JupyterLab URLs

Like the classic notebook, JupyterLab provides a way for users to copy URLs that open a specific notebook or file. Additionally, JupyterLab URLs are an advanced part of the user interface that allows for managing workspaces. These two functions – file paths and workspaces – can be combined in URLs that open a specific file in a specific workspace.

File Navigation with /tree

JupyterLab’s file navigation URLs adopts the nomenclature of the classic notebook; these URLs are /tree URLs:


By default, the file browser will navigate to the directory containing the requested file. This behavior can be changed with the optional file-browser-path query parameter:


Entering the above URL will show the workspace root directory instead of the /path/to/ directory in the file browser.

Managing Workspaces (UI)

JupyterLab sessions always reside in a workspace. Workspaces contain the state of JupyterLab: the files that are currently open, the layout of the application areas and tabs, etc. When the page is refreshed, the workspace is restored.

The default workspace does not have a name and resides at the primary /lab URL:


All other workspaces have a name that is part of the URL:


Workspaces save their state on the server and can be shared between multiple users (or browsers) as long as they have access to the same server.

A workspace should only be open in a single browser tab at a time. If JupyterLab detects that a workspace is being opened multiple times simultaneously, it will prompt for a new workspace name.

Cloning Workspaces

You can copy the contents of a workspace into another workspace with the clone url parameter.

To copy the contents of the workspace foo into the workspace bar:


To copy the contents of the default workspace into the workspace foo:


To copy the contents of the workspace foo into the default workspace:


Resetting a Workspace

Use the reset url parameter to clear a workspace of its contents.

To reset the contents of the workspace foo:


To reset the contents of the default workspace:


Combining URL Functions

These URL functions can be used separately, as above, or in combination.

To reset the workspace foo and load a specific notebook afterward:


To clone the contents of the workspace bar into the workspace foo and load a notebook afterward:


To reset the contents of the default workspace and load a notebook:


Managing Workspaces (CLI)

JupyterLab provides a command-line interface for workspace import and export:

$ # Exports the default JupyterLab workspace
$ jupyter lab workspaces export
{"data": {}, "metadata": {"id": "/lab"}}
$ # Exports the workspaces named `foo`
$ jupyter lab workspaces export foo
{"data": {}, "metadata": {"id": "/lab/workspaces/foo"}}
$ # Exports the workspace named `foo` into a file called `file_name.json`
$ jupyter lab workspaces export foo > file_name.json
$ # Imports the workspace file `file_name.json`.
$ jupyter lab workspaces import file_name.json
Saved workspace: <workspaces-directory>/labworkspacesfoo-54d5.jupyterlab-workspace

The export functionality is as friendly as possible: if a workspace does not exist, it will still generate an empty workspace for export.

The import functionality validates the structure of the workspace file and validates the id field in the workspace metadata to make sure its URL is compatible with either the workspaces_url configuration or the page_url configuration to verify that it is a correctly named workspace or it is the default workspace.

Workspace File Format

A workspace file in a JSON file with a specific spec.

There are two top level keys requires, data, and metadata.

The metadata must be a mapping with an id key that has the same value as the ID of the workspace. This should also be the relative URL path to access the workspace, like /lab/workspaces/foo.

The data key maps to the initial state of the IStateDB. Many plugins look in the State DB for the configuration. Also any plugins that register with the ILayoutRestorer will look up all keys in the State DB that start with the namespace of their tracker before the first :. The values of these keys should have a data attribute that maps.

For example, if your workspace looks like this:

  "data": {
    "application-mimedocuments:package.json:JSON": {
      "data": { "path": "package.json", "factory": "JSON" }

It will run the docmanager:open with the { “path”: “package.json”, “factory”: “JSON” } args, because the application-mimedocuments tracker is registered with the docmanager:open command, like this:

const namespace = 'application-mimedocuments';
const tracker = new WidgetTracker<MimeDocument>({ namespace });
void restorer.restore(tracker, {
  command: 'docmanager:open',
  args: widget => ({
    path: widget.context.path,
    factory: Private.factoryNameProperty.get(widget)
  name: widget =>

Not that the part of the data key after the first :, package.json:JSON is dropped and is irrelevant.