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Handling Issues

A long list of unused items can be frustrating. The list may contain false positives, but also things that can actually be removed from the codebase. You can get a lot of value out of Knip, but sometimes it requires some initial configuration.

This page guides you in dealing with false positives. It makes sense to go over the issue types one by one. For instance, reducing the number of unused files will also reduce the number of unused dependencies. It’s recommended to work this list from top to bottom.

If you haven’t already, it will probably help if you’ve made yourself familiar with the following topics:

Unused files

Files are reported as unused if they are in the set of project files, but not in the set of files resolved from the entry files:

unused files = project files - (entry files + resolved files)

In this section we’ll look into common patterns that cause unused files and how to handle them.

This works and might help with any other issue type as well. For instance, use --dependencies to focus only on dependencies and omit issues related to unused files and exports.

Implicit imports

Some files are imported by other tooling, such as fixtures, mocks or templates. And some frameworks import files such as routes or models, and Knip doesn’t have a plugin for that framework yet.

If such files are in the set of project files, but not imported by your code, they might be reported as unused files. Exclude them from the project files using negated project patterns:

"project": ["src/**/*.ts", "!src/**/__mocks__/**"]

On the other hand, if such files should be included (because no plugin exists for those files yet), the entry file patterns can be extended:

"entry": ["src/index.ts", "src/models/*.ts"]

Also see configuring project files to learn more about entry and project files, and when to use ignore patterns.


Missing plugins

You might be using a tool or framework that’s not in the list of available plugins. Configuration and entry files (and related dependencies) may be reported as unused because there is no plugin yet that includes those files. For example, if tool.config.js contains a reference to @tool/package then both the file and the dependency may be reported as an unused.

Create a new plugin for tools or frameworks that are not in the list yet, or request it.

Existing plugins

Files may be reported as unused if existing plugins do not include that entry file pattern yet.

See the plugins section of entry files for more details. Override plugin configuration to customize default patterns for existing plugins.

Non-standard files

Files might be imported through files with non-standard extensions like .astro, .mdx, .vue or .svelte. These files are not included by default. See compilers for more details on how to include them.

Integrated monorepos

Multiple instances of configuration files like .eslintrc and jest.config.json across the repository may be reported as unused when working in a (mono)repo with a single package.json. See integrated monorepos for more details and how to configure plugins to target those configuration files.

Build artifacts and ignored files

Sometimes build artifacts and .gitignore files may have a surprising effects on files reported as unused. Results may be different in separate runs, depending on the presence of build artifacts. Knip tries to do the right thing, but in some cases you may need to add a file to the entry file patterns manually for better or more consistent results.

Unused dependencies

Dependencies imported in unused files are reported as unused dependencies. That’s why it’s strongly recommended to try and remedy unused files first. This solves many cases of reported unused dependencies.


If a plugin exists and the dependency is referenced in the configuration file, but its custom dependency finder does not detect it, then that’s a false positive. Please open a pull request or issue to fix it.

Adding the configuration file as an entry file pattern may be a temporary stopgap that fixes your situation, but it’s better to create a new plugin or fix an existing one.

Non-standard files

Dependencies might be imported from files with non-standard extensions like .astro, .mdx, .vue or .svelte. These files are not included by default. See compilers for more details on how to include them.

Unreachable code

If the reference to a dependency is unrecognizable or unreachable to Knip, and you don’t feel like a plugin could solve it, a last resort is to ignore it:

"ignoreDependencies": ["ignore-me", "@problematic/package"]

Depending on the situation, you may want to use ignoreBinaries instead. See unlisted binaries.

ESLint & Jest

Within monorepos, tools like ESLint and Jest are a story of their own. Sharing and extending configurations is convenient, but for a project linter like Knip it can be a challenge to assign dependencies to the right workspace. Jest has comparable characteristics.

ESLint is still in the process of moving to a modern configuration system, which results in the recommendation going forward: migrate to the new ESLint flat config system.

Unfortunately there’s currently no clean way to assign (unused or unlisted) dependencies to another workspace.

There is a workaround, though. For example, workspaces that use the @internal/eslint-config package can force-enable the ESLint plugin (without having eslint listed) and ignore related dependencies (adjust to your situation):

"eslint": true,
"ignoreDependencies": ["^eslint-.*"]

Unlisted dependencies

This means that a dependency is used, but not listed in package.json.

An unlisted dependency is usually a transitive dependency that’s imported directly. The dependency is installed (since it’s a dependency of another dependency) and lives in node_modules, but it’s not listed explicitly in package.json.

You should not rely on transitive dependencies for various reasons, including control, security and stability. The solution is to install and list the dependency in dependencies or devDependencies.

Unlisted binaries

Binaries are executable Node.js scripts. Many npm packages, when installed, add an executable file to use from scripts in package.json. Examples include TypeScript with the tsc binary, Next.js with the next binary, and so on.

Knip detects such binaries in scripts and checks whether there’s package installed that includes the binary. It looks up the bin field in the package.json file of installed packages. If it doesn’t find it, it will be reported as an unlisted binary as there is no package listed that contains it. Except for those listed as IGNORED_GLOBAL_BINARIES in constants.ts.

Missing binaries

In case unused (dev) dependencies look like a match against unlisted binaries, then this might be caused by node_modules not containing the packages. And this might have been caused by either the way your package manager installs dependencies, or by not running Knip from the root of the repository.

Knip should run from the root. But you can lint individual workspaces.


Sometimes their usage or the way Knip reports them can be a bit confusing. See this example:

"name": "lib",
"scripts": {
"commitlint": "commitlint --edit"
"devDependencies": {
"@commitlint/cli": "*"

This example works fine without anything reported, as the @commitlint/cli package includes the commitlint binary. However, some script may contain npx commitlint and here Knip assumes commitlint is the name of the package. This technically works as commitlint is a transitive dependency of @commitlint/cli, but to avoid confusion it’s recommended to use npx @commitlint/cli.


For npx scripts, Knip assumes that --yes (as in npx --yes package) means that the package is not listed. Knip expects the dependency to be listed with --no or no flag at all.

The recommendation here is to be explicit: use --yes if the dependency is not supposed to be listed in package.json. Or use --no if the dependency is listed.

Unused exports

By default, Knip does not report unused exports of entry files.

When unused exports are reported, and you want to keep exporting those, there are a few options:

  • Ignore exports used in file for exports used internally.
  • Individual exports can be tagged using JSDoc syntax.
  • Have the export in or re-exported by an entry file:
    • Add the file to the entry file patterns array in the configuration
    • Move the export(s) to an entry file
    • Re-export the unused export(s) from an entry file
    • Add the file to the exports field of package.json

External libraries

Are the exports consumed or imported by an external library, resulting in a non-standard consumption of your exports? Try the --include-libs flag.

Here’s an example:

import loadable from '@loadable/component';
export const DynamicApple = dynamic(() =>
import('./components.js').then(mod => mod.Apple)
export const LoadableOrange = loadable(() => import('./components.js'), {
resolveComponent: components => components.Orange,

Knip understands Apple is used, since it’s standard usage. But Orange is referenced through a function of an external library. For performance reasons, Knip does not include external type definitions by default so it won’t see the export being referenced.

To include the type definitions of external libraries, use the —include-libs flag:

Terminal window
knip --include-libs

This comes at a performance and memory penalty, but should give better results if you need it. This flag is implied when classMembers are included (that feature comes with roughly the same performance penalty).

Missing exports?

Do you expect certain exports in the report, but are they missing? They might be exported from an entry file. Use —include-entry-exports to make Knip also report unused exports in entry files.

Class members

Unused class members are not reported by default, here’s how to enable them:

Terminal window
knip --include classMembers

This option is also available in the Knip configuration file. Note that this feature comes at a cost: linting will take more time and more memory (in rare cases it may even run out of memory in large repositories).

Individual class members can be tagged using JSDoc syntax.

Classes exported from entry files are ignored, and so are their members. Use —include-entry-exports to make Knip also report members of unused exports in entry files.

Enum members

Unused enums and unused members of enums are reported by default. Reporting such members can also be disabled altogether, for example:

Terminal window
knip --exclude enumMembers

Individual enum members can be tagged using JSDoc syntax.

Enums exported from entry files are ignored, and so are their members. Use —include-entry-exports to make Knip also report members of unused exports in entry files.

False positives

If you believe Knip incorrectly reports something as unused (i.e. a false positive), this could be caused by one of multiple reasons:

  • Knip requires additional configuration, for instance additional entry files or paths should be added.
  • Knip has a bug. You can help your own project and Knip by creating a minimal reproduction and open an issue on GitHub.

Also see troubleshooting if you haven’t already.

ISC License © 2024 Lars Kappert