Skip to main content
  • Semgrep CLI
  • Semgrep Code
  • Team & Enterprise Tier

CLI reference

This document provides the outputs of the semgrep --help and semgrep scan --help commands of the Semgrep command-line interface (CLI). In addition, this page also gives an overview of the Semgrep CLI exit codes.

Semgrep commands

For a list of available commands, run the following command:

semgrep --help

Command output:

Usage: semgrep [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

To get started quickly, run `semgrep scan --config auto`

Run `semgrep SUBCOMMAND --help` for more information on each subcommand

If no subcommand is passed, will run `scan` subcommand by default

-h, --help Show this message and exit.

ci The recommended way to run semgrep in CI
install-semgrep-pro Install the Semgrep Pro Engine
login Obtain and save credentials for
logout Remove locally stored credentials to
lsp Start the Semgrep LSP server (useful for IDEs)
publish Upload rule to
scan Run semgrep rules on files
show Show various information about Semgrep

Semgrep scan command options

To list all available semgrep scan options, run the following command:

semgrep scan --help

Command output:

Usage: semgrep scan [OPTIONS] [TARGETS]...

Run semgrep rules on files

Searches TARGET paths for matches to rules or patterns. Defaults to
searching entire current working directory.

To get started quickly, run

semgrep --config auto .

This will automatically fetch rules for your project from the Semgrep
Registry. NOTE: Using `--config auto` will log in to the Semgrep Registry
with your project URL.

For more information about Semgrep, go to

NOTE: By default, Semgrep will report pseudonymous usage metrics to its
server if you pull your configuration from the Semgrep registry. To learn
more about how and why these metrics are collected, please see To modify this behavior, see the --metrics
option below.

--replacement TEXT An autofix expression that will be applied
to any matches found with --pattern. Only
valid with a command-line specified pattern.
Configuration options: [mutually_exclusive]
-c, -f, --config TEXT YAML configuration file, directory of YAML
files ending in .yml|.yaml, URL of a
configuration file, or Semgrep registry
entry name.

Use --config auto to automatically obtain
rules tailored to this project; your project
URL will be used to log in to the Semgrep

To run multiple rule files simultaneously,
use --config before every YAML, URL, or
Semgrep registry entry name. For example
`semgrep --config p/python --config

rules/rule-syntax for information on
configuration file format.
-e, --pattern TEXT Code search pattern. See
rules/pattern-syntax for information on
pattern features.
-l, --lang TEXT Parse pattern and all files in specified
language. Must be used with -e/--pattern.
--dryrun / --no-dryrun If --dryrun, does not write autofixes to a
file. This will print the changes to the
console. This lets you see the changes
before you commit to them. Only works with
the --autofix flag. Otherwise does nothing.
Report findings only from rules matching the
supplied severity level. By default all
applicable rules are run. Can add multiple
times. Each should be one of INFO, WARNING,
--show-supported-languages Print a list of languages that are currently
supported by Semgrep.
Alternate modes: No search is performed in these modes
--validate Validate configuration file(s). This will
check YAML files for errors and run
'p/semgrep-rule-lints' on the YAML files. No
search is performed.
--version Show the version and exit.
Test and debug options:
--test Run test suite.
--test-ignore-todo / --no-test-ignore-todo
If --test-ignore-todo, ignores rules marked
as '#todoruleid:' in test files.
--dump-ast / --no-dump-ast If --dump-ast, shows AST of the input file
or passed expression and then exit (can use
--error / --no-error Exit 1 if there are findings. Useful for CI
and scripts.
--strict / --no-strict Return a nonzero exit code when WARN level
errors are encountered. Fails early if
invalid configuration files are present.
Defaults to --no-strict.
-h, --help Show this message and exit.
-a, --autofix / --no-autofix Apply autofix patches. WARNING: data loss
can occur with this flag. Make sure your
files are stored in a version control
system. Note that this mode is experimental
and not guaranteed to function properly.
--baseline-commit TEXT Only show results that are not found in this
commit hash. Aborts run if not currently in
a git directory, there are unstaged changes,
or given baseline hash doesn't exist
--metrics [auto|on|off] Configures how usage metrics are sent to the
Semgrep server. If 'auto', metrics are sent
whenever the --config value pulls from the
Semgrep server. If 'on', metrics are always
sent. If 'off', metrics are disabled
altogether and not sent. If absent, the
SEMGREP_SEND_METRICS environment variable
value will be used. If no environment
variable, defaults to 'auto'.
Path options: By default, Semgrep scans all git-tracked
files with extensions matching rules'
languages. These options alter which files
Semgrep scans.
--exclude TEXT Skip any file or directory that matches this
pattern; --exclude='*.py' will ignore the
following:, src/, --exclude='tests' will ignore
tests/ as well as a/b/tests/c/
Can add multiple times. If present, any
--include directives are ignored.
--exclude-rule TEXT Skip any rule with the given id. Can add
multiple times.
--include TEXT Filter files or directories by path. The
argument is a glob-style pattern such as
'foo.*' that must match the path. This is an
extra filter in addition to other applicable
filters. For example, specifying the
language with '-l javascript' might
preselect files 'src/foo.jsx' and
'lib/bar.js'. Specifying one of '--
include=src', '--include=*.jsx', or '--
include=src/foo.*' will restrict the
selection to the single file 'src/foo.jsx'.
A choice of multiple '--include' patterns
can be specified. For example, '--
include=foo.* --include=bar.*' will select
both 'src/foo.jsx' and 'lib/bar.js'. Glob-
style patterns follow the syntax supported
by python, which is documented at
--max-target-bytes BYTES Maximum size for a file to be scanned by
Semgrep, e.g '1.5MB'. Any input program
larger than this will be ignored. A zero or
negative value disables this filter.
Defaults to 1000000 bytes.
--use-git-ignore / --no-git-ignore
Skip files ignored by git. Scanning starts
from the root folder specified on the
Semgrep command line. Normally, if the
scanning root is within a git repository,
only the tracked files and the new files
would be scanned. Git submodules and git-
ignored files would normally be skipped.
--no-git-ignore will disable git-aware
filtering. Setting this flag does nothing if
the scanning root is not in a git
--scan-unknown-extensions / --skip-unknown-extensions
If true, explicit files will be scanned
using the language specified in --lang. If
--skip-unknown-extensions, these files will
not be scanned. Defaults to false.
Performance and memory options:
--enable-version-check / --disable-version-check
Checks Semgrep servers to see if the latest
version is run; disabling this may reduce
exit time after returning results.
-j, --jobs INTEGER Number of subprocesses to use to run checks
in parallel. Defaults to the number of cores
on the system (1 if using --pro).
--max-memory INTEGER Maximum system memory to use running a rule
on a single file in MiB. If set to 0 will
not have memory limit. Defaults to 0 for all
CLI scans. For CI scans that use the pro
engine, it defaults to 5000 MiB
--optimizations [all|none] Turn on/off optimizations. Default = 'all'.
Use 'none' to turn all optimizations off.
--timeout INTEGER Maximum time to spend running a rule on a
single file in seconds. If set to 0 will not
have time limit. Defaults to 30 s.
--timeout-threshold INTEGER Maximum number of rules that can timeout on
a file before the file is skipped. If set to
0 will not have limit. Defaults to 3.
--interfile-timeout INTEGER Maximum time to spend on interfile analysis.
If set to 0 will not have time limit.
Defaults to 0 s for all CLI scans. For CI
scans, it defaults to 3 hours.
Display options:
--enable-nosem / --disable-nosem
--enable-nosem enables 'nosem'. Findings
will not be reported on lines containing a
'nosem' comment at the end. Enabled by
--force-color / --no-force-color
Always include ANSI color in the output,
even if not writing to a TTY; defaults to
using the TTY status
--max-chars-per-line INTEGER Maximum number of characters to show per
--max-lines-per-finding INTEGER
Maximum number of lines of code that will be
shown for each match before trimming (set to
0 for unlimited).
--dataflow-traces Explain how non-local values reach the
location of a finding (only affects text and
SARIF output).
-o, --output TEXT Save search results to a file or post to
URL. Default is to print to stdout.
--rewrite-rule-ids / --no-rewrite-rule-ids
Rewrite rule ids when they appear in nested
sub-directories (Rule 'foo' in
test/rules.yaml will be renamed '').
--time / --no-time Include a timing summary with the results.
If output format is json, provides times for
each pair (rule, target).
Verbosity options: [mutually_exclusive]
-q, --quiet Only output findings.
-v, --verbose Show more details about what rules are
running, which files failed to parse, etc.
--debug All of --verbose, but with additional
debugging information.
Output formats: [mutually_exclusive]
Uses ASCII output if no format specified.
--text Output results in Emacs single-line format.
--emacs Output results in Emacs single-line format.
--json Output results in Semgrep's JSON format.
--gitlab-sast Output results in GitLab SAST format.
--gitlab-secrets Output results in GitLab Secrets format.
--junit-xml Output results in JUnit XML format.
--sarif Output results in SARIF format.
--vim Output results in vim single-line format.
Semgrep Pro Engine options:
--pro Inter-file analysis and Pro languages
(currently just Apex). Requires Semgrep Pro
Engine, contact for more
information on this.
--pro-intrafile Intra-file inter-procedural taint analysis.
Implies --pro-languages. Requires Semgrep
Pro Engine, contact for more
information on this.
--pro-languages Enable Pro languages (currently just Apex).
Requires Semgrep Pro Engine, contact for more information on
--oss-only Run using only OSS features, even if the
Semgrep Pro toggle is on.

Ignoring Files

The Semgrep command line tool supports a .semgrepignore file that follows .gitignore syntax and is used to skip files and directories during scanning. This is commonly used to avoid vendored and test related code. For a complete example, see the .semgrepignore file on Semgrep’s source code.

In addition to .semgrepignore there are several methods to set up ignore patterns. See Ignoring files, folders, or code.

Connecting to Semgrep Registry through a proxy

Semgrep uses the Python3 requests library. Set the following environment variables to point to your proxy:


For example:

export HTTP_PROXY="" 
export HTTPS_PROXY=""

Exit codes

Semgrep can finish with the following exit codes:

  • 0: Semgrep ran successfully and found no errors (or did find errors, but the --error flag is not set).
  • 1: Semgrep ran successfully and found issues in your code (and the --error flag is set).
  • 2: Semgrep failed.
  • 3: Invalid syntax of the scanned language. This error occurs only while using the --strict flag.
  • 4: Semgrep encountered an invalid pattern in the rule schema.
  • 5: Semgrep configuration is not valid YAML.
  • 7: At least one rule in the configuration is invalid.
  • 8: Semgrep does not understand specified language.
  • 13: The API key is invalid.
  • 14: Semgrep scan failed.

Find what you needed in this doc? Join the Semgrep Community Slack group to ask the maintainers and the community if you need help, or check out other ways to get help.