How to create a NuGet package with the .NET CLI


The following shows command-line samples using Unix. The dotnet pack command as shown here works the same way on Windows.

.NET Standard and .NET Core libraries are expected to be distributed as NuGet packages. This is in fact how all of the .NET Standard libraries are distributed and consumed. This is most easily done with the dotnet pack command.

Imagine that you just wrote an awesome new library that you would like to distribute over NuGet. You can create a NuGet package with cross-platform tools to do exactly that! The following example assumes a library called SuperAwesomeLibrary that targets netstandard1.0.

If you have transitive dependencies, that is, a project that depends on another package, make sure to restore packages for the entire solution with the dotnet restore command before you create a NuGet package. Failing to do so will result in the dotnet pack command not working properly.

You don't have to run dotnet restore because it's run implicitly by all commands that require a restore to occur, such as dotnet new, dotnet build, dotnet run, dotnet test, dotnet publish, and dotnet pack. To disable implicit restore, use the --no-restore option.

The dotnet restore command is still useful in certain scenarios where explicitly restoring makes sense, such as continuous integration builds in Azure DevOps Services or in build systems that need to explicitly control when the restore occurs.

For information about how to manage NuGet feeds, see the dotnet restore documentation.

After ensuring packages are restored, you can navigate to the directory where a library lives:

cd src/SuperAwesomeLibrary

Then it's just a single command from the command line:

dotnet pack

Your /bin/Debug folder will now look like this:

$ ls bin/Debug

This produces a package that is capable of being debugged. If you want to build a NuGet package with release binaries, all you need to do is add the --configuration (or -c) switch and use release as the argument.

dotnet pack --configuration release

Your /bin folder will now have a release folder containing your NuGet package with release binaries:

$ ls bin/release

And now you have the necessary files to publish a NuGet package!

Don't confuse dotnet pack with dotnet publish

It is important to note that at no point is the dotnet publish command involved. The dotnet publish command is for deploying applications with all of their dependencies in the same bundle -- not for generating a NuGet package to be distributed and consumed via NuGet.

See also