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Scala CLI compiles your code with its compile command:

object Hello {
def main(args: Array[String]): Unit =
scala-cli compile Hello.scala

Note that most Scala CLI commands automatically compile your code, if necessary. The compile command is useful if you'd like to check that your code compiles, or know of compilation warnings, without running it or packaging it.

The most common compile options are shown below. For a full list of options, run scala-cli compile --help, or check the options linked in the reference documentation.

Test scope​

--test makes scala-cli compile main and test scopes:

scala-cli compile --test Hello.scala 

Watch mode​

--watch makes scala-cli watch your code for changes, and re-compiles it upon any change:

scala-cli compile --watch Hello.scala
# Compiling project-cef76d561e (1 Scala source)
# Compiled 'project-cef76d561e'
# Watching sources, press Ctrl+C to exit.
# Compiling project-cef76d561e (1 Scala source)
# Compiled 'project-cef76d561e'
# Watching sources, press Ctrl+C to exit.

Scala version​

Scala CLI uses the latest stable version of Scala which was tested in scala-cli (see our list of Supported Scala Versions). You can specify the Scala version you'd like to use with --scala:

scala-cli compile --scala 2.13.6 Hello.scala

scala-cli works with all major 2.12.x, 2.13.x, and 3.x Scala versions.

--scala also accepts "short" Scala versions, such as 2.12, 2, or 3. In this case, it picks the highest corresponding stable Scala version:

scala-cli compile --scala 2.12 Hello.scala
scala-cli compile --scala 2 Hello.scala
scala-cli compile --scala 3 Hello.scala

Scala Nightlies​

The nightly builds of Scala compiler are unstable ones which are published on a nightly basis.

To use the latest Scala 2 and Scala 3 nightly builds, pass 2.nightly and 3.nightly, respectively. You can also request the last 2.12.nightly and 2.13.nightly versions. 2.13.nightly is the same as 2.nightly. Moreover, passing the 3.{sub binary number}.nightly format, such as 3.0.nightly or 3.1.nightly is accepted, too.

Scala CLI takes care of fetching the nightly builds of Scala 2 and Scala 3 from different repositories, without you having to pass their addresses as input after the --repo flag.

For compiling with the latest Scala 2 nightly build:

scala-cli Hello.scala -S 2.nightly

For compiling with the latest Scala 3 nightly build:

scala-cli Hello.scala -S 3.nightly

For compiling with an specific nightly build, you have the full version for:

scala-cli Hello.scala -S 2.13.9-bin-4505094 

For adding this inside scala files with using directives, use:

//> using scala "2.nightly"
//> using scala "3.nightly"
//> using scala "2.13.9-bin-4505094"


You can add dependencies on the command-line with --dependency:

scala-cli compile Hello.scala \
--dependency org.scala-lang.modules::scala-parallel-collections:1.0.4

Note that --dependency is only meant as a convenience. You should favor adding dependencies in the source files themselves via using directives.

You can also add simple JAR files β€” those that don’t have transitive dependencies β€” as dependencies, with --jar:

scala-cli compile Hello.scala --jar /path/to/library.jar

See the Dependency management guide for more details.

Scala compiler options​

Most Scala compiler options can be passed as-is to scala-cli:

scala-cli compile Hello.scala -Xlint:infer-any
# Compiling project_b729aa2200-cef76d561e (1 Scala source)
# [warn] ./Hello.scala:2:11: a type was inferred to be `Any`; this may indicate a programming error.
# [warn] val l = List("a", true, 2, new Object)
# [warn] ^
# Compiled 'project_b729aa2200-cef76d561e'

All scala-cli options that start with:

  • -g
  • -language
  • -opt
  • -P
  • -target
  • -V
  • -W
  • -X
  • -Y

are assumed to be Scala compiler options.

Scala compiler options can also be passed with -O:

scala-cli compile Hello.scala -O -deprecation -O -Xlint:infer-any
# [warn] ./Hello.scala:3:7: method x in class Some is deprecated (since 2.12.0): Use .value instead.
# [warn] opt.x
# [warn] ^

-O accepts both options with the prefixes shown above, and those without such a prefix.

Scala compiler plugins​

Use --compiler-plugin to add compiler plugin dependencies:

scala-cli compile Hello.scala --compiler-plugin org.typelevel:::kind-projector:0.13.2 --scala 2.12.14

Printing a class path​

--class-path makes scala-cli compile print a class path:

scala-cli compile --class-path Hello.scala
# /work/.scala/project-cef76d561e/classes:~/Library/Caches/Coursier/v1/https/

This is handy when working with other tools. For example, you can pass this class path to java -cp:

java -cp "$(scala-cli compile --class-path Hello.scala)" Hello
# Hello

Note that you should favor the run command to run your code, rather than running java -cp. The class path obtained this way is only meant for scenarios where scala-cli doesn't offer a more convenient option.