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Understanding configuration#

ts-node uses sensible default configurations to reduce boilerplate while still respecting tsconfig.json if you have one. If you are unsure which configuration is used, you can log it with ts-node --show-config. This is similar to tsc --showConfig but includes "ts-node" options as well.

ts-node also respects your locally-installed typescript version, but global installations fallback to the globally-installed typescript. If you are unsure which versions are used, ts-node -vv will log them.

$ ts-node -vv
ts-node v10.0.0
node v16.1.0
compiler v4.2.2
$ ts-node --show-config
"compilerOptions": {
"target": "es6",
"lib": [
"rootDir": "./src",
"outDir": "./.ts-node",
"module": "commonjs",
"moduleResolution": "node",
"strict": true,
"declaration": false,
"sourceMap": true,
"inlineSources": true,
"types": [
"stripInternal": true,
"incremental": true,
"skipLibCheck": true,
"importsNotUsedAsValues": "error",
"inlineSourceMap": false,
"noEmit": false
"ts-node": {
"cwd": "/d/project",
"projectSearchDir": "/d/project",
"require": [],
"project": "/d/project/tsconfig.json"

Understanding Errors#

It is important to differentiate between errors from ts-node, errors from the TypeScript compiler, and errors from node. It is also important to understand when errors are caused by a type error in your code, a bug in your code, or a flaw in your configuration.


Type errors from the compiler are thrown as a TSError. These are the same as errors you get from tsc.


Any error that is not a TSError is from node.js (e.g. SyntaxError), and cannot be fixed by TypeScript or ts-node. These are bugs in your code or configuration.

Unsupported JavaScript syntax#

Your version of node may not support all JavaScript syntax supported by TypeScript. The compiler must transform this syntax via "downleveling," which is controlled by the tsconfig "target" option. Otherwise your code will compile fine, but node will throw a SyntaxError.

For example, node 12 does not understand the ?. optional chaining operator. If you use "target": "esnext", then the following TypeScript syntax:

const bar: string | undefined = foo?.bar;

will compile into this JavaScript:

const a = foo?.bar;

When you try to run this code, node 12 will throw a SyntaxError. To fix this, you must switch to "target": "es2019" or lower so TypeScript transforms ?. into something node can understand.