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How to Get List of Globally Installed Packages of NPM

Last updated:
24th Apr, 2023
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How to Get List of Globally Installed Packages of NPM

Introduction

Node.js is one of the most commonly-used runtime environments for JavaScript. One of the main reasons that can be attributed to this huge popularity is its advanced features, which include a non-blocking I/O model and event-driven model, among others. 

Node.js comes alongside NPM, which is considered to be one of the largest software registries worldwide. What’s more? It is open-source, meaning any developer can use NPM to share and install packages.

The following article will guide you through getting access to global NPM list packages, which can further enhance your development efficiency to manifolds. 

So, let’s get started!

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Listing Globally Installed Packages with NPM CLI

While listing globally installed packages, with the help of the NPM command-line interface, the following command is used.

npm list -g –depth 0

Here ‘–depth 0‘ signifies that only the top-level packages should be listed without their dependencies. If you wish to view the dependencies, you can always edit or omit this option.

Following this command will enable you to see all the packages, alongside their version numbers, installed in your system globally.

Furthermore, it also allows you to search for a specific package by filtering the list. You just have to add the package name that you wish to view at the end of the command. Mentioned below is a small example to help you understand the same. 

npm list -g <package-name>

In this manner, you can view details of that specific package only. 

Using npm ls Command for Global Package List

The ‘npm ls‘ is another method that you can use to list globally installed packages in your system. The command for the same goes as follows,

npm ls -g –depth 0

It will generate a tree-like structure containing all the details of the global packages installed in your system, including their version numbers and dependencies. However, please note that this is only limited to the top-level packages. If you wish to view all the dependencies, you can simply alter “–depth=0” to a higher number. 

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Displaying Package Details with NPM view Command

The ‘npm view‘ command is commonly used to display detailed information about any specific package. This includes its version or dependencies and highlights details related to the author, license, and more. 

It does so by running the following command,

npm view <package-name>

After entering this command, you will automatically get access to the latest version of the specific package alongside its metadata. If you are looking for one specific version of the package, you simply have to enter the version number after the package name. 

Let’s say you want to display the dependencies of the ronn package at version 0.2.4. The command for the same goes as follows, 

npm view ronn@0.2.4 dependencies. 

Similarly, the ‘npm view’ command also allows you to display specific metadata fields for any specific package. You simply have to enter the field name at the end of the name. 

npm view <package-name> <field-name>

Finding Outdated Packages with NPM outdated Command

The ‘npm outdated’ command can spot any outdated packages in your system. It compares the currently installed packages with the latest version available in the npm registry. In this manner, it carefully presents any latest or newer version that might be available for the installed packages in your system.

In order to use ‘npm outdated,’ you simply have to run the following command,

npm outdated

After entering the command, you can view a detailed list containing the latest updates, current versions, and the type of upgrade required. 

Additionally, if you wish to check for any specific package, you can achieve the same by simply using this,

npm outdated <package-name>

There are two other methods in npm outdated command. They are, namely,

  • ‘–depth’ and 
  • ‘–json’

The ‘–depth’ option lets you narrow down how deep the dependency tree should be checked for outdated packages.

Take this one, for example, 

npm outdated –depth=2

Here, ‘–depth=2’ signifies that it will check two levels deep in the dependency tree for outdated packages. 

Contrary to this, the ‘–json’ is used to generate results in JSON format. This is helpful when you want to further process the results with other tools or scripts. 

Please note that ‘npm outdated‘ is an in-built command; that is, you do not have to install any additional packages for the same. 

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Uninstalling Global Packages with NPM Uninstall Command

Just like you can install npm list global packages, you can also uninstall the same with the help of the ‘npm uninstall’ command. It permanently removes the specified package from the global_nodes directory. 

The syntax for the same goes as follows,

npm uninstall -g <package-name>

This is not just limited to one single global package. You can uninstall multiple npm list global packages using this syntax. You simply have to add the package names in the command, separated by spaces.

Furthermore, in cases where you wish to uninstall a specific package version from your system, you can do the same by simply specifying the version number in the Command. 

npm uninstall – g <package-name>@<version>

One key point to consider is that when uninstalling npm list global packages, all the dependencies not shared with other installed packages will also be removed. However, if a dependency is shared with another installed package, it will not get removed from the system. 

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Best Practices for Managing NPM Global Packages

Managing different npm list packages can seem daunting, especially when dealing with multiple projects that might require different versions of the same package. Therefore knowing when and how to add a package to your project is crucial. 

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On that note, here is a detailed guide to effectively managing your npm list packages. 

  • The first rule is to limit the number of global packages. This means you should only add those packages that you absolutely need to use. Cluttering your system or project with too many global packages can result in conflicts and versioning issues. 
  • Secondly, incorporate version managers, such as nvm (node version manager), to effectively manage the different versions of Node.js and npm in your system. This will further enable you to easily switch between different versions without causing any kind of conflict. 
  • You should always keep track of all the installed packages in your system. Document the same to clearly understand how many packages there are and their respective versions.
  • Closely monitor the versions of your package, and update them whenever necessary. This will ensure they are loaded with the latest features and security upgrades. 
  • Harness the power of varied package manager tools such as ‘yarn’ or ‘pnpm,’ especially when dealing with a large volume of global packages. It will improve the overall performance and safeguard your system from potential versioning conflicts. 

Troubleshooting Common Issues with NPM Global Packages

Let’s take a look at a few of the most commonly faced issues when dealing with npm list packages.

  • Package Not Found – One of the most common issues after installing a global package is the ‘package not found’ error. To resolve the same, look out for two factors. Firstly, check whether you have inserted the right package name or not. Secondly, check whether the package is available in the NPM registry. 
  • Permission Issues – If you are experiencing permission errors while updating or installing global packages, you can either run the command as ‘sudo’ or as an administrator. However, the latter is usually recommended in most cases, as using ‘sudo’ for NPM commands can cause further issues with file permissions. 
  • Conflict with local packages – Another common challenge most users face is when a global package is experiencing conflict with a local package. This occurs mostly when the local package uses a different version of the same package. To resolve the same, try to either update the local package or completely uninstall the global package and opt for a local one instead. 
  • Corrupt Cache – One way to deal with NPM list global package issues is by clearing the NPM cache. The ‘npm cache clean –force‘ command can be used for this purpose. It will ensure the cache has been cleared properly and force NPM to download fresh packages. 

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Conclusion

To conclude, there is no single solution to package management. It all comes down to personal experiences and preferences. Nonetheless, by now, hopefully, you have a clear understanding of the NPM commands list and how to use them for various processes. To gain more in-depth knowledge of these various functionalities, you can refer to online courses offered under leading education platforms like upGrad.

One such includes IIITB’s Post-Graduate program in software development. It is specifically designed for candidates who wish to kick-start their careers in software development. It offers numerous advantages to its students, from personalised industry sessions to 1:1 high-performance coaching.

Profile

Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Is there a way to remove the npm list global packages?

To remove a global package, you can use the npm uninstall command. You simply have to attach the '-g' flag and the specific package name you wish to uninstall from your system. The syntax for the same is npm uninstall -g .

2Does NPM install packages globally?

Yes, packages are installed globally by NPS so that the Node.js application can access and use the same in a hassle-free manner. All packages are usually stored in the //local/lib/node_modules folder.

3What is the function of npm clean install?

The npm clean install function is typically used as an in-place replacement for npm install. It operates by deleting the node_modules folder and installing a fresh one instead.