This topic applies to .NET Core Tools Preview 2. For the .NET Core Tools RC4 version, see the dotnet-build (.NET Core Tools RC4) topic.


dotnet-build - Builds a project and all of its dependencies.


dotnet build [--help] [--output] [--build-base-path] [--framework] [--configuration] [--runtime] [--version-suffix] [--build-profile] [--no-incremental] [--no-dependencies] [<project>]


The dotnet build command builds multiple source file from a source project and its dependencies into a binary. By default, the resulting binary is in Intermediate Language (IL) and has a DLL extension. dotnet build also drops a \*.deps file which outlines what the host needs to run the application.

Building requires the existence of a lock file, which means that you have to run dotnet restore prior to building your code.

Before any compilation begins, the build verb analyzes the project and its dependencies for incremental safety checks. If all checks pass, then build proceeds with incremental compilation of the project and its dependencies; otherwise, it falls back to non-incremental compilation. Via a profile flag, users can choose to receive additional information on how they can improve their build times.

All projects in the dependency graph that need compilation must pass the following safety checks in order for the compilation process to be incremental:

  • not use pre/post compile scripts
  • not load compilation tools from PATH (for example, resgen, compilers)
  • use only known compilers (csc, vbc, fsc)

In order to build an executable application instead of a library, you need a special configuration section in your project.json file:

    "buildOptions": {
      "emitEntryPoint": true



Prints out a short help for the command.

-o|--output <OUTPUT_DIRECTORY>

Directory in which to place the built binaries. You also need to define --framework when you specify this option.

-b|--build-base-path <OUTPUT_DIRECTORY>

Directory in which to place temporary outputs.

-f|--framework <FRAMEWORK>

Compiles for a specific framework. The framework needs to be defined in the project.json file.

-c|--configuration [Debug|Release]

Defines a configuration under which to build. If omitted, it defaults to Debug.


Target runtime to build for. For a list of Runtime Identifiers (RIDs) you can use, see the RID catalog.

--version-suffix <VERSION_SUFFIX>

Defines what * should be replaced with in the version field in the project.json file. The format follows NuGet's version guidelines.


Prints out the incremental safety checks that users need to address in order for incremental compilation to be automatically turned on.


Marks the build as unsafe for incremental build. This turns off incremental compilation and forces a clean rebuild of the project dependency graph.


Ignores project-to-project references and only builds the root project specified to build.


Build a project and its dependencies:

dotnet build

Build a project and its dependencies using Release configuration:

dotnet build --configuration Release

Build a project and its dependencies for a specific runtime (in this example, Ubuntu 16.04):

dotnet build --runtime ubuntu.16.04-x64