You can search for code on GitHub and narrow the results using these code search qualifiers in any combination.

You can search for code globally across all of GitHub, or search for code within a particular repository or organization. To search for code across all public repositories, you must be signed in to a GitHub account. For more information, see "About searching on GitHub."

You can only search code using these code search qualifiers. Search qualifiers specifically for repositories, users, or commits, will not work when searching for code.

Tips:

  • For a list of search syntaxes that you can add to any search qualifier to further improve your results, see "Understanding the search syntax".
  • Use quotations around multi-word search terms. For example, if you want to search for issues with the label "In progress," you'd search for label:"in progress". Search is not case sensitive.

In this article:

Considerations for code search

Due to the complexity of searching code, there are some restrictions on how searches are performed:

  • You must be signed in to search for code across all public repositories.
  • Code in forks is only searchable if the fork has more stars than the parent repository. Forks with fewer stars than the parent repository are not indexed for code search. To include forks with more stars than their parent in the search results, you will need to add fork:true or fork:only to your query. For more information, see "Searching in forks."
  • Only the default branch is indexed for code search. In most cases, this will be the master branch.
  • Only files smaller than 384 KB are searchable.
  • Only repositories with fewer than 500,000 files are searchable.
  • Users who are signed in can search all public repositories.
  • Except with filename searches, you must always include at least one search term when searching source code. For example, searching for language:javascript is not valid, while amazing language:javascript is.
  • At most, search results can show two fragments from the same file, but there may be more results within the file.
  • You can't use the following wildcard characters as part of your search query: . , : ; / \ ` ' " = * ! ? # $ & + ^ | ~ < > ( ) { } [ ]. The search will simply ignore these symbols.

Search by the file contents or file path

With the in qualifier you can restrict your search to the contents of the source code file, the file path, or both. When you omit this qualifier, only the file contents are searched.

Qualifier Example
in:file octocat in:file matches code where "octocat" appears in the file contents.
in:path octocat in:path matches code where "octocat" appears in the file path.
octocat in:file,path matches code where "octocat" appears in the file contents or the file path.

Search within a user's or organization's repositories

To search the code in all repositories owned by a certain user or organization, you can use the user or org qualifier. To search the code in a specific repository, you can use the repo qualifier.

Qualifier Example
user:USERNAME user:defunkt extension:rb matches code from @defunkt that ends in .rb.
org:ORGNAME org:github extension:js matches code from GitHub that ends in .js.
repo:USERNAME/REPOSITORY repo:mozilla/shumway extension:as matches code from @mozilla's shumway project that ends in .as.

Search by file location

You can use the path qualifier to search for source code that appears at a specific location in a repository. Use path:/ to search for files that are located at the root level of a repository. Or specify a directory name or the path to a directory to search for files that are located within that directory or any of its subdirectories.

Qualifier Example
path:/ octocat filename:readme path:/ matches readme files with the word "octocat" that are located at the root level of a repository.
path:DIRECTORY form path:cgi-bin language:perl matches Perl files with the word "form" in a cgi-bin directory, or in any of its subdirectories.
path:PATH/TO/DIRECTORY console path:app/public language:javascript matches JavaScript files with the word "console" in an app/public directory, or in any of its subdirectories (even if they reside in app/public/js/form-validators).

Search by language

You can search for code based on what language it's written in.

Qualifier Example
language:LANGUAGE element language:xml size:100 matches code with the word "element" that's marked as being XML and has exactly 100 bytes.
display language:scss matches code with the word "display," that's marked as being SCSS.
org:mozilla language:markdown matches code from all @mozilla's repositories that's marked as Markdown.

Search by file size

You can use the size qualifier to search for source code based on the size of the file where the code exists. The size qualifier uses greater than, less than, and range qualifiers to filter results based on the byte size of the file in which the code is found.

Qualifier Example
size:n function size:>10000 language:python matches code with the word "function," written in Python, in files that are larger than 10 KB.

Search by filename

The filename qualifier matches code files with a certain filename. You can also find a file in a repository using the file finder. For more information, see "Finding files on GitHub."

Qualifier Example
filename:FILENAME filename:linguist matches files named "linguist."
filename:.vimrc commands matches .vimrc files with the word "commands."
filename:test_helper path:test language:ruby matches Ruby files named test_helper within the test directory.

Search by file extension

The extension qualifier matches code files with a certain file extension.

Qualifier Example
extension:EXTENSION form path:cgi-bin extension:pm matches code with the word "form," under cgi-bin, with the .pm file extension.
icon size:>200000 extension:css matches files larger than 200 KB that end in .css and have the word "icon."

Further reading