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Getting Started

Lerna comes with a dedicated init command to assist you with both adding lerna to an existing repo, or creating one from scratch.

Starting from scratch

In the simplest case, lerna init can be used to create a new repository in an empty directory. For that, we can run the following commands:

# Create an empty directory
mkdir ./new-lerna-workspace
# Change into the new directory
cd ./new-lerna-workspace
# Initialize lerna (using --dryRun to preview the changes)
npx lerna init --dryRun

Note that we have passed the --dryRun flag here, this allows us to see a preview of the changes that lerna init will make to our file system. This allows us to tweak the values of any other arguments we pass to lerna init (such as --exact or --independent) without having to worry about undoing any mistakes.

Once we are happy with the changes it will make, we can simply repeat the npx lerna init command but leave off the --dryRun flag.

You will now be up and running with a working git repository, including npm workspaces, with lerna available to create, version and publish any packages you wish to develop.

Adding lerna to an existing repo

If you already have an existing repo, you can still add lerna to it using lerna init.


Lerna is not responsible for installing and linking your dependencies in your repo, your package manager is much better suited to that task.

Instead, we strongly recommend configuring your package manager of choice to use its workspaces feature:

When initializing lerna on an existing repo, it will need a way to know what packages it should operate on. If you are using your package manager's workspaces feature (see note above), then lerna will default to using the workspaces patterns you have already configured. No extra arguments are required.

Alternatively, you can manually specify a set of patterns to match against instead by using the --packages flag for lerna init:

# Passing a single pattern
npx lerna init --packages="packages/*"
# Passing multiple patterns
npx lerna init --packages="foo/*" --packages="bar/*"