How To Fix "Cannot use import statement outside module" in JS

By James LePage
Last updated on July 11th, 2022

There are a few different ways to use JavaScript modules but one of the most widespread approaches is EcmaScript modules, often referred to simply as ES modules. This syntax uses the import and export statements. While relatively simple to use, you may still run into errors such as the Cannot use import statements outside a module error.

The Problem

You may encounter this issue whenever you try to use an import statement.


This includes importing local modules or modules in installed packages. For example:

// javascript.js

import { add } from "./util.js"; // local module
import date from "date-and-time"; // npm module

const sum = add(1, 2);
const formattedDate = date.format(new Date(), "YYYY/MM/DD");

console.log(formattedDate);Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

If I try to run this JavaScript file using node I may receive the Cannot use import statement outside a module error despite everything in that file being correct.

The Solution

Before we continue, make sure the modules you are trying to use are setup properly. In the example above, make sure the add function is declared and exported correctly. Ensure that the date-and-time module is properly installed. With that out of the way, the solution for the error should be quite simple. You will need to add a type entry to your package.json:

// package.json
// rest of your file
	"type": "module"
}Code language: JSON / JSON with Comments (json)

If you do not have a package.json file but you are using node, you can create one using

npm init or yarn init depending on the package manager of your preference.

You may be importing a script into an html file in which case, instead of a package.jsonfile, you’ll need to add the type parameter to your script import:

<script src="javascript.js" type="module"></script>Code language: HTML, XML (xml)


Give these solutions a try and you should no longer have to deal with that error. If not, feel free to leave a comment here and we will try our best to figure out a solution that works for you. Otherwise, have a great day and thanks for reading!

The Isotropic Codex is a collection of code snippets and education for WordPress, web and WooCommerce developers.
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Article By
James LePage
James LePage is the founder of Isotropic, a WordPress education company and digital agency. He is also the founder of, a venture backed startup bringing AI to WordPress creators.
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