dotnet cli


The .NET command-line interface (CLI) is a cross-platform toolchain for developing, building, running, and publishing .NET applications.

The .NET CLI is included with the .NET SDK. For more information about how to install the .NET SDK, see Install .NET Core.

CLI commands

The following commands are installed by default:

Basic commands

newInitializes a sample .NET Core project in the current directory.
restoreRestores the dependencies and tools of a project.
buildBuilds a project and all of its dependencies.
publishPublishes a .NET Core project for deployment (including the runtime).
runCompiles and immediately executes a .NET Core project.
testRuns unit tests using the test runner specified in a project.
vstestRuns unit tests using the test runner specified in a project.
packCreates a NuGet package.
migrateMigrates a project.json based project to a msbuild based project.
cleanCleans the output of a .NET Core project.
slnModifies a .sln file.
helpDisplays help for a command.
storeStores the specified assemblies in the runtime package store.

Project modification commands

add packageAdds a NuGet package reference to a project file.
add referenceAdds a project-to-project reference to a project file.
remove packageRemoves a NuGet package reference from a project file.
remove referenceRemoves a project-to-project reference from a project file.
list referenceLists all project-to-project references in a project.

Advanced commands

nuget deleteDeletes a package from a NuGet package source.
nuget localsLists and manages local NuGet resources.
nuget pushPushes a package to a NuGet package source.
msbuildRuns Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) commands.
dotnet install scriptInstalls the .NET CLI tools and adds them to the PATH environment variable.

Tool management commands

tool installInstalls a global tool.
tool listLists the installed global tools.
tool updateUpdates a global tool.
tool restoreRestores the tools and dependencies of a project.
tool runRuns a global tool.
tool uninstallUninstalls a global tool.

Tools are console applications that are installed from NuGet packages and are invoked from the command prompt. You can write tools yourself or install tools written by third parties. Tools are also known as global tools, tool-path tools, and local tools.

Command structure

CLI command structure consists of the driver (“dotnet”), the command, and possibly command arguments and options. You see this pattern in most CLI operations, such as creating a new console app, and running it from the command line. The following commands show when the console app was run from a directory named my_app:

dotnet new console
dotnet build --output ./build_output
dotnet ./build_output/my_app.dll


The driver is named dotnet and has two responsibilities, either running a framework-dependent app or executing a command.

To run a framework-dependent app, specify the app after the driver, for example, dotnet /path/to/my_app.dll. When executing the command from the folder where the app’s DLL resides, just execute dotnet my_app.dll. If you want to use a specific version of the .NET runtime, use the --fx-version <VERSION> option. For more information, see the dotnet command.

When you supply a command to the driver, dotnet.exe starts the CLI command execution process. For example:

dotnet build

First, the driver determines the version of the SDK to use. If there’s no global.json file, the latest version of the SDK available is used. Depending on what is latest on the machine, the SDK’s version might be either a preview or stable version. After the SDK version is determined, it executes the command.


The command performs an action. For example, dotnet build builds code. dotnet publish publishes code. The commands are implemented as a console application using a dotnet {command} convention.


The arguments you pass on the command line are the arguments to the command invoked. For example, when you execute dotnet publish my_app.csproj, the my_app.csproj argument indicates the project to publish and is passed to the publish command.


The options you pass on the command line are the options to the command invoked. For example, when you execute dotnet publish --output /build_output, the --output option and its value are passed to the publish command.