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Identify the project format
Describes how to identity your project format

Identify the project format

NuGet works with all .NET projects. However, the project format (SDK-style or non-SDK-style) determines some of the tools and methods that you need to use to consume and create NuGet packages. SDK-style projects use the SDK attribute. It is important to identify your project type because the methods and tools you use to consume and create NuGet packages are dependent on the project format. For non-SDK-style projects, the methods and tools are also dependent on whether or not the project has been migrated to PackageReference format.

Whether your project is SDK-style or not depends on the method used to create the project. The following table shows the default project format and the associated CLI tool for your project when you create it using Visual Studio 2017 and later versions.

Project               Default project format CLI tool          Notes
.NET Standard SDK-style dotnet CLI Projects created prior to Visual Studio 2017 are non-SDK-style. Use nuget.exe CLI.
.NET Core SDK-style dotnet CLI Projects created prior to Visual Studio 2017 are non-SDK-style. Use nuget.exe CLI.
.NET Framework Non-SDK-style nuget.exe CLI .NET Framework projects created using other methods may be SDK-style projects. For these, use dotnet CLI instead.
Migrated .NET project Non-SDK-style To create packages, use msbuild -t:pack to create packages. To create packages, msbuild -t:pack is recommended. Otherwise, use the dotnet CLI. Migrated projects are not SDK-style projects.

Check the project format

If you're unsure whether the project is SDK-style format or not, look for the SDK attribute in the <Project> element in the project file (For C#, this is the *.csproj file). If it is present, the project is an SDK-style project.

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">



Check the project format in Visual Studio

If you are working in Visual Studio, you can quickly check the project format using one of the following methods:

  • Right-click the project in Solution Explorer and select Edit myprojectname.csproj.

    This option is only available starting in Visual Studio 2017 for projects that use the SDK-style attribute. Otherwise, use the other method.

    Edit the project file

    An SDK-style project shows the SDK attribute in the project file.

  • From the Project menu, choose Unload Project (or right-click the project and choose Unload Project).

    This project will not include the SDK attribute in the project file. It is not an SDK-style project.

    Unload the project

    Then, right-click the unloaded project and choose Edit myprojectname.csproj.

See also