CodeQL documentation

Creating and working with CodeQL packs

You can use CodeQL packs to create, share, depend on, and run CodeQL queries and libraries.


The CodeQL package management functionality, including CodeQL packs, is currently available as a beta release and is subject to change. During the beta release, CodeQL packs are available only using GitHub Packages - the GitHub Container registry. To use this beta functionality, install the beta release of the CodeQL CLI bundle from:

About CodeQL packs and the CodeQL CLI

With CodeQL packs and the package management commands in the CodeQL CLI, you can publish your custom queries and integrate them into your codebase analysis.

There are two types of CodeQL packs: query packs and library packs.

  • Query packs are designed to be run. When a query pack is published, the bundle includes all the transitive dependencies and a compilation cache. This ensures consistent and efficient execution of the queries in the pack.
  • Library packs are designed to be used by query packs (or other library packs) and do not contain queries themselves. The libraries are not compiled and there is no compilation cache included when the pack is published.

You can use the pack command in the CodeQL CLI to create CodeQL packs, add dependencies to packs, and install or update dependencies. You can also publish and download CodeQL packs using the pack command. For more information, see “Publishing and using CodeQL packs.”

Creating a CodeQL pack

You can create a CodeQL pack by running the following command from the checkout root of your project:

codeql pack init <scope>/<pack>

You must specify:

  • <scope>: the name of the GitHub organization or user account that you will publish to.
  • <pack>: the name for the pack that you are creating.

The codeql pack init command creates the directory structure and configuration files for a CodeQL pack. By default, the command creates a query pack. If you want to create a library pack, you must edit the qlpack.yml file to explicitly declare the file as a library pack by including the library:true property.

Modifying an existing QL pack to create a CodeQL pack

If you already have a qlpack.yml file, you can edit it manually to convert it into a CodeQL pack.

  1. Edit the name property so that it matches the format <scope>/<name>, where <scope> is the name of the GitHub organization or user account that you will publish to.
  2. In the qlpack.yml file, include a version property with a semver identifier, as well as an optional dependencies block.

For more information about the properties, see “About CodeQL packs.”

Adding and installing dependencies to a CodeQL pack

You can add dependencies on CodeQL packs using the command codeql pack add. You must specify the scope, name, and version range.

codeql pack add <scope>/<name>@x.x.x <scope>/<other-name>

The version range is optional. If you leave off the version range, the latest version will be added. Otherwise, the latest version that satisfies the requested range will be added.

This command updates the qlpack.yml file with the requested dependencies and downloads them into the package cache. Please note that this command will reformat the file and remove all comments.

You can also manually edit the qlpack.yml file to include dependencies and install the dependencies with the command:

codeql pack install

This command downloads all dependencies to the shared cache on the local disk.


Running the codeql pack add and codeql pack install commands will generate or update the qlpack.lock.yml file. This file should be checked-in to version control. The qlpack.lock.yml file contains the precise version numbers used by the pack.

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