Pretty Print Javascript Object in Node

– 02/12/16

When I am working on a node project, I am usually either working with some API (right now I am hacking on the Amazon API) or working with large sets of data. More often then not, I need to log some object to the console and inspect it.

The issue with logging an object using console.log in node is that each nested object is displayed as [Object]. Helpful right?

A little Googling around surfaces reccomendations of JSON.stringify(obj) or instead installing yet another npm module.

The truth is, node has this built in.


One of node’s core libraries, util, has a method inspect which is the right tool for the job. Here’s how to use it:

var util = require('util');
var obj = { a: { b: 'Hello, world!' } };

console.log(util.inspect(obj, false, null));

The second argument, showHidden, determines if the “non-enumerable” properties of an object will be logged.

The third argument is the depth level; setting it to false will recursive to the furthest depths of the object.

If you’d like to have some more node tools in your toolbelt, I reccomend learning the ins and outs of the util core library.