CodeQL documentation

database run-queries


codeql database run-queries [--threads=<num>] [--ram=<MB>] <options>... [--] <database> <query|dir|suite>...


[Plumbing] Run a set of queries together.

Run one or more queries against a CodeQL database, saving the results to the results subdirectory of the database directory.

The results can later be converted to readable formats by codeql database interpret-results, or query-for-query by with codeql bqrs decode or codeql bqrs interpret.

If your queries produce results in a form that can be interpreted as source-code alerts, you may find codeql database analyze a more convenient way to run them. codeql database analyze combines codeql database run-queries with codeql database interpret-results in a single step. In particular, codeql database analyze can produce output in the SARIF format, which can be used with an variety of alert viewers.

Alternatively, if you have only a single query to run, you might prefer codeql query run, which can display human-readable output for quick inspection of results while you’re debugging.



[Mandatory] Path to the CodeQL database to query.


Queries to execute. Each argument is one of:

  • A .ql file to execute.
  • A directory which will be searched recursively for .ql files.
  • A .qls file that defines a particular set of queries.
  • The basename of a “well-known” .qls file exported by one of the installed QL packs.

If no queries are specified, the CLI will automatically determine a suitable set of queries to run. In particular, if a Code Scanning configuation file was specfied at database creation time using --codescanning-config then the queries from this will be used. Otherwise, the default queries for the langauge being analyzed will be used.


Omit evaluation of queries that already seem to have a BQRS result stored in the output location.

Options to control the query evaluator


[Advanced] Display tuple counts for each evaluation step in the query evaluator logs. If the --evaluator-log option is provided, tuple counts will be included in both the text-based and structured JSON logs produced by the command. (This can be useful for performance optimization of complex QL code).


[Advanced] Set the timeout length for query evaluation, in seconds.

The timeout feature is intended to catch cases where a complex query would take “forever” to evaluate. It is not an effective way to limit the total amount of time the query evaluation can take. The evaluation will be allowed to continue as long as each separately timed part of the computation completes within the timeout. Currently these separately timed parts are “RA stages” of the optimized query, but that might change in the future.

If no timeout is specified, or is given as 0, no timeout will be set (except for codeql test run, where the default timeout is 5 minutes).

-j, --threads=<num>

Use this many threads to evaluate queries.

Defaults to 1. You can pass 0 to use one thread per core on the machine, or -N to leave N cores unused (except still use at least one thread).


[Advanced] Aggressively write intermediate results to the disk cache. This takes more time and uses (much) more disk space, but may speed up the subsequent execution of similar queries.


[Advanced] Don’t clean up the disk cache after evaluation completes. This may save time if you’re going to do codeql dataset cleanup or codeql database cleanup afterwards anyway.


Set the maximum amount of space that the disk cache for intermediate query results can use.

If this size is not configured explicitly, the evaluator will try to use a “reasonable” amount of cache space, based on the size of the dataset and the complexity of the queries. Explicitly setting a higher limit than this default usage will enable additional caching which can speed up later queries.


[Advanced] Set target amount of free space on file system.

If --max-disk-cache is not given, the evaluator will try hard to curtail disk cache usage if the free space on the file system drops below this value.


[Advanced] Set target fraction of free space on file system.

If --max-disk-cache is not given, the evaluator will try hard to curtail disk cache usage if the free space on the file system drops below this percentage.


A CSV file that contains rows for external predicate <pred>. Multiple --external options can be supplied.

Options for controlling outputting of structured evaluator logs


[Advanced] Output structured JSON logs about evaluator performance to the given file. The format of this log file is subject to change with no notice. Please use codeql generate log-summary <file> to produce a more stable summary of this file, and avoid parsing the file directly. The file will be overwritten if it already exists.


[Advanced] If the --evaluator-log option is passed, also passing this option will minimize the size of the JSON log produced, at the expense of making it much less human readable.


[Advanced] If the --evaluator-log option is passed, also passing this option will configure the verbosity of the JSON log produced. This should be an integer between 1 and 5, with higher values representing a higher verbosity. Currently the following additional values will be included at each level (in addition to all information already present in preceding levels):

  • Level 1: Include basic information about each computation performed by the evaluator. This is the default verbosity level if this option is not passed.
  • Level 2: Include the dependencies of every layer that is computed.
  • Level 3: Include details of where each layer is used.
  • Level 4: Record an event when we hit the cache and do not compute a predicate.
  • Level 5: Output the full RA of any relations that are evaluated.

Options to control RAM usage

-M, --ram=<MB>

Set total amount of RAM the query evaluator should be allowed to use.

Options to control QL compilation


How to handle warnings from the QL compiler. One of:

hide: Suppress warnings.

show (default): Print warnings but continue with compilation.

error: Treat warnings as errors.


[Advanced] Omit particularly slow optimization steps.


Only perform initial checks on the part of the QL source that is used.


Don’t check embedded query metadata in QLDoc comments for validity.


[Advanced] Override the default maximum size for a compilation cache directory.

Options to set up compilation environment


A list of directories under which QL packs may be found. Each directory can either be a QL pack (or bundle of packs containing a .codeqlmanifest.json file at the root) or the immediate parent of one or more such directories.

If the path contains more than one directory, their order defines precedence between them: when a pack name that must be resolved is matched in more than one of the directory trees, the one given first wins.

Pointing this at a checkout of the open-source CodeQL repository ought to work when querying one of the languages that live there.

If you have have checked out the CodeQL repository as a sibling of the unpacked CodeQL toolchain, you don’t need to give this option; such sibling directories will always be searched for QL packs that cannot be found otherwise. (If this default does not work, it is strongly recommended to set up --search-path once and for all in a per-user configuration file).

(Note: On Windows the path separator is ;).


If this list of directories is given, they will be searched for packs before the ones in --search-path. The order between these doesn’t matter; it is an error if a pack name is found in two different places through this list.

This is useful if you’re temporarily developing a new version of a pack that also appears in the default path. On the other hand, it is not recommended to override this option in a config file; some internal actions will add this option on the fly, overriding any configured value.

(Note: On Windows the path separator is ;).


[Advanced] An optional list of directories that will be added to the raw import search path for QL libraries. This should only be used if you’re using QL libraries that have not been packaged as QL packs.

(Note: On Windows the path separator is ;).


[Advanced] Explicitly define which dbscheme queries should be compiled against. This should only be given by callers that are extremely sure what they’re doing.


[Advanced] Specify an additional directory to use as a compilation cache.


[Advanced] Don’t use compilation caches in standard locations such as in the QL pack containing the query or in the CodeQL toolchain directory.

Options for configuring the CodeQL package manager


Accept a GitHub Apps token or personal access token via standard input.

This overrides the GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable.

Common options

-h, --help

Show this help text.


[Advanced] Give option to the JVM running the command.

(Beware that options containing spaces will not be handled correctly.)

-v, --verbose

Incrementally increase the number of progress messages printed.

-q, --quiet

Incrementally decrease the number of progress messages printed.


[Advanced] Explicitly set the verbosity level to one of errors, warnings, progress, progress+, progress++, progress+++. Overrides -v and -q.


[Advanced] Write detailed logs to one or more files in the given directory, with generated names that include timestamps and the name of the running subcommand.

(To write a log file with a name you have full control over, instead give --log-to-stderr and redirect stderr as desired.)

  • © GitHub, Inc.
  • Terms
  • Privacy