you are new to Scancode, start here.

Other Important Documentation Pages:

See also for related companion projects and tools.


Before installing ScanCode make sure you've installed the prerequisites properly. This mainly refers to installing the required Python interpreter (Python 3.6 is recommended). Refer Prerequisites for detailed information on all different platforms and Python Versions.

There are 3 main ways you can install ScanCode.

Quick Start

Note the Commands Variation across Installation methods and Platforms.

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

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

Follow the How to Run a Scan Tutorial to perform a basic scan on the samples directory distributed by default with Scancode.

See more command examples:

./scancode --examples

Refer How to set what will be detected in Scan and How to specify Scancode Output Format for more information.

You can also refer to Command Line Options Synopsis and an exhaustive List of All Available Options.

Archive 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

Refer All Extractcode Options and How To Extract Archives for more information.


If you have a problem, a suggestion or found a bug, please enter a ticket at:

For discussions and chats, we have:

Source code and downloads


  • Apache-2.0 with an acknowledgement required to accompany the scan output.
  • Public domain CC0-1.0 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.

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