Installing Entity Framework Core


  • EF requires the most recent .NET SDK.

    • At runtime, EF Core requires a recent version of .NET. See EF Core releases) to find the minimal .NET version needed for the version of EF Core that you want to use.
  • You can use EF Core to develop applications on Windows using Visual Studio. The latest version of Visual Studio is recommended.

Get Entity Framework Core

EF Core is shipped as NuGet packages. To add EF Core to an application, install the NuGet package for the database provider you want to use. See Providers for a list of the database providers available.

To install or update NuGet packages, you can use the .NET Core command-line interface (CLI), the Visual Studio Package Manager Dialog, or the Visual Studio Package Manager Console.


  • Use the following .NET Core CLI command from the operating system's command line to install or update the EF Core SQL Server provider:

    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer
  • You can indicate a specific version in the dotnet add package command, using the -v modifier. For example, to install EF Core 6.0.14 packages, append -v 6.0.14 to the command.

For more information, see .NET command-line interface (CLI) tools.

Visual Studio NuGet Package Manager Dialog

  • From the Visual Studio menu, select Project > Manage NuGet Packages

  • Click on the Browse or the Updates tab

  • To install or update the SQL Server provider, select the Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer package, and confirm.

For more information, see NuGet Package Manager Dialog.

Visual Studio NuGet Package Manager Console

  • From the Visual Studio menu, select Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Console

  • To install the SQL Server provider, run the following command in the Package Manager Console:

    Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer
  • To update the provider, use the Update-Package command.

  • To specify a specific version, use the -Version modifier. For example, to install EF Core 6.0.14 packages, append -Version 6.0.14 to the commands

For more information, see Package Manager Console.

Get the Entity Framework Core tools

You can install tools to carry out EF Core-related tasks in your project, like creating and applying database migrations, or creating an EF Core model based on an existing database.

Two sets of tools are available:

Get the .NET Core CLI tools

.NET Core CLI tools require the .NET Core SDK, mentioned earlier in Prerequisites.

  • dotnet ef must be installed as a global or local tool. Most developers prefer installing dotnet ef as a global tool using the following command:

    dotnet tool install --global dotnet-ef

    dotnet ef can also be used as a local tool. To use it as a local tool, restore the dependencies of a project that declares it as a tooling dependency using a tool manifest file.

  • To update the tools, use the dotnet tool update command.

  • Install the latest Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design package.

    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design


Always use the version of the tools package that matches the major version of the runtime packages.

Get the Package Manager Console tools

To get the Package Manager Console tools for EF Core, install the Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools package. For example, from Visual Studio:

Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools

Upgrading to the latest EF Core