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Chef InSpec Reporters

A Chef InSpec reporter formats and delivers the results of a Chef InSpec audit run. You can output the results of your audits to more than one reporter.


Configure the reporter(s) using the --reporter option or as part of the general configuration file using the --config option.

You can use both the --reporter and --config options, in which case the options are merged. While you can configure multiple reporters to write to different files, only one reporter can output to the screen(stdout).

reporter option

You can specify one or more reporters using the --reporter CLI flag. You can also specify an output by appending a path separated by a colon.

Output JSON to screen

inspec exec example_profile --reporter json
# or explicitly specifying output to STDOUT:
inspec exec example_profile --reporter json:-

Output YAML to screen.

inspec exec example_profile --reporter yaml
# or
inspec exec example_profile --reporter yaml:-

Output CLI to screen and write JSON to a file.

inspec exec example_profile --reporter cli json:/tmp/output.json

Output nothing to screen and write JUnit and HTML to a file.

inspec exec example_profile --reporter junit2:/tmp/junit.xml html:www/index.html

Output JSON to screen and write to a file. Write JUnit to a file.

inspec exec example_profile --reporter json junit2:/tmp/junit.xml | tee out.json

If you wish to pass the profiles directly after specifying the reporters, you must use the end of options flag --.

inspec exec --reporter json junit2:/tmp/junit.xml -- profile1 profile2

Output real-time progress to screen with a progress bar.

inspec exec example_profile --reporter progress-bar

config file

You can also set reporters using a configuration file. For guidance on creating and using a config file, see the InSpec config documentation.

Output CLI to screen.

    "reporter": {
        "cli" : {
            "stdout" : true

Output CLI to screen and write JSON to a file.

    "reporter": {
        "cli" : {
            "stdout" : true
        "json" : {
            "file" : "/tmp/output.json",
            "stdout" : false


The following are CLI options that are used to modify reporter behavior. Many of these options allow you to limit the report size because some reporters (such as the json-automate reporter) limit on the total size of the report that can be processed.

--diff, --no-diff

Include a diff comparison of textual differences in the failed test output.

Use --no-diff to limit the size of the report output when tests contain large amounts of text output.

Default: true


Includes enhanced outcome of controls in report data.

The control level status outcomes are:

  • Passed
  • Failed
  • Not Applicable (N/A)
  • Not Reviewed (N/R)
  • Error (ERR).

Supported with the following reporters:

  • automate
  • cli
  • html2
  • json
  • json-automate
  • progress-bar
  • yaml

Remove empty profiles (those containing zero controls, such as resource packs) from the reporter’s output.


Include a code backtrace in report data.

The --no-reporter-backtrace-inclusion option may be used to limit report size when large code stack traces are present in the output.

Default: true


(CLI reporter only) Include full source code of controls in the report.


Number of characters to truncate failure messages in report data.

This may be used to limit the size of reports when failure messages are exceptionally large.

Default: no truncation


The following are the supported reporters.


The automate reporter type is a special reporter which sends its results over the network to Chef Automate. To use this reporter, you must pass in the correct configuration via a JSON configuration --config.

Example Configuration:

    "reporter": {
        "automate" : {
            "stdout" : false,
            "url" : "https://AUTOMATE_URL/data-collector/v0/",
            "token" : "AUTOMATE_ADMIN_TOKEN",
            "insecure" : true,
            "node_name" : "inspec_test_node",
            "environment" : "prod"

Mandatory fields

Either suppress or shows the automate report in the CLI screen on completion.
Chef Automate. Append data-collector/v0/ at the end.
Chef Automate tokens. You can generate this token by navigating to the admin tab of Automate and then clicking API keys.

Optional fields

Disables or enables the SSL check when accessing the Chef Automate instance.
Node name which shows up in Chef Automate.
Node UUID, which shows up in Chef Automate. Use a single static UUID per node for all your reports. You must specify a node_uuid in the Chef InSpec configuration file if running Chef InSpec outside of an audit cookbook or another environment where a chef_guid or node_uuid is already known to Chef InSpec.
Sets the environment metadata for Chef Automate.


This is the basic text based report. It includes details about tests that passed and failed and an overall summary at the end.


This reporter is a very minimal text-based report. It shows you which tests passed by name and has a small summary at the end.


This reporter is the legacy RSpec HTML reporter retained for backward compatibility. The report generated is unaware of profiles or controls and only contains unsorted test information. Most users should migrate to the html2 reporter for more complete data.


This reporter is an improved HTML reporter that contains full data about the structure of the profile, controls, and tests. The generated report renders HTML code for viewing your tests in a browser.

The html2 reporter requires no configuration to function. However, options --alternate_css_file and --alternate_js_file are available for customization. The options are set in the JSON-formatted configuration file that Chef InSpec consumes.

For details, see our configuration file documentation.

For example:

  "version": "1.2",
  "plugins": {
    "inspec-reporter-html2": {


Specifies the full path to the location of a CSS file that is read and inlined into the HTML report. The default CSS is not included.


Specifies the full path to the location of a JavaScript file that is read and inlined into the HTML report. The default JavaScript is included. The JavaScript file should implement at least a pageLoaded() function, which is called by the onload event of the HTML body element.


This reporter includes all information about the profiles and test results in standard JSON format. You may optionally pass through arbitrary structured JSON data by setting a JSON configuration with the --config parameter.

For example:

    "reporter": {
      "json": {
        "stdout": true,
        "passthrough": {
          "a": 1,
          "b": false


The json-automate reporter is a special reporter that prepares the data format used by the Automate reporter. json-automate does not communicate on the network; instead, it simply produces the JSON report format that Automate would be consuming. Notably, the report is based on the json reporter, with the following modifications:

  • Controls appearing in child profiles are de-duplicated by ID, merging into the parent profile.
  • Child profiles are deleted, flattening the report.

The json-automate reporter is primarily used for internal needs, but some users may find it helpful if they want a JSON-based reporter that merges controls.


This reporter is a redacted version of the JSON and only includes test results.


This reporter includes all information from the Rspec runner. Unlike the JSON reporter, this includes Rspec-specific details.


This legacy reporter outputs nonstandard JUnit XML and is provided only for backward compatibility. New JUnit users should use the junit2 reporter.


This reporter outputs the standard JUnit spec in XML format. New JUnit users should use this reporter instead of the legacy junit reporter.


This reporter is very condensed and provides you a .(pass), f(fail), or *(skip) character per test and a small summary at the end.


This reporter outputs the real-time progress of a running InSpec profile using a progress bar and prints the running control’s ID with an indicator of the control’s status (Passed, failed, or skipped).

For example:

Progress Bar Reporter showing outcome of tests in CLI output.

And reporter outcome with --enhanced-outcomes option:

Progress Bar Reporter showing outcome of tests in CLI output with enhance output.


This reporter includes all information about the profiles and test results in standard yaml format.

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