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This page describes a few topics around Knip’s performance, and how you might improve it.

Knip does not want to tell you how to structure files or how to write your code, but it might still be good to understand inefficient patterns for Knip.

Use the --debug and --performance flags to find potential bottlenecks.

Ignoring files

Files matching the ignore patterns are not excluded from the analysis. They’re just not printed in the report. Use negated entry patterns to exclude files from the analysis whenever possible.

Here’s a little guide:

  1. Set entry files if necessary.
  2. Override the default project setting to cover all source files (default: **/*.{js,ts})
  3. If needed, use additional negated entry patterns to exclude files from the analysis.
  4. If needed, use additional negated project files to narrow down the set of all files to find unused files.
  5. Then use ignore patterns for the remaining issues in the reports.

❌ Don’t do this:

"entry": ["src/index.ts", "scripts/*.ts"],
"ignore": ["build/**", "dist/**", "src/generated.ts"]

✅ Do this:

"entry": ["src/index.ts", "scripts/*.ts"],
"project": ["src/**", "scripts/**"],
"ignore": ["src/generated.ts"]

This way, the project files cover all source files, and most other files don’t even need to be ignored anymore. This may have a significant impact on performance.

Also see configuring project files.

Workspace sharing

Knip shares files from separate workspaces if the configuration in tsconfig.json allows this. This reduces memory consumption and run duration. The relevant compiler options are baseUrl and paths, and a workspace is shared if the following is true:

  • The compilerOptions.baseUrl is not set explicitly
  • There are no conflicting keys in compilerOptions.paths

With the --debug flag you can see how many programs Knip uses. Look for messages like this:

Terminal window
[*] Installed 2 programs for 29 workspaces
[*] Analyzing used resolved files [P1/1] (123)
[*] Analyzing used resolved files [P1/2] (8)
[*] Analyzing used resolved files [P2/1] (41)

The first number in P1/1 is the number of the program, the second number indicates additional entry files were found in the previous round so it does another round of analysis on those files.


The findReferences function (from the TypeScript Language Service) is invoked for exported class members. If finding unused class members is enabled, use the --performance flag to see how many times this function is invoked and how much time is spent there:

Terminal window
knip --include classMembers --performance

The first invocation (per program) is especially expensive, as TypeScript sets up symbols and caching.

A last resort

In case Knip is unbearable slow (or even crashes), you could resort to lint individual workspaces.

ISC License © 2024 Lars Kappert