Tutorial: Create a template package

With .NET, you can create and deploy templates that generate projects, files, and even resources. This tutorial is part three of a series that teaches you how to create, install, and uninstall templates for use with the dotnet new command.

You can view the completed template in the .NET Samples GitHub repository.

In this part of the series you'll learn how to:

  • Create a *.csproj project to build a template package.
  • Configure the project file for packing.
  • Install a template package from a NuGet package file.
  • Uninstall a template package by package ID.


  • Complete part 1 and part 2 of this tutorial series.

    This tutorial uses the two templates created in the first two parts of this tutorial series. You can use a different template as long as you copy the template, as a folder, into the working\content folder.

  • Open a terminal and navigate to the working folder.

  • Install .NET 8.

  • Install the Microsoft.TemplateEngine.Authoring.Templates template from the NuGet package feed.

    • Run the dotnet new install Microsoft.TemplateEngine.Authoring.Templates command from your terminal.


This article is written for .NET 7. However, it also applies to .NET 6 and previous versions, with one difference: The dotnet new syntax is different. The list, search, install, and uninstall subcommands should be --list, --search, --install, and --uninstall options, respectively.

For example, the dotnet new install command in .NET 7 becomes dotnet new --install in .NET 6. Use the dotnet new --help command to see a list of all options and subcommands.

Create a template package project

A template package is one or more templates packed into a NuGet package. When you install or uninstall a template package, all templates contained in the package are added or removed, respectively.

Template packages are represented by a NuGet package (.nupkg) file. And, like any NuGet package, you can upload the template package to a NuGet feed. The dotnet new install command supports installing template packages from a NuGet package feed, a .nupkg file, or a directory with a template.

Normally you use a C# project file to compile code and produce a binary. However, the project can also be used to generate a template package. By changing the settings of the .csproj, you can prevent it from compiling any code and instead include all the assets of your templates as resources. When this project is built, it produces a template package NuGet package.

The package you're going to generate will include the item and project templates previously created.

The Microsoft.TemplateEngine.Authoring.Templates package contains templates useful for template authoring. To install this package, nuget.org should be available as NuGet feed in the working directory.

  1. In the working folder, run the following command to create the template package:

    dotnet new templatepack -n "AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates"

    The -n parameter sets the project file name to AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj. You should see a result similar to the following output.

    The template "Template Package" was created successfully.
    Processing post-creation actions...
    Description: Manual actions required
    Manual instructions: Open *.csproj in the editor and complete the package metadata configuration. Copy the templates to _content_ folder. Fill in README.md.
  2. Next, open the AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj file in a code editor and populate it according to the hints in the template:

    <Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">
        <!-- The package metadata. Fill in the properties marked as TODO below -->
        <!-- Follow the instructions on https://learn.microsoft.com/nuget/create-packages/package-authoring-best-practices -->
        <Title>AdatumCorporation Templates</Title>
        <Description>Templates to use when creating an application for Adatum Corporation.</Description>
        ... cut for brevity ...
  1. In the working folder, run the following command to create the template package:

    dotnet new console -n AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates

    The -n parameter sets the project file name to AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj. You should see a result similar to the following output.

    The template "Console Application" was created successfully.
    Processing post-creation actions...
    Running 'dotnet restore' on .\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj...
      Restore completed in 52.38 ms for C:\code\working\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj.
    Restore succeeded.
  2. Delete the Program.cs file. The new project template generates this file but it's not used by the templates engine.

  3. Next, open the AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj file in your favorite editor and replace the content with the following XML:

    <Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">
        <Title>AdatumCorporation Templates</Title>
        <Description>Templates to use when creating an application for Adatum Corporation.</Description>
        <Content Include="content\**\*" Exclude="content\**\bin\**;content\**\obj\**" />
        <Compile Remove="**\*" />

Description of the project XML

The settings under <PropertyGroup> in the XML snippet are broken into two groups.

The first group deals with properties required for a NuGet package. The four <Package*> settings have to do with the NuGet package properties to identify your package on a NuGet feed. The <PackageId> value, while used by NuGet, is also used to uninstall the template package. The remaining settings, such as <Title> and <PackageTags>, have to do with metadata displayed on the NuGet feed and .NET package manager. For more information about NuGet settings, see NuGet and MSBuild properties.


To ensure that the template package appears in dotnet new search results,<PackageType> must be set to Template.

In the second group, the <TargetFramework> setting ensures that MSBuild runs properly when you run the pack command to compile and pack the project. The group also includes settings that have to do with configuring the project to include the templates in the appropriate folder in the NuGet package when it's created:

  • The <NoWarn> setting suppresses a warning message that doesn't apply to template package projects.

  • The <NoDefaultExcludes> setting ensures that files and folders that start with a . (like .gitignore) are part of the template. The default behavior of NuGet packages is to ignore those files and folders.

<ItemGroup> contains two items. First, the <Content> item includes everything in the templates folder as content. It's also set to exclude any bin folder or obj folder to prevent any compiled code (if you tested and compiled your templates) from being included. Second, the <Compile> item excludes all code files from compiling no matter where they're located. This setting prevents the project that's used to create the template package from trying to compile the code in the templates folder hierarchy.


For more information about NuGet metadata settings, see Pack a template into a NuGet package (nupkg file).

The created project file includes template authoring MSBuild tasks and localization settings.


    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.TemplateEngine.Tasks" Version="*" PrivateAssets="all" IsImplicitlyDefined="true"/>


The content content folder contains a SampleTemplate folder. Delete this folder, as it was added to the authoring template for demonstration purposes.

These MSBuild tasks provide template validation and localization of the templates capabilities. Localization is disabled by default. To enable creation of localization files, set LocalizeTemplates to true.

Pack and install

Save the project file. Before building the template package, verify that your folder structure is correct. Any template you want to pack should be placed in the templates folder, in its own folder. The folder structure should look similar to the following hierarchy:

│   AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj
    │   └───.template.config
    │           template.json

The content folder has two folders: extensions and consoleasync.

In your terminal, from the working folder, run the dotnet pack command. This command builds the project and creates a NuGet package in the working\bin\Debug folder, as indicated by the following output:

MSBuild version 17.8.0-preview-23367-03+0ff2a83e9 for .NET
  Determining projects to restore...
  Restored C:\code\working\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.csproj (in 1.16 sec).

  AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates -> C:\code\working\bin\Release\net8.0\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.dll
  Successfully created package 'C:\code\working\bin\Release\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.1.0.0.nupkg'.

Next, install the template package with the dotnet new install command. On Windows:

dotnet new install .\bin\Release\AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.1.0.0.nupkg

On Linux or macOS:

dotnet new install bin/Release/AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates.1.0.0.nupkg

You should see output similar to the following:

The following template packages will be installed:

Success: AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates::1.0.0 installed the following templates:
Templates                                         Short Name               Language          Tags
--------------------------------------------      -------------------      ------------      ----------------------
Example templates: string extensions              stringext                [C#]              Common/Code
Example templates: async project                  consoleasync             [C#]              Common/Console/C#9

If you uploaded the NuGet package to a NuGet feed, you can use the dotnet new install <PACKAGE_ID> command where <PACKAGE_ID> is the same as the <PackageId> setting from the .csproj file.

Uninstall the template package

No matter how you installed the template package, either with the .nupkg file directly or by NuGet feed, removing a template package is the same. Use the <PackageId> of the template you want to uninstall. You can get a list of templates that are installed by running the dotnet new uninstall command.

C:\working> dotnet new uninstall
Currently installed items:
... cut to save space ...

      NuGetPackageId: AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates
      Version: 1.0.0
      Author: Me
      Example templates: async project (consoleasync) C#
      Example templates: string extensions (stringext) C#
    Uninstall Command:
      dotnet new uninstall AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates

Run dotnet new uninstall AdatumCorporation.Utility.Templates to uninstall the template package. The command outputs information about what template packages were uninstalled.

Congratulations! You've installed and uninstalled a template package.

Next steps

To learn more about templates, most of which you've already learned, see the Custom templates for dotnet new article.