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Specifying command options in a CodeQL configuration file

You can save default command options in a CodeQL configuration file.

Who can use this feature?

GitHub CodeQL is licensed on a per-user basis upon installation. You can use CodeQL only for certain tasks under the license restrictions. For more information, see "About the CodeQL CLI."

If you have a GitHub Advanced Security license, you can use CodeQL for automated analysis, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. For more information, see "About GitHub Advanced Security."

About specifying command options in a CodeQL configuration file

You can save default or frequently used options for your commands in a per-user configuration file.

You can specify CodeQL CLI command options in two ways:

  • Directly in the command line, using the appropriate flag.
  • In a configuration (or config) file that CodeQL scans for relevant options each time a command is executed.

For options that are likely to change each time you execute a command, specifying the value on the command line is the most convenient way of passing the information to CodeQL. Saving options in a config file is a good way to specify options you use frequently. It’s also a good way to add custom CodeQL packs that you use regularly to your search path.

Using a CodeQL configuration file

You need to save the config file under your home (Linux and macOS) or user profile (Windows) directory in the .config/codeql/ subdirectory. For example, $HOME/.config/codeql/config.

The syntax for specifying options is as follows:

<command> <subcommand> <option> <value>

To apply the same options to more than one command you can:

  • Omit the <subcommand>, which will specify the option for every <subcommand> to which it’s relevant.
  • Omit both <command> and <subcommand>, which will globally specify the option for every <command> and <subcommand> to which it’s relevant.


  • config files only accept spaces between option flags and values—CodeQL will throw an error if you use = to specify an option value.
  • If you specify an option in the command line, this overrides the config value defined for that option.
  • If you want to specify more than one option for a <command>, <subcommand> or globally, use one line per option.


  • To output all analysis results generated by codeql database analyze as CSV format, you would specify:

    database analyze --format csv

    Here, you have to specify the command and subcommand to prevent any of the low-level commands that are executed during database analyze being passed the same --format option.

  • To define the RAM (4096 MB) and number of threads (4) to use when running CodeQL commands, specify the following, on separate lines:

    --ram 4096
    --threads 4
  • To globally specify a directory for CodeQL to scan for CodeQL packs (which is not a sibling of the installation directory), use:

    --search-path <path-to-directory>