dotnet add reference

This article applies to: ✔️ .NET Core 3.1 SDK and later versions


dotnet add reference - Adds project-to-project (P2P) references.


dotnet add [<PROJECT>] reference [-f|--framework <FRAMEWORK>]
     [--interactive] <PROJECT_REFERENCES>

dotnet add reference -h|--help


The dotnet add reference command provides a convenient option to add project references to a project. After running the command, the <ProjectReference> elements are added to the project file.

  <ProjectReference Include="app.csproj" />
  <ProjectReference Include="..\lib2\lib2.csproj" />
  <ProjectReference Include="..\lib1\lib1.csproj" />

Add a reference to an assembly that isn't in a project

There's no CLI command to add a reference to an assembly that isn't in a project or a package. But you can do that by editing your .csproj file and adding markup similar to the following example:

  <Reference Include="MyAssembly">



    Specifies the project file. If not specified, the command searches the current directory for one.


    Project-to-project (P2P) references to add. Specify one or more projects. Glob patterns are supported on Unix/Linux-based systems.


  • -f|--framework <FRAMEWORK>

    Adds project references only when targeting a specific framework using the TFM format.

  • -?|-h|--help

    Prints out a description of how to use the command.

  • --interactive

    Allows the command to stop and wait for user input or action. For example, to complete authentication. Available since .NET Core 3.0 SDK.


  • Add a project reference:

    dotnet add app/app.csproj reference lib/lib.csproj
  • Add multiple project references to the project in the current directory:

    dotnet add reference lib1/lib1.csproj lib2/lib2.csproj
  • Add multiple project references using a globbing pattern on Linux/Unix:

    dotnet add app/app.csproj reference **/*.csproj