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Version: 6.x


pnpm has built-in support for monorepositories (AKA multi-package repositories, multi-project repositories, or monolithic repositories). You can create a workspace to unite multiple projects inside a single repository.

A workspace must have a pnpm-workspace.yaml file in its root. A workspace also may have an .npmrc in its root.

Workspace protocol (workspace:)

Added in: v3.7.0.

By default, pnpm will link packages from the workspace if the available packages match the declared ranges. For instance, foo@1.0.0 is linked into bar if bar has "foo": "^1.0.0" in its dependencies and foo@1.0.0 is not in the workspace. However, if bar has "foo": "2.0.0" in dependencies and foo@2.0.0 is not in the workspace, foo@2.0.0 will be installed from the registry. This behavior introduces some uncertainty.

Luckily, pnpm supports the workspace: protocol. When this protocol is used, pnpm will refuse to resolve to anything other than a local workspace package. So, if you set "foo": "workspace:2.0.0", this time installation will fail because "foo@2.0.0" isn't present in the workspace.

This protocol is especially useful when the link-workspace-packages option is set to false. In that case, pnpm will only link packages from the workspace if the workspace: protocol is used.

Referencing workspace packages through aliases

Added in: v5.12.0

Let's say you have a package in the workspace named foo. Usually, you would reference it as "foo": "workspace:*".

If you want to use a different alias, the following syntax will work too: "bar": "workspace:foo@*".

Before publish, aliases are converted to regular aliased dependencies. The above example will become: "bar": "npm:foo@1.0.0".

Referencing workspace packages through their relative path

Added in: v5.12.0

In a workspace with 2 packages:

+ packages
+ foo
+ bar

bar may have foo in its dependencies declared as "foo": "workspace:../foo". Before publishing, these specs are converted to regular version specs supported by all package managers.

Publishing workspace packages

When a workspace package is packed into an archive (whether it's through pnpm pack or one of the publish commands like pnpm publish), we dynamically replace any workspace: dependency by:

  • The corresponding version in the target workspace (if you use workspace:*, workspace:~, or workspace:^)
  • The associated semver range (for any other range type)

So for example, if we have foo, bar, qar, zoo in the workspace and they all are at version 1.5.0, the following:

"dependencies": {
"foo": "workspace:*",
"bar": "workspace:~",
"qar": "workspace:^",
"zoo": "workspace:^1.5.0"

Will be transformed into:

"dependencies": {
"foo": "1.5.0",
"bar": "~1.5.0",
"qar": "^1.5.0",
"zoo": "^1.5.0"

This feature allows you to depend on your local workspace packages while still being able to publish the resulting packages to the remote registry without needing intermediary publish steps - your consumers will be able to use your published workspaces as any other package, still benefitting from the guarantees semver offers.

Release workflow

Versioning packages inside a workspace is a complex task and pnpm currently does not provide a built-in solution for it. However, there are 2 well tested tools that handle versioning and support pnpm:

For how to set up a repository using Rush, read this page.

For using Changesets with pnpm, read this guide.


Added in: v2.14.0

  • Default: true
  • Type: true, false, deep

If this is enabled, locally available packages are linked to node_modules instead of being downloaded from the registry. This is very convenient in a monorepo. If you need local packages to also be linked to subdependencies, you can use the deep setting (since v5).

Else, packages are downloaded and installed from the registry. However, workspace packages can still be linked by using the workspace: range protocol.


Added in: v5.13.0

  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, local packages from the workspace are preferred over packages from the registry, even if there is a newer version of the package in the registry.

This setting is only useful if the workspace doesn't use save-workspace-protocol.


Added in: v2.17.0 as shared-workspace-shrinkwrap

  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, pnpm creates a single pnpm-lock.yaml file in the root of the workspace. This also means that all dependencies of workspace packages will be in a single node_modules (and get symlinked to their package node_modules folder for Node's module resolution).

Advantages of this option:

  • every dependency is a singleton
  • faster installations in a monorepo
  • fewer changes in code reviews as they are all in one file

Even though all the dependencies will be hard linked into the root node_modules, packages will have access only to those dependencies that are declared in their package.json, so pnpm's strictness is preserved. This is a result of the aforementioned symbolic linking.


  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, new dependencies will be added with the workspace protocol IF (and only if) they are present in the workspace.

You might want to change this setting to false if the tooling in your repository does not understand the workspace protocol (and ideally submit a PR to your tooling to get it added in the future).


pnpm cannot guarantee that scripts will be run in topological order if there are cycles between workspace dependencies. If pnpm detects cyclic dependencies during installation, it will produce a warning. If pnpm is able to find out which dependencies are causing the cycles, it will display them too.

If you see the message There are cyclic workspace dependencies, please inspect workspace dependencies declared in dependencies, optionalDependencies and devDependencies.

Usage examples

Here are a few open source projects that use the workspace feature of pnpm:

  • icestark (as of 12/16/2021, commit 4862326a8de53d02f617e7b1986774fd7540fccd)
  • Vue 3.0 (as of 10/9/2021, commit 61c5fbd3e35152f5f32e95bf04d3ee083414cecb)
  • Vite (as of 9/26/2021, commit 3e1cce01d01493d33e50966d0d0fd39a86d229f9)
  • Cycle.js (as of 9/21/2021, commit f2187ab6688368edb904b649bd371a658f6a8637)
  • Prisma (as of 9/21/2021, commit c4c83e788aa16d61bae7a6d00adc8a58b3789a06)
  • Verdaccio (as of 9/21/2021, commit 9dbf73e955fcb70b0a623c5ab89649b95146c744)
  • Rollup plugins (as of 9/21/2021, commit 53fb18c0c2852598200c547a0b1d745d15b5b487)
  • Milkdown (as of 9/26/2021, commit 4b2e1dd6125bc2198fd1b851c4f00eda70e9b913)
  • ByteMD (as of 2/18/2021, commit 36ef25f1ea1cd0b08752df5f8c832302017bb7fb)
  • VueUse (as of 9/25/2021, commit 826351ba1d9c514e34426c85f3d69fb9875c7dd9)
  • Slidev (as of 4/12/2021, commit d6783323eb1ab1fc612577eb63579c8f7bc99c3a)
  • SvelteKit (as of 9/26/2021, commit b164420ab26fa04fd0fbe0ac05431f36a89ef193)
  • Telecraft (as of 9/26/2021, commit 73a9c48c9d4f160d758b8881f404cc52c20a7454)
  • GiraphQL (as of 8/4/2021, commit 3dd3ff148da382d6f406f20626a9a5c25707c0c8)
  • Tailchat (as of 12/27/2021, commit 298af71aa0619e0a8fa8717777afe2fb32739db4)
  • Vitest (as of 12/13/2021, commit d6ff0ccb819716713f5eab5c046861f4d8e4f988)
  • Element Plus (as of 9/23/2021, commit f9e192535ff74d1443f1d9e0c5394fad10428629)