4.2. Commands

cabal help groups commands into global, database, init, configure, build, run and ship sections.

$ cabal help
Command line interface to the Haskell Cabal infrastructure.

See http://www.haskell.org/cabal/ for more information.


  user-config            Display and update the user's global cabal configuration.
  help                   Help about commands.
  path                   Display paths used by cabal.

 [package database]
  update                 Updates list of known packages.
  list                   List packages matching a search string.
  info                   Display detailed information about a particular package.

 [initialization and download]
  init                   Create a new cabal package.
  fetch                  Downloads packages for later installation.
  get                    Download/Extract a package's source code (repository).

 [project configuration]
  configure              Add extra project configuration.
  freeze                 Freeze dependencies.
  gen-bounds             Generate dependency bounds.
  outdated               Check for outdated dependencies.

 [project building and installing]
  build                  Compile targets within the project.
  install                Install packages.
  haddock                Build Haddock documentation.
  haddock-project        Generate Haddocks HTML documentation for the cabal project.
  clean                  Clean the package store and remove temporary files.

 [running and testing]
  list-bin               List the path to a single executable.
  repl                   Open an interactive session for the given component.
  run                    Run an executable.
  bench                  Run benchmarks.
  test                   Run test-suites.
  exec                   Give a command access to the store.

 [sanity checks and shipping]
  check                  Check the package for common mistakes.
  sdist                  Generate a source distribution file (.tar.gz).
  upload                 Uploads source packages or documentation to Hackage.
  report                 Upload build reports to a remote server.

  unpack                 Deprecated alias for 'get'.
  hscolour               Generate HsColour colourised code, in HTML format.

 [new-style projects (forwards-compatible aliases)]
  Since cabal-install-, all 'v2-' prefixed names of commands are just
  aliases for the simple unprefixed names.  So v2-build is an alias for
  build, v2-install for install and so on.

 [legacy command aliases]
  No legacy commands are described.

4.2.1. Common Arguments and Flags

Arguments and flags common to some or all commands are:


Allows a “default” cabal.config freeze file to be passed in manually. This file will only be used if one does not exist in the project directory already. Typically, this can be set from the global cabal config file so as to provide a default set of partial constraints to be used by projects, providing a way for users to peg themselves to stable package collections.

--allow-newer[=DEPS], --allow-older[=DEPS]

Selectively relax upper or lower bounds in dependencies without editing the package description respectively.

The following description focuses on upper bounds and the --allow-newer flag, but applies analogously to --allow-older and lower bounds. --allow-newer and --allow-older can be used at the same time.

If you want to install a package A that depends on B >= 1.0 && < 2.0, but you have the version 2.0 of B installed, you can compile A against B 2.0 by using cabal install --allow-newer=B A. This works for the whole package index: if A also depends on C that in turn depends on B < 2.0, C’s dependency on B will be also relaxed.


$ cd foo
$ cabal configure
Resolving dependencies...
cabal: Could not resolve dependencies:
$ cabal configure --allow-newer
Resolving dependencies...
Configuring foo...

Additional examples:

# Relax upper bounds in all dependencies.
$ cabal install --allow-newer foo

# Relax upper bounds only in dependencies on bar, baz and quux.
$ cabal install --allow-newer=bar,baz,quux foo

# Relax the upper bound on bar and force bar==2.1.
$ cabal install --allow-newer=bar --constraint="bar==2.1" foo

It’s also possible to limit the scope of --allow-newer to single packages with the --allow-newer=scope:dep syntax. This means that the dependency on dep will be relaxed only for the package scope.


# Relax upper bound in foo's dependency on base; also relax upper bound in
# every package's dependency on lens.
$ cabal install --allow-newer=foo:base,lens

# Relax upper bounds in foo's dependency on base and bar's dependency
# on time; also relax the upper bound in the dependency on lens specified by
# any package.
$ cabal install --allow-newer=foo:base,lens --allow-newer=bar:time

Finally, one can enable --allow-newer permanently by setting allow-newer: True in the config file. Enabling ‘allow-newer’ selectively is also supported in the config file (allow-newer: foo, bar, baz:base).


Specify a soft constraint on versions of a package. The solver will attempt to satisfy these preferences on a “best-effort” basis.


Generate accurate build information for build components.

Information contains meta information, such as component type, compiler type, and Cabal library version used during the build, but also fine grained information, such as dependencies, what modules are part of the component, etc…

On build, a file build-info.json (in the json format) will be written to the root of the build directory.


The format and fields of the generated build information is currently experimental. In the future we might add or remove fields, depending on the needs of other tooling.

    "cabal-lib-version": "<cabal lib version>",
    "compiler": {
        "flavour": "<compiler name>",
        "compiler-id": "<compiler id>",
        "path": "<absolute path of the compiler>"
    "components": [
        "type": "<component type, e.g. lib | bench | exe | flib | test>",
        "name": "<component name>",
        "unit-id": "<unitid>",
        "compiler-args": [
            "<compiler args necessary for compilation>"
        "modules": [
            "<modules in this component>"
        "src-files": [
            "<source files relative to hs-src-dirs>"
        "hs-src-dirs": [
            "<source directories of this component>"
        "src-dir": "<root directory of this component>",
        "cabal-file": "<cabal file location>"




  • cabal-lib-version



  • compiler




  • flavour



  • compiler-id



  • path



  • components







  • type



  • name



  • unit-id



  • compiler-args






  • modules






  • src-files






  • hs-src-dirs






  • src-dir



  • cabal-file




(default) Do not generate detailed build information for built components.

Already generated build-info.json files will be removed since they would be stale otherwise.

4.2.2. Target Forms

A cabal command target can take any of the following forms:

  • A package target: [pkg:]package, which specifies that all enabled components of a package to be built. By default, test suites and benchmarks are not enabled, unless they are explicitly requested (e.g., via --enable-tests.)

  • A component target: [package:][ctype:]component, which specifies a specific component (e.g., a library, executable, test suite or benchmark) to be built.

  • All packages: all, which specifies all packages within the project.

  • Components of a particular type: package:ctypes, all:ctypes: which specifies all components of the given type. Where valid ctypes are:

    • libs, libraries,

    • flibs, foreign-libraries,

    • exes, executables,

    • tests,

    • benches, benchmarks.

  • A module target: [package:][ctype:]module, which specifies that the component of which the given module is a part of will be built.

  • A filepath target: [package:][ctype:]filepath, which specifies that the component of which the given filepath is a part of will be built.

  • A script target: path/to/script, which specifies the path to a script file. This is supported by build, repl, run, list-bin, and clean. Script targets are not part of a package.

4.2.3. Global commands cabal user-config

cabal user-config [init|diff|update] prints and updates user’s global cabal preferences. It is very useful when you are e.g. first configuring cabal on a new machine.

  • cabal user-config init creates a new configuration file.


    Specify config file path. (default: ~/.cabal/config).

    -f, --force

    Force configuration file overwriting if already exists.

  • cabal user-config diff prints a diff of the user’s config file and the default one.

  • cabal user-config update updates the user’s config file with additional lines.


    Pass additional configuration lines to be incorporated in the config file. e.g. cabal user-config update --augment="offline: True".

    Note how --augment syntax follows cabal user-config diff output. cabal path

cabal path allows to query for paths used by cabal. For example, it allows to query for the directories of the cache, store, installed binaries, and so on.

$ whoami

$ cabal path
compiler-flavour: ghc
compiler-id: ghc-9.8.2
compiler-path: /home/alice/.ghcup/bin/ghc
cache-home: /home/alice/.cabal
remote-repo-cache: /home/alice/.cabal/packages
logs-dir: /home/alice/.cabal/logs
store-dir: /home/alice/.cabal/store
config-file: /home/alice/.cabal/config
installdir: /home/alice/.cabal/bin

Or using the json output:

$ cabal path --output-format=json | jq
  "cabal-version": "",
  "compiler": {
    "flavour": "ghc",
    "id": "ghc-9.8.2",
    "path": "/home/alice/.ghcup/bin/ghc"
  "cache-home": "/home/alice/.cabal",
  "remote-repo-cache": "/home/alice/.cabal/packages",
  "logs-dir": "/home/alice/.cabal/logs",
  "store-dir": "/home/alice/.cabal/store",
  "config-file": "/home/alice/.cabal/config",
  "installdir": "/home/alice/.cabal/bin"

If cabal path is passed a single option naming a path, then that path will be printed without any label:

$ cabal path --installdir

While this interface is intended to be used for scripting, it is an experimental command. Scripting example:


$ ls $(cabal path –installdir) …

4.2.4. Package database commands cabal update

cabal update updates the state of the package index. If the project contains multiple remote package repositories it will update the index of all of them (e.g. when using overlays).

Some examples:

$ cabal update                  # update all remote repos
$ cabal update head.hackage     # update only head.hackage cabal list

cabal list [FLAGS] STRINGS lists all packages matching a search string.


Only output installed packages.


Print matching packages in a one-package-one-line format.

-i, --ignore-case
-I, --strict-case

Append the given package database to the list of used package databases. See cabal info for a thorough explanation.

-w PATH or -wPATH, --with-compiler=PATH

Path to specific compiler. cabal info

cabal info [FLAGS] PACKAGES displays useful informations about remote packages.


Append the given package database to the list of package databases used (to satisfy dependencies and register into). May be a specific file, global or user. The initial list is ['global'], ['global', 'user'], depending on context. Use clear to reset the list to empty.

4.2.5. Initialization and download cabal init

cabal init [FLAGS] initialises a Cabal package, picking reasonable defaults. Run it in your project folder.

-i, --interactive

Enable interactive mode.

-m, --minimal

Generate a short .cabal file, without extra empty fields or explanatory comments.

See Using cabal init for an overview on the command, and cabal init --help for the complete list of options. cabal fetch

☞ N.B.: cabal fetch only works for legacy v1- commands and only for single package projects. If you are not maintaining an old project, cabal build with --only-download has similar effects to fetch and benefits from compatibility with newer build methods.

cabal fetch [FLAGS] PACKAGES downloads packages for later installation. It fetches the project plus its dependencies, very useful when e.g. you plan to work on a project with unreliable or no internet access.


Ignore dependencies.


Disable dependency checking and compilation for test suites listed in the package description file.


Disable dependency checking and compilation for benchmarks listed in the package description file.

Check cabal fetch --help for a complete list of options. cabal get

cabal get [FLAGS] [PACKAGES] (synonym: cabal unpack) downloads and unpacks the source code of PACKAGES locally. By default the content of the packages is unpacked in the current working directory, in named subfolders (e.g. ./filepath-, use --destdir=PATH to specify another folder. By default the latest version of the package is downloaded, you can ask for a spefic one by adding version numbers (cabal get random-

The cabal get command supports the following options:

-s[[head|this|...]], --source-repository[=[head|this|...]]

Clone the package’s source repository (Darcs, Git, etc.) instead of downloading the tarball. Only works if the package specifies a source-repository.


Pin your request to a specific Hackage index state. Available STATE formats: Unix timestamps (e.g. @1474732068), ISO8601 UTC timestamps (e.g. 2016-09-24T17:47:48Z), or HEAD (default). This determines which package versions are available as well as which .cabal file revision is selected (unless --pristine is used).


Unpacks the pristine tarball, i.e. disregarding any Hackage revision.

-d, --destdir=PATH

Where to place the package source, defaults to (a subdirectory of) the current directory.

--only-package-description, --package-description-only

Unpack the original pristine tarball, rather than updating the .cabal file with the latest revision from the package archive.

4.2.6. Project configuration cabal configure

cabal configure takes a set of arguments and writes a cabal.project.local file based on the flags passed to this command. cabal configure FLAGS; cabal build is roughly equivalent to cabal build FLAGS, except that with configure the flags are persisted to all subsequent calls to build.

cabal configure is intended to be a convenient way to write out a cabal.project.local for simple configurations; e.g., cabal configure -w ghc-7.8 would ensure that all subsequent builds with cabal build are performed with the compiler ghc-7.8. For more complex configuration, we recommend writing the cabal.project.local file directly (or placing it in cabal.project!)

cabal configure inherits options from Cabal. semantics:

  • Any flag accepted by ./Setup configure.

  • Any flag accepted by cabal configure beyond ./Setup configure, namely --cabal-lib-version, --constraint, --preference and --solver.

  • Any flag accepted by cabal install beyond ./Setup configure.

  • Any flag accepted by ./Setup haddock.

The options of all of these flags apply only to local packages in a project; this behavior is different than that of cabal install, which applies flags to every package that would be built. The motivation for this is to avoid an innocuous addition to the flags of a package resulting in a rebuild of every package in the store (which might need to happen if a flag actually applied to every transitive dependency). To apply options to an external package, use a package stanza in a cabal.project file.

There are two ways of modifying the cabal.project.local file through cabal configure, either by appending new configurations to it, or by simply overwriting it all. Overwriting is the default behaviour, as such, there’s a flag --enable-append to append the new configurations instead. Since overwriting is rather destructive in nature, a backup system is in place, which moves the old configuration to a cabal.project.local~ file, this feature can also be disabled by using the --disable-backup flag. cabal freeze

If a package is built in several different environments, such as a development environment, a staging environment and a production environment, it may be necessary or desirable to ensure that the same dependency versions are selected in each environment. This can be done with the freeze command:

cabal freeze writes out a freeze file which records all of the versions and flags that are picked by the solver under the current index and flags. Default name of this file is cabal.project.freeze but in combination with a --project-file=my.project flag (see project-file) the name will be my.project.freeze. A freeze file has the same syntax as cabal.project and looks something like this:

constraints: HTTP ==4000.3.3,
             HTTP +warp-tests -warn-as-error -network23 +network-uri -mtl1 -conduit10,
             QuickCheck ==2.9.1,
             QuickCheck +templatehaskell,
             -- etc...

For end-user executables, it is recommended that you distribute the cabal.project.freeze file in your source repository so that all users see a consistent set of dependencies. For libraries, this is not recommended: users often need to build against different versions of libraries than what you developed against. cabal gen-bounds

cabal gen-bounds [FLAGS] generates bounds for all dependencies that do not currently have them. Generated bounds are printed to stdout. You can then paste them into your .cabal file. The generated bounds conform to the Package Versioning Policy, which is a recommended versioning system for publicly released Cabal packages.

$ cabal gen-bounds

For example, given the following dependencies without bounds specified in build-depends:


gen-bounds might suggest changing them to the following:

  base          >= 4.15.0 && < 4.16,
  mtl           >= 2.2.2 && < 2.3,
  transformers  >= 0.5.6 && < 0.6, cabal outdated

cabal outdated [FLAGS] checks for outdated dependencies in the package description file or freeze file.

Manually updating dependency version bounds in a .cabal file or a freeze file can be tedious, especially when there’s a lot of dependencies. The cabal outdated command is designed to help with that. It will print a list of packages for which there is a new version on Hackage that is outside the version bound specified in the build-depends field. The outdated command can also be configured to act on the freeze file and ignore major (or all) version bumps on Hackage for a subset of dependencies.


$ cd /some/package
$ cabal outdated
Outdated dependencies:
haskell-src-exts <1.17 (latest: 1.19.1)
language-javascript <0.6 (latest:
unix == (latest:

$ cabal outdated --simple-output

$ cabal outdated --ignore=haskell-src-exts
Outdated dependencies:
language-javascript <0.6 (latest:
unix == (latest:

$ cabal outdated --ignore=haskell-src-exts,language-javascript,unix
All dependencies are up to date.

$ cabal outdated --ignore=haskell-src-exts,language-javascript,unix -q
$ echo $?

$ cd /some/other/package
$ cabal outdated --freeze-file
Outdated dependencies:
HTTP ==4000.3.3 (latest: 4000.3.4)
HUnit == (latest:

$ cabal outdated --freeze-file --ignore=HTTP --minor=HUnit
Outdated dependencies:
HUnit == (latest:

cabal outdated supports the following flags:


Read dependency version bounds from the freeze file.

(cabal.config) instead of the package description file ($PACKAGENAME.cabal).



Read dependency version bounds from the v2-style freeze file (by default, cabal.project.freeze) instead of the package description file. --new-freeze-file is an alias for this flag that can be used with pre-2.4 cabal.



Read dependency version bounds from the v2-style freeze file related to the named project file (i.e., $PROJECTFILE.freeze) instead of the package description file. If multiple --project-file flags are provided, only the final one is considered. This flag must only be passed in when --new-freeze-file is present.


Print only the names of outdated dependencies, one per line.


Exit with a non-zero exit code when there are outdated dependencies.

-q, --quiet

Don’t print any output. Implies -v0 and --exit-code.


Don’t warn about outdated dependency version bounds for the packages in this list.


Ignore major version bumps for these packages.

E.g. if there’s a version 2.0 of a package pkg on Hackage and the freeze file specifies the constraint pkg == 1.9, cabal outdated --freeze --minor=pkg will only consider the pkg outdated when there’s a version of pkg on Hackage satisfying pkg > 1.9 && < 2.0. --minor can also be used without arguments, in that case major version bumps are ignored for all packages.

4.2.7. Project building and installing cabal build

cabal build takes a set of targets and builds them. It automatically handles building and installing any dependencies of these targets.

In component targets, package: and ctype: (valid component types are lib, flib, exe, test and bench) can be used to disambiguate when multiple packages define the same component, or the same component name is used in a package (e.g., a package foo defines both an executable and library named foo). We always prefer interpreting a target as a package name rather than as a component name.

Some example targets:

$ cabal build lib:foo-pkg       # build the library named foo-pkg
$ cabal build foo-pkg:foo-tests # build foo-tests in foo-pkg
$ cabal build src/Lib.s         # build the library component to
                                   # which "src/Lib.hs" belongs
$ cabal build app/Main.hs       # build the executable component of
                                   # "app/Main.hs"
$ cabal build Lib               # build the library component to
                                   # which the module "Lib" belongs
$ cabal build path/to/script    # build the script as an executable

Beyond a list of targets, cabal build accepts all the flags that cabal configure takes. Most of these flags are only taken into consideration when building local packages; however, some flags may cause extra store packages to be built (for example, --enable-profiling will automatically make sure profiling libraries for all transitive dependencies are built and installed.)

When building a script, the executable is cached under the cabal directory. See cabal run for more information on scripts.

In addition cabal build accepts these flags:


When given we will forego performing a full build and abort after running the configure phase of each target package. cabal install

cabal install [FLAGS] [TARGETS] builds the specified target packages and symlinks/copies their executables in installdir (usually ~/.local/bin).


If not every package has an executable to install, use all:exes rather than all as the target. To overwrite an installation, use --overwrite-policy=always as the default policy is never.

For example this command will build the latest cabal-install and symlink its cabal executable:

$ cabal install cabal-install

In addition, it’s possible to use cabal install to install components of a local project. For example, with an up-to-date Git clone of the Cabal repository, this command will build cabal-install HEAD and symlink the cabal executable:

$ cabal install exe:cabal

Where symlinking is not possible (eg. on some Windows versions) the copy method is used by default. You can specify the install method by using --install-method flag:

$ cabal install exe:cabal --install-method=copy --installdir=$HOME/bin

Note that copied executables are not self-contained, since they might use data-files from the store. Adding libraries to GHC package environments

It is also possible to “install” libraries using the --lib flag. For example, this command will build the latest Cabal library and install it:

$ cabal install --lib Cabal

This works by managing GHC package environment files. By default, it is writing to the global environment in ~/.ghc/$ARCH-$OS-$GHCVER/environments/default. install provides the --package-env flag to control which of these environments is modified.

This command will modify the environment file in the current directory:

$ cabal install --lib Cabal --package-env .

This command will modify the environment file in the ~/foo directory:

$ cabal install --lib Cabal --package-env foo/

Do note that the results of the previous two commands will be overwritten by the use of other style commands, so it is not recommended to use them inside a project directory.

This command will modify the environment in the local.env file in the current directory:

$ cabal install --lib Cabal --package-env local.env

This command will modify the myenv named global environment:

$ cabal install --lib Cabal --package-env myenv

If you wish to create a named environment file in the current directory where the name does not contain an extension, you must reference it as ./myenv.

You can learn more about how to use these environments in this section of the GHC manual. cabal haddock

cabal haddock [FLAGS] [TARGET] builds Haddock documentation for the specified packages within the project.

If a target is not a library haddock-benchmarks, haddock-executables, haddock-internal, haddock-tests will be implied as necessary. cabal haddock-project

cabal haddock-project [FLAGS] builds Haddock documentation for all local packages specified in the project.

By default the documentation will be put in ./haddocks folder, this can be modified with the --output flag.

This command supports two primary modes: building a self contained directory (which is the default mode) or documentation that links to Hackage (with --hackage flag).

In both cases the html index as well as quickjump index will include all terms and types defined in any of the local packages, but not ones that are included in any of the dependencies. But note that if you navigate to a dependency, you will have access to its quickjump index.

The generated landing page will contain one tree of all modules per local package. cabal clean

cabal clean [FLAGS] cleans up the temporary files and build artifacts stored in the dist-newstyle folder.

By default, it removes the entire folder, but it can also spare the configuration and caches if the --save-config option is given, in which case it only removes the build artefacts (.hi, .o along with any other temporary files generated by the compiler, along with the build output).

cabal clean [FLAGS] path/to/script cleans up the temporary files and build artifacts for the script, which are stored under the .cabal/script-builds directory.

In addition when clean is invoked it will remove all script build artifacts for which the corresponding script no longer exists.

4.2.8. Running and testing cabal list-bin

cabal list-bin will either (a) display the path for a single executable or (b) complain that the target doesn’t resolve to a single binary. In the latter case, it will name the binary products contained in the package. These products can be used to narrow the search and get an actual path to a particular executable.

Example showing a failure to resolve to a single executable.

$ cabal list-bin cabal-install
cabal: The list-bin command is for finding a single binary at once. The
target 'cabal-install' refers to the package cabal-install-#.#.#.# which
includes the executable 'cabal', the test suite 'unit-tests', the test suite
'mem-use-tests', the test suite 'long-tests' and the test suite

For a scope that results in only one item we’ll get a path.

$ cabal list-bin cabal-install:exes

$ cabal list-bin cabal-install:cabal

We can also scope to test suite targets as they produce binaries.

$ cabal list-bin cabal-install:tests
cabal: The list-bin command is for finding a single binary at once. The
target 'cabal-install:tests' refers to the test suites in the package
cabal-install-#.#.#.# which includes the test suite 'unit-tests', the test
suite 'mem-use-tests', the test suite 'long-tests' and the test suite

$ cabal list-bin cabal-install:unit-tests

It can also be used to display the location of the cached executable for a cabal script.

$ cabal list-bin path/to/script

Note that cabal list-bin will print the executables’ location, but will not make sure that these executables actually exist (i.e., have been successfully built). In order to determine the correct location, it may invoke the configuration step (see cabal configure). cabal repl

cabal repl TARGET [FLAGS] opens an interactive session for the target component within the project and loads all of the modules of the target into GHCi as interpreted bytecode. The available targets are the same as for the build command: individual components within packages in the project, including libraries, executables, test-suites and benchmarks (see the build section for the target syntax). Local packages can also be specified, in which case the library component in the package will be used, or the (first listed) executable in the package if there is no library. Dependencies are built or rebuilt as necessary.


$ cabal repl                # default component in the package in the current directory
$ cabal repl pkgname        # default component in the package named 'pkgname'
$ cabal repl ./pkgfoo       # default component in the package in the ./pkgfoo directory
$ cabal repl cname          # component named 'cname'
$ cabal repl pkgname:cname  # component 'cname' in the package 'pkgname'

Configuration flags can be specified on the command line and these extend the project configuration from the ‘cabal.project’, ‘cabal.project.local’ and other files.


To avoid ghci-specific flags from triggering unneeded global rebuilds, these flags are stripped from the internal configuration. As a result, --ghc-options will no longer (reliably) work to pass flags to ghci (or other REPLs). Instead, you should use the --repl-options flag to specify these options to the invoked REPL.


Disables the loading of target modules at startup.


A way to experiment with libraries without needing to download them manually or to install them globally.

This command opens a REPL with the current default target loaded, and a version of the vector package matching that specification exposed.

$ cabal repl --build-depends="vector >= 0.12 && < 0.13"

Both of these commands do the same thing as the above, but only expose base, vector, and the vector package’s transitive dependencies even if the user is in a project context.

$ cabal repl --ignore-project --build-depends="vector >= 0.12 && < 0.13"
$ cabal repl --project='' --build-depends="vector >= 0.12 && < 0.13"

This command would add vector, but not (for example) primitive, because it only includes the packages specified on the command line (and base, which cannot be excluded for technical reasons).

$ cabal repl --build-depends=vector --no-transitive-deps

cabal repl can open scripts by passing the path to the script as the target.

$ cabal repl path/to/script

The configuration information for the script is cached under the cabal directory and can be pre-built with cabal build path/to/script. See cabal run for more information on scripts.


Allow starting GHCi with multiple targets. This requires GHC with multiple home unit support (GHC-9.4+)

The closure of required components will be loaded.


Disallow starting GHCi with multiple targets. This reverts back to the behaviour in version 3.10 and earlier where only a single component can be loaded at once. cabal run

cabal run [TARGET] [FLAGS] [-- EXECUTABLE_FLAGS] runs the executable specified by the target, which can be a component, a package or can be left blank, as long as it can uniquely identify an executable within the project. Tests and benchmarks are also treated as executables.

See the build section for the target syntax.

When TARGET is one of the following:

  • A component target: execute the specified executable, benchmark or test suite.

  • A package target:
    1. If the package has exactly one executable component, it will be selected.

    2. If the package has multiple executable components, an error is raised.

    3. If the package has exactly one test or benchmark component, it will be selected.

    4. Otherwise an issue is raised.

  • The path to a script: execute the script at the path.

  • Empty target: Same as package target, implicitly using the package from the current working directory.

Except in the case of the empty target, the strings after it will be passed to the executable as arguments.

If one of the arguments starts with - it will be interpreted as a cabal flag, so if you need to pass flags to the executable you have to separate them with --.

$ cabal run target -- -a -bcd --argument

run supports running script files that use a certain format. Scripts look like:

#!/usr/bin/env cabal
{- cabal:
build-depends: base ^>= 4.14
            , shelly ^>= 1.10
{- project:
with-compiler: ghc-8.10.7

main :: IO ()
main = do

Where there cabal metadata block is mandatory and contains fields from a package executable block, and the project metadata block is optional and contains fields that would be in the cabal.project file in a regular project.

Only some fields are supported in the metadata blocks, and these fields are currently not validated. See #8024 for details.

A script can either be executed directly using cabal as an interpreter or with the command:

$ cabal run path/to/script

The executable is cached under the cabal directory, and can be pre-built with cabal build path/to/script and the cache can be removed with cabal clean path/to/script.

The location of the cached executable can be displayed with cabal list-bin path/to/script.

A note on targets: Whenever a command takes a script target and it matches the name of another target, the other target is preferred. To load the script instead pass it as an explicit path: ./script

By default, scripts are run at silent verbosity (--verbose=0). To show the build output for a script either use the command

$ cabal run --verbose=n path/to/script

or the interpreter line

#!/usr/bin/env -S cabal run --verbose=n

For more information see verbose cabal bench

cabal bench [TARGETS] [FLAGS] runs the specified benchmarks (all the benchmarks in the current package by default), first ensuring they are up to date.

cabal bench inherits flags of the bench subcommand of Setup.hs, see the corresponding section. cabal test

cabal test [TARGETS] [FLAGS] tests test suites specified as targets after ensuring they are up to date and building them, if necessary.


For a test suite, there’s a difference between testing it with cabal test and running it with cabal run to do with the working directory. The former tests the test suite; that is to say that it “runs” the test suite from the package directory (from the directory of the package that has the test suite as a component), while the latter runs the test suite from whatever directory is current when the cabal run command is issued. This is important because the test suite may depend on files in the package directory, and so may not work correctly if run from another directory.


Even though [TARGETS] are optional, cabal test will only test test suites without specifying a target if in the directory of a package, alongside a .cabal file. Being in the directory of a package implicitly selects that package for the test command.

Taking the cabal project as an example that has a Cabal-tests package with multiple test suites, the following two commands are effectively the same and will test the test suites of the Cabal-tests package:

$ cabal test Cabal-tests
$ cd Cabal-tests && cabal test && cd ..

If you want to test all of the test suites in a project then from the project directory cabal build with no target will fail:

$ cabal test
Error: [Cabal-7134]
No targets given and there is no package in the current directory. Use
the target 'all' for all packages in the project or specify packages or
components by name or location. See 'cabal build --help' for more
details on target options.

Both cabal test all:tests and cabal test all use explicit targets for testing all test suites of a project; the former’s all:tests target will select all test suites of the project, while the latter’s all target will select all packages of the project and, from those, test all their test suites.

cabal test inherits flags of the test subcommand of Setup.hs (see the corresponding section) with one caveat: every Setup.hs test flag receives the test- prefix if it already does not have one; e.g. --show-details becomes --test-show-details but --test-wrapper remains the same. cabal exec

cabal exec [FLAGS] [--] COMMAND [--] [ARGS] runs the specified command using the project’s environment. That is, passing the right flags to compiler invocations and bringing the project’s executables into scope.

4.2.9. Sanity checks and shipping cabal check

cabal check [FLAGS] checks the package for common mistakes (e.g.: if it is missing important fields like synopsis, if it is using tricky GHC options, etc.).

Run cabal check in the folder where your .cabal package file is.

-i, --ignore=WARNING

Ignore a specific type of warning (e.g. --ignore=missing-upper-bounds). Check the list of warnings for which constructor to use.

-v[n], --verbose[=n]

Control verbosity (n is 0–3, default verbosity level is 1).

Issues are classified as Warnings and Errors. The latter correspond to Hackage requirements for uploaded packages: if no error is reported, Hackage should accept your package. If errors are present cabal check exits with 1 and Hackage will refuse the package.

A list of all warnings with their constructor:

  • parser-warning: inherited from parser.

  • no-name-field: missing name field.

  • no-version-field: missing version field.

  • no-target: missing target in .cabal.

  • unnamed-internal-library: unnamed internal library.

  • duplicate-sections: duplicate name in target.

  • illegal-library-name: internal library with same name as package.

  • no-modules-exposed: no module exposed in library.

  • signatures: signatures used with cabal-version < 2.0.

  • autogen-not-exposed: autogen-module neither in exposed-modules nor other-modules.

  • autogen-not-included: autogen-include neither in include nor install-includes.

  • no-main-is: missing main-is.

  • unknown-extension-main: main-is is not .hs nor .lhs.

  • c-like-main: C-like source file in main-is with cabal-version < 1.18.

  • autogen-other-modules: autogen-module not in other-modules.

  • autogen-exe: autogen-include not in includes.

  • unknown-testsuite-type: unknown test-suite type.

  • unsupported-testsuite: unsupported test-suite type.

  • unknown-bench: unknown benchmark type.

  • unsupported-bench: unsupported benchmark type.

  • bench-unknown-extension: main-is for benchmark is neither .hs nor .lhs.

  • invalid-name-win: invalid package name on Windows.

  • reserved-z-prefix: package with z- prexif (reseved for Cabal.

  • no-build-type: missing build-type.

  • undeclared-custom-setup: custom-setup section without build-type: Custom

  • unknown-compiler-tested: unknown compiler in tested-with.

  • unknown-languages: unknown languages.

  • unknown-extension: unknown extensions.

  • languages-as-extensions: languages listed as extensions.

  • deprecated-extensions: deprecated extensions.

  • no-category: missing category field.

  • no-maintainer: missing maintainer field.

  • no-synopsis: missing synopsis field.

  • no-description: missing description field.

  • no-syn-desc: missing synopsis or description field.

  • long-synopsis: synopsis longer than 80 characters.

  • short-description: description shorter than synopsis.

  • invalid-range-tested: invalid tested-with version range.

  • impossible-dep: impossible internal library version range dependency.

  • impossible-dep-exe: impossible internal executable version range dependency.

  • no-internal-exe: missing internal executable.

  • license-none: NONE in license field.

  • no-license: no license field.

  • all-rights-reserved: “All rights reserved” license.

  • license-parse: license not to be used with cabal-version < 1.4.

  • unknown-license: unknown license.

  • bsd4-license: uncommon BSD (BSD4) license.

  • unknown-license-version: unknown license version.

  • no-license-file: missing license file.

  • unrecognised-repo-type: unrecognised kind of source-repository.

  • repo-no-type: missing type in source-repository.

  • repo-no-location: missing location in source-repository.

  • repo-no-module: missing module in source-repository.

  • repo-no-tag: missing tag in source-repository.

  • repo-relative-dir: subdir in source-repository must be relative.

  • repo-malformed-subdir: malformed subdir in source-repository.

  • option-fasm: unnecessary -fasm.

  • option-fhpc: unnecessary -fhpc.

  • option-prof: unnecessary -prof.

  • option-o: unnecessary -o.

  • option-hide-package: unnecessary -hide-package.

  • option-make: unnecessary --make.

  • option-optimize: unnecessary disable optimization flag.

  • option-o1: unnecessary optimisation flag (-O1).

  • option-o2: unnecessary optimisation flag (-O2).

  • option-split-section: unnecessary -split-section.

  • option-split-objs: unnecessary -split-objs.

  • option-optl-wl:unnecessary -optl-Wl,-s.

  • use-extension: use extension field instead of -fglasgow-exts.

  • option-rtsopts: unnecessary -rtsopts.

  • option-with-rtsopts: unnecessary -with-rtsopts.

  • option-opt-c: unnecessary -O[n] in C code.

  • cpp-options: unportable -cpp-options flag.

  • misplaced-c-opt: C-like options in wrong cabal field.

  • relative-path-outside: relative path outside of source tree.

  • absolute-path: absolute path where not allowed.

  • malformed-relative-path: malformed relative path.

  • unreliable-dist-path: unreliable path pointing inside dist.

  • glob-syntax-error: glob syntax error.

  • recursive-glob: recursive glob including source control folders.

  • invalid-path-win: invalid path on Windows.

  • long-path: path too long (POSIX, 255 ASCII chars).

  • long-name: path name too long (POSIX, 100 ASCII chars).

  • name-not-portable: path non portable (POSIX, split requirements).

  • empty-path: empty path.

  • test-cabal-ver: test-suite used with cabal-version < 1.10.

  • default-language: default-language used with cabal-version < 1.10.

  • no-default-language: missing default-language.

  • add-default-language: suggested default-language.

  • extra-doc-files: extra-doc-files used with cabal-version < 1.18.

  • multilib: multiple library sections with cabal-version < 2.0.

  • reexported-modules: reexported-modules with cabal-version < 1.22.

  • mixins: mixins with cabal-version < 2.0.

  • extra-framework-dirs: extra-framework-dirs with cabal-version < 1.24.

  • default-extensions: default-extensions with cabal-version < 1.10.

  • extensions-field: deprecated extensions field used with cabal-version ≥ 1.10

  • unsupported-sources: asm-sources, cmm-sources, extra-bundled-libraries or extra-library-flavours used with cabal-version < 3.0.

  • extra-dynamic: extra-dynamic-library-flavours used with cabal-version < 3.0.

  • virtual-modules: virtual-modules used with cabal-version < 2.2.

  • source-repository: source-repository used with cabal-version 1.6.

  • incompatible-extension: incompatible language extension with cabal-version.

  • no-setup-depends: missing setup-depends field in custom-setup with cabal-version ≥ 1.24.

  • dependencies-setup: missing dependencies in custom-setup with cabal-version ≥ 1.24.

  • no-autogen-paths: missing autogen Paths_* modules in autogen-modules (cabal-version ≥ 2.0).

  • no-autogen-pinfo: missing autogen PackageInfo_* modules in autogen-modules and exposed-modules/other-modules (cabal-version ≥ 2.0).

  • no-glob-match: glob pattern not matching any file.

  • glob-no-extension: glob pattern not matching any file becuase of lack of extension matching (cabal-version < 2.4).

  • glob-missing-dir: glob pattern trying to match a missing directory.

  • unknown-os: unknown operating system name in condition.

  • unknown-arch: unknown architecture in condition.

  • unknown-compiler: unknown compiler in condition.

  • missing-bounds-important: missing upper bounds for important dependencies (base, and for custom-setup Cabal too).

  • missing-upper-bounds: missing upper bound in dependency (excluding test-suites and benchmarks).

  • suspicious-flag: troublesome flag name (e.g. starting with a dash).

  • unused-flag: unused user flags.

  • non-ascii: non-ASCII characters in custom field.

  • rebindable-clash-paths: Rebindable Syntax with OverloadedStrings/OverloadedStrings plus autogenerated Paths_* modules with cabal-version < 2.2.

  • rebindable-clash-info: Rebindable Syntax with OverloadedStrings/OverloadedStrings plus autogenerated PackageInfo_* modules with cabal-version < 2.2.

  • werror: -WError not under a user flag.

  • unneeded-j: suspicious -j[n] usage.

  • fdefer-type-errors: suspicious -fdefer-type-errors.

  • debug-flag: suspicious -d* debug flag for distributed package.

  • fprof-flag: suspicious -fprof-* flag.

  • missing-bounds-setup: missing upper bounds in setup-depends.

  • duplicate-modules: duplicate modules in target.

  • maybe-duplicate-modules: potential duplicate module in target (subject to conditionals).

  • bom: unicode byte order mark (BOM) character at start of file.

  • name-no-match: filename not matching name.

  • no-cabal-file: no .cabal file found in folder.

  • multiple-cabal-file: multiple .cabal files found in folder.

  • unknown-file: path refers to a file which does not exist.

  • missing-setup: missing Setup.hs or Setup.lsh.

  • missing-conf-script: missing configure script with build-type: Configure.

  • unknown-directory: paths refer to a directory which does not exist.

  • no-repository: missing source-repository section.

  • no-docs: missing expected documentation files (changelog).

  • doc-place: documentation files listed in extra-source-files instead of extra-doc-files. cabal sdist

cabal sdist [FLAGS] [PACKAGES] takes the crucial files needed to build PACKAGES and puts them into an archive format ready for upload to Hackage. These archives are stable and two archives of the same format built from the same source will hash to the same value.

cabal sdist takes the following flags:

-l, --list-only

Rather than creating an archive, lists files that would be included.

Output is to stdout by default. The file paths are relative to the project’s root directory.

-o PATH or -oPATH, --output-directory=PATH

Sets the output dir, if a non-default one is desired. The default is dist-newstyle/sdist/. --output-directory - will send output to stdout unless multiple archives are being created.


Only used with --list-only. Separates filenames with a NUL byte instead of newlines.

sdist is inherently incompatible with sdist hooks (which were removed in Cabal-3.0), not due to implementation but due to fundamental core invariants (same source code should result in the same tarball, byte for byte) that must be satisfied for it to function correctly in the larger build ecosystem. autogen-modules is able to replace uses of the hooks to add generated modules, along with the custom publishing of Haddock documentation to Hackage. cabal upload

cabal upload [FLAGS] TARFILES uploads source packages or documentation to Hackage.


Publish the package immediately instead of uploading it as a package candidate (make sure everything is fine, you cannot delete published packages on Hackage!).

-d, --documentation

Upload documentation instead of a source package. To upload documentation for a published package (and not a candidate), add --publish.

-t TOKEN or -tTOKEN, --token=TOKEN

Your Hackage authentication token. You can create and delete authentication tokens on Hackage’s account management page.


Your Hackage username.


Your Hackage password.

-P COMMAND or -PCOMMAND, --password-command=COMMAND

Command to get your Hackage password. Arguments with whitespace must be quoted (double-quotes only). For example:

--password-command='sh -c "grep hackage ~/secrets | cut -d : -f 2"'

Or in the config file:

password-command: sh -c "grep hackage ~/secrets | cut -d : -f 2" cabal report

cabal report [FLAGS] uploads build reports to Hackage.

-t TOKEN or -tTOKEN, --token=TOKEN

Your Hackage authentication token. You can create and delete authentication tokens on Hackage’s account management page.


Your Hackage username.


Your Hackage password.