NuGet pack and restore as MSBuild targets

NuGet 4.0+

With the PackageReference format, NuGet 4.0+ can store all manifest metadata directly within a project file rather than using a separate .nuspec file.

With MSBuild 15.1+, NuGet is also a first-class MSBuild citizen with the pack and restore targets as described below. These targets allow you to work with NuGet as you would with any other MSBuild task or target. For instructions creating a NuGet package using MSBuild, see Create a NuGet package using MSBuild. (For NuGet 3.x and earlier, you use the pack and restore commands through the NuGet CLI instead.)

Target build order

Because pack and restore are MSBuild targets, you can access them to enhance your workflow. For example, let's say you want to copy your package to a network share after packing it. You can do that by adding the following in your project file:

<Target Name="CopyPackage" AfterTargets="Pack">
  <Copy
    SourceFiles="$(OutputPath)..\$(PackageId).$(PackageVersion).nupkg"
    DestinationFolder="\\myshare\packageshare\"
    />
</Target>

Similarly, you can write an MSBuild task, write your own target and consume NuGet properties in the MSBuild task.

Note

$(OutputPath) is relative and expects that you are running the command from the project root.

pack target

For .NET projects that use the PackageReference format, using msbuild -t:pack draws inputs from the project file to use in creating a NuGet package.

The following table describes the MSBuild properties that can be added to a project file within the first <PropertyGroup> node. You can make these edits easily in Visual Studio 2017 and later by right-clicking the project and selecting Edit {project_name} on the context menu. For convenience, the table is organized by the equivalent property in a .nuspec file.

Note

Owners and Summary properties from .nuspec are not supported with MSBuild.

Attribute/nuspec Value MSBuild Property Default Notes
Id PackageId $(AssemblyName) $(AssemblyName) from MSBuild
Version PackageVersion Version This is semver compatible, for example 1.0.0, 1.0.0-beta, or 1.0.0-beta-00345
VersionPrefix PackageVersionPrefix empty Setting PackageVersion overwrites PackageVersionPrefix
VersionSuffix PackageVersionSuffix empty $(VersionSuffix) from MSBuild. Setting PackageVersion overwrites PackageVersionSuffix
Authors Authors Username of the current user A semicolon-separated list of packages authors, matching the profile names on nuget.org. These are displayed in the NuGet Gallery on nuget.org and are used to cross-reference packages by the same authors.
Owners N/A Not present in nuspec
Title Title The PackageId A human-friendly title of the package, typically used in UI displays as on nuget.org and the Package Manager in Visual Studio.
Description Description "Package Description" A long description for the assembly. If PackageDescription is not specified, then this property is also used as the description of the package.
Copyright Copyright empty Copyright details for the package.
RequireLicenseAcceptance PackageRequireLicenseAcceptance false A Boolean value that specifies whether the client must prompt the consumer to accept the package license before installing the package.
license PackageLicenseExpression empty Corresponds to <license type="expression">. See Packing a license expression or a license file.
license PackageLicenseFile empty Path to a license file within the package if you're using a custom license or a license that hasn't been assigned an SPDX identifier. You need to explicitly pack the referenced license file. Corresponds to <license type="file">. See Packing a license expression or a license file.
LicenseUrl PackageLicenseUrl empty PackageLicenseUrl is deprecated. Use PackageLicenseExpression or PackageLicenseFile instead.
ProjectUrl PackageProjectUrl empty
Icon PackageIcon empty A path to an image in the package to use as a package icon. You need to explicitly pack the referenced icon image file. For more information, see Packing an icon image file and icon metadata.
IconUrl PackageIconUrl empty PackageIconUrl is deprecated in favor of PackageIcon. However, for the best downlevel experience, you should specify PackageIconUrl in addition to PackageIcon.
Readme PackageReadmeFile empty You need to explicitly pack the referenced readme file.
Tags PackageTags empty A semicolon-delimited list of tags that designates the package.
ReleaseNotes PackageReleaseNotes empty Release notes for the package.
Repository/Url RepositoryUrl empty Repository URL used to clone or retrieve source code. Example: https://github.com/NuGet/NuGet.Client.git.
Repository/Type RepositoryType empty Repository type. Examples: git (default), tfs.
Repository/Branch RepositoryBranch empty Optional repository branch information. RepositoryUrl must also be specified for this property to be included. Example: master (NuGet 4.7.0+).
Repository/Commit RepositoryCommit empty Optional repository commit or changeset to indicate which source the package was built against. RepositoryUrl must also be specified for this property to be included. Example: 0e4d1b598f350b3dc675018d539114d1328189ef (NuGet 4.7.0+).
PackageType <PackageType>CustomType1, 1.0.0.0;CustomType2</PackageType> Indicates the package's intended use. Package types use the same format as package IDs and are delimited by ;. Package types may be versioned by appending a , and a Version string. See Set a NuGet package type (NuGet 3.5.0+).
Summary Not supported

pack target inputs

Property Description
IsPackable A Boolean value that specifies whether the project can be packed. The default value is true.
SuppressDependenciesWhenPacking Set to true to suppress package dependencies from the generated NuGet package.
PackageVersion Specifies the version that the resulting package will have. Accepts all forms of NuGet version string. Default is the value of $(Version), that is, of the property Version in the project.
PackageId Specifies the name for the resulting package. If not specified, the pack operation will default to using the AssemblyName or directory name as the name of the package.
PackageDescription A long description of the package for UI display.
Authors A semicolon-separated list of packages authors, matching the profile names on nuget.org. These are displayed in the NuGet Gallery on nuget.org and are used to cross-reference packages by the same authors.
Description A long description for the assembly. If PackageDescription is not specified, then this property is also used as the description of the package.
Copyright Copyright details for the package.
PackageRequireLicenseAcceptance A Boolean value that specifies whether the client must prompt the consumer to accept the package license before installing the package. The default is false.
DevelopmentDependency A Boolean value that specifies whether the package is marked as a development-only dependency, which prevents the package from being included as a dependency in other packages. With PackageReference (NuGet 4.8+), this flag also means that compile-time assets are excluded from compilation. For more information, see DevelopmentDependency support for PackageReference.
PackageLicenseExpression An SPDX license identifier or expression, for example, Apache-2.0. For more information, see Packing a license expression or a license file.
PackageLicenseFile Path to a license file within the package if you're using a custom license or a license that hasn't been assigned an SPDX identifier.
PackageLicenseUrl PackageLicenseUrl is deprecated. Use PackageLicenseExpression or PackageLicenseFile instead.
PackageProjectUrl
PackageIcon Specifies the package icon path, relative to the root of the package. For more information, see Packing an icon image file.
PackageReleaseNotes Release notes for the package.
PackageReadmeFile Readme for the package.
PackageTags A semicolon-delimited list of tags that designates the package.
PackageOutputPath Determines the output path in which the packed package will be dropped. Default is $(OutputPath).
IncludeSymbols This Boolean value indicates whether the package should create an additional symbols package when the project is packed. The symbols package's format is controlled by the SymbolPackageFormat property. For more information, see IncludeSymbols.
IncludeSource This Boolean value indicates whether the pack process should create a source package. The source package contains the library's source code as well as PDB files. Source files are put under the src/ProjectName directory in the resulting package file. For more information, see IncludeSource.
PackageType
IsTool Specifies whether all output files are copied to the tools folder instead of the lib folder. For more information, see IsTool.
RepositoryUrl Repository URL used to clone or retrieve source code. Example: https://github.com/NuGet/NuGet.Client.git.
RepositoryType Repository type. Examples: git (default), tfs.
RepositoryBranch Optional repository branch information. RepositoryUrl must also be specified for this property to be included. Example: master (NuGet 4.7.0+).
RepositoryCommit Optional repository commit or changeset to indicate which source the package was built against. RepositoryUrl must also be specified for this property to be included. Example: 0e4d1b598f350b3dc675018d539114d1328189ef (NuGet 4.7.0+).
SymbolPackageFormat Specifies the format of the symbols package. If "symbols.nupkg", a legacy symbols package is created with a .symbols.nupkg extension containing PDBs, DLLs, and other output files. If "snupkg", a snupkg symbol package is created containing the portable PDBs. The default is "symbols.nupkg".
NoPackageAnalysis Specifies that pack should not run package analysis after building the package.
MinClientVersion Specifies the minimum version of the NuGet client that can install this package, enforced by nuget.exe and the Visual Studio Package Manager.
IncludeBuildOutput This Boolean value specifies whether the build output assemblies should be packed into the .nupkg file or not.
IncludeContentInPack This Boolean value specifies whether any items that have a type of Content are included in the resulting package automatically. The default is true.
BuildOutputTargetFolder Specifies the folder where to place the output assemblies. The output assemblies (and other output files) are copied into their respective framework folders. For more information, see Output assemblies.
ContentTargetFolders Specifies the default location of where all the content files should go if PackagePath is not specified for them. The default value is "content;contentFiles". For more information, see Including content in a package.
NuspecFile Relative or absolute path to the .nuspec file being used for packing. If specified, it's used exclusively for packaging information, and any information in the projects is not used. For more information, see Packing using a .nuspec.
NuspecBasePath Base path for the .nuspec file. For more information, see Packing using a .nuspec.
NuspecProperties Semicolon separated list of key=value pairs. For more information, see Packing using a .nuspec.

pack scenarios

Suppressing dependencies

To suppress package dependencies from generated NuGet package, set SuppressDependenciesWhenPacking to true which will allow skipping all the dependencies from generated nupkg file.

PackageIconUrl

PackageIconUrl is deprecated in favor of the PackageIcon property. Starting with NuGet 5.3 and Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3, pack raises the NU5048 warning if the package metadata only specifies PackageIconUrl.

PackageIcon

Tip

To maintain backward compatibility with clients and sources that don't yet support PackageIcon, specify both PackageIcon and PackageIconUrl. Visual Studio supports PackageIcon for packages coming from a folder-based source.

Packing an icon image file

When packing an icon image file, use PackageIcon property to specify the icon file path, relative to the root of the package. In addition, make sure that the file is included in the package. Image file size is limited to 1 MB. Supported file formats include JPEG and PNG. We recommend an image resolution of 128x128.

For example:

<PropertyGroup>
    ...
    <PackageIcon>icon.png</PackageIcon>
    ...
</PropertyGroup>

<ItemGroup>
    ...
    <None Include="images\icon.png" Pack="true" PackagePath="\"/>
    ...
</ItemGroup>

Package Icon sample.

For the nuspec equivalent, take a look at nuspec reference for icon.

PackageReadmeFile

Supported with NuGet 5.10.0 preview 2 / .NET SDK 5.0.300 and above

When packing a readme file, you need to use the PackageReadmeFile property to specify the package path, relative to the root of the package. In addition to this, you need to make sure that the file is included in the package. Supported file formats include only Markdown (.md).

For example:

<PropertyGroup>
    ...
    <PackageReadmeFile>readme.md</PackageReadmeFile>
    ...
</PropertyGroup>

<ItemGroup>
    ...
    <None Include="docs\readme.md" Pack="true" PackagePath="\"/>
    ...
</ItemGroup>

For the nuspec equivalent, take a look at nuspec reference for readme.

Output assemblies

nuget pack copies output files with extensions .exe, .dll, .xml, .winmd, .json, and .pri. The output files that are copied depend on what MSBuild provides from the BuiltOutputProjectGroup target.

There are two MSBuild properties that you can use in your project file or command line to control where output assemblies go:

  • IncludeBuildOutput: A boolean that determines whether the build output assemblies should be included in the package.
  • BuildOutputTargetFolder: Specifies the folder in which the output assemblies should be placed. The output assemblies (and other output files) are copied into their respective framework folders.

Package references

See Package References in Project Files.

Project to project references

Project to project references are considered by default as NuGet package references. For example:

<ProjectReference Include="..\UwpLibrary2\UwpLibrary2.csproj"/>

You can also add the following metadata to your project reference:

<IncludeAssets>
<ExcludeAssets>
<PrivateAssets>

Including content in a package

To include content, add extra metadata to the existing <Content> item. By default everything of type "Content" gets included in the package unless you override with entries like the following:

<Content Include="..\win7-x64\libuv.txt">
 <Pack>false</Pack>
</Content>

By default, everything gets added to the root of the content and contentFiles\any\<target_framework> folder within a package and preserves the relative folder structure, unless you specify a package path:

<Content Include="..\win7-x64\libuv.txt">
  <Pack>true</Pack>
  <PackagePath>content\myfiles\</PackagePath>
</Content>

If you want to copy all your content to only a specific root folder(s) (instead of content and contentFiles both), you can use the MSBuild property ContentTargetFolders, which defaults to "content;contentFiles" but can be set to any other folder names. Note that just specifying "contentFiles" in ContentTargetFolders puts files under contentFiles\any\<target_framework> or contentFiles\<language>\<target_framework> based on buildAction.

PackagePath can be a semicolon-delimited set of target paths. Specifying an empty package path would add the file to the root of the package. For example, the following adds libuv.txt to content\myfiles, content\samples, and the package root:

<Content Include="..\win7-x64\libuv.txt">
  <Pack>true</Pack>
  <PackagePath>content\myfiles;content\sample;;</PackagePath>
</Content>

There is also an MSBuild property $(IncludeContentInPack), which defaults to true. If this is set to false on any project, then the content from that project are not included in the nuget package.

Other pack specific metadata that you can set on any of the above items includes <PackageCopyToOutput> and <PackageFlatten> which sets CopyToOutput and Flatten values on the contentFiles entry in the output nuspec.

Note

Apart from Content items, the <Pack> and <PackagePath> metadata can also be set on files with a build action of Compile, EmbeddedResource, ApplicationDefinition, Page, Resource, SplashScreen, DesignData, DesignDataWithDesignTimeCreateableTypes, CodeAnalysisDictionary, AndroidAsset, AndroidResource, BundleResource or None.

For pack to append the filename to your package path when using globbing patterns, your package path must end with the folder separator character, otherwise the package path is treated as the full path including the file name.

IncludeSymbols

When using MSBuild -t:pack -p:IncludeSymbols=true, the corresponding .pdb files are copied along with other output files (.dll, .exe, .winmd, .xml, .json, .pri). Note that setting IncludeSymbols=true creates a regular package and a symbols package.

IncludeSource

This is the same as IncludeSymbols, except that it copies source files along with .pdb files as well. All files of type Compile are copied over to src\<ProjectName>\ preserving the relative path folder structure in the resulting package. The same also happens for source files of any ProjectReference which has TreatAsPackageReference set to false.

If a file of type Compile, is outside the project folder, then it's just added to src\<ProjectName>\.

Packing a license expression or a license file

When using a license expression, use the PackageLicenseExpression property. For a sample, see License expression sample.

<PropertyGroup>
    <PackageLicenseExpression>MIT</PackageLicenseExpression>
</PropertyGroup>

To learn more about license expressions and licenses that are accepted by NuGet.org, see license metadata.

When packing a license file, use PackageLicenseFile property to specify the package path, relative to the root of the package. In addition, make sure that the file is included in the package. For example:

<PropertyGroup>
    <PackageLicenseFile>LICENSE.txt</PackageLicenseFile>
</PropertyGroup>

<ItemGroup>
    <None Include="licenses\LICENSE.txt" Pack="true" PackagePath=""/>
</ItemGroup>

For a sample, see License file sample.

Note

Only one of PackageLicenseExpression, PackageLicenseFile, and PackageLicenseUrl can be specified at a time.

Packing a file without an extension

In some scenarios, like when packing a license file, you might want to include a file without an extension. For historical reasons, NuGet & MSBuild treat paths without an extension as directories.

  <PropertyGroup>
    <TargetFrameworks>netstandard2.0</TargetFrameworks>
    <PackageLicenseFile>LICENSE</PackageLicenseFile>
  </PropertyGroup>

  <ItemGroup>
    <None Include="LICENSE" Pack="true" PackagePath=""/>
  </ItemGroup>  

File without an extension sample.

IsTool

When using MSBuild -t:pack -p:IsTool=true, all output files, as specified in the Output Assemblies scenario, are copied to the tools folder instead of the lib folder. Note that this is different from a DotNetCliTool which is specified by setting the PackageType in .csproj file.

Packing using a .nuspec file

Although it is recommended that you include all the properties that are usually in the .nuspec file in the project file instead, you can choose to use a .nuspec file to pack your project. For a non-SDK-style project that uses PackageReference, you must import NuGet.Build.Tasks.Pack.targets so that the pack task can be executed. You still need to restore the project before you can pack a nuspec file. (An SDK-style project includes the pack targets by default.)

The target framework of the project file is irrelevant and not used when packing a nuspec. The following three MSBuild properties are relevant to packing using a .nuspec:

  1. NuspecFile: relative or absolute path to the .nuspec file being used for packing.
  2. NuspecProperties: a semicolon-separated list of key=value pairs. Due to the way MSBuild command-line parsing works, multiple properties must be specified as follows: -p:NuspecProperties="key1=value1;key2=value2".
  3. NuspecBasePath: Base path for the .nuspec file.

If using dotnet.exe to pack your project, use a command like the following:

dotnet pack <path to .csproj file> -p:NuspecFile=<path to nuspec file> -p:NuspecProperties=<> -p:NuspecBasePath=<Base path> 

If using MSBuild to pack your project, use a command like the following:

msbuild -t:pack <path to .csproj file> -p:NuspecFile=<path to nuspec file> -p:NuspecProperties=<> -p:NuspecBasePath=<Base path> 

Please note that packing a nuspec using dotnet.exe or msbuild also leads to building the project by default. This can be avoided by passing --no-build property to dotnet.exe, which is the equivalent of setting <NoBuild>true</NoBuild> in your project file, along with setting <IncludeBuildOutput>false</IncludeBuildOutput> in the project file.

An example of a .csproj file to pack a nuspec file is:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">
  <PropertyGroup>
    <TargetFramework>netstandard2.0</TargetFramework>
    <NoBuild>true</NoBuild>
    <IncludeBuildOutput>false</IncludeBuildOutput>
    <NuspecFile>PATH_TO_NUSPEC_FILE</NuspecFile>
    <NuspecProperties>add nuspec properties here</NuspecProperties>
    <NuspecBasePath>optional to provide</NuspecBasePath>
  </PropertyGroup>
</Project>

Advanced extension points to create customized package

The pack target provides two extension points that run in the inner, target framework specific build. The extension points support including target framework specific content and assemblies into a package:

  • TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput target: Use for files inside the lib folder or a folder specified using BuildOutputTargetFolder.
  • TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage target: Use for files outside the BuildOutputTargetFolder.

TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput

Write a custom target and specify it as the value of the $(TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput) property. For any files that need to go into the BuildOutputTargetFolder (lib by default), the target should write those files into the ItemGroup BuildOutputInPackage and set the following two metadata values:

  • FinalOutputPath: The absolute path of the file; if not provided, the Identity is used to evaluate source path.
  • TargetPath: (Optional) Set when the file needs to go into a subfolder within lib\<TargetFramework> , like satellite assemblies that go under their respective culture folders. Defaults to the name of the file.

Example:

<PropertyGroup>
  <TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput>$(TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput);GetMyPackageFiles</TargetsForTfmSpecificBuildOutput>
</PropertyGroup>

<Target Name="GetMyPackageFiles">
  <ItemGroup>
    <BuildOutputInPackage Include="$(OutputPath)cs\$(AssemblyName).resources.dll">
        <TargetPath>cs</TargetPath>
    </BuildOutputInPackage>
  </ItemGroup>
</Target>

TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage

Write a custom target and specify it as the value of the $(TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage) property. For any files to include in the package, the target should write those files into the ItemGroup TfmSpecificPackageFile and set the following optional metadata:

  • PackagePath: Path where the file should be output in the package. NuGet issues a warning if more than one file is added to the same package path.
  • BuildAction: The build action to assign to the file, required only if the package path is in the contentFiles folder. Defaults to "None".

An example:

<PropertyGroup>
  <TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage>$(TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage);CustomContentTarget</TargetsForTfmSpecificContentInPackage>
</PropertyGroup>

<Target Name="CustomContentTarget">
  <ItemGroup>
    <TfmSpecificPackageFile Include="abc.txt">
      <PackagePath>mycontent/$(TargetFramework)</PackagePath>
    </TfmSpecificPackageFile>
    <TfmSpecificPackageFile Include="Extensions/ext.txt" Condition="'$(TargetFramework)' == 'net46'">
      <PackagePath>net46content</PackagePath>
    </TfmSpecificPackageFile>  
  </ItemGroup>
</Target>  

restore target

MSBuild -t:restore (which nuget restore and dotnet restore use with .NET Core projects), restores packages referenced in the project file as follows:

  1. Read all project to project references
  2. Read the project properties to find the intermediate folder and target frameworks
  3. Pass MSBuild data to NuGet.Build.Tasks.dll
  4. Run restore
  5. Download packages
  6. Write assets file, targets, and props

The restore target works for projects using the PackageReference format. MSBuild 16.5+ also has opt-in support for the packages.config format.

Note

The restore target should not be run in combination with the build target.

Restore properties

Additional restore settings may come from MSBuild properties in the project file. Values can also be set from the command line using the -p: switch (see Examples below).

Property Description
RestoreSources Semicolon-delimited list of package sources.
RestorePackagesPath User packages folder path.
RestoreDisableParallel Limit downloads to one at a time.
RestoreConfigFile Path to a Nuget.Config file to apply.
RestoreNoCache If true, avoids using cached packages. See Managing the global packages and cache folders.
RestoreIgnoreFailedSources If true, ignores failing or missing package sources.
RestoreFallbackFolders Fallback folders, used in the same way the user packages folder is used.
RestoreAdditionalProjectSources Additional sources to use during restore.
RestoreAdditionalProjectFallbackFolders Additional fallback folders to use during restore.
RestoreAdditionalProjectFallbackFoldersExcludes Excludes fallback folders specified in RestoreAdditionalProjectFallbackFolders
RestoreTaskAssemblyFile Path to NuGet.Build.Tasks.dll.
RestoreGraphProjectInput Semicolon-delimited list of projects to restore, which should contain absolute paths.
RestoreUseSkipNonexistentTargets When the projects are collected via MSBuild it determines whether they are collected using the SkipNonexistentTargets optimization. When not set, defaults to true. The consequence is a fail-fast behavior when a project's targets cannot be imported.
MSBuildProjectExtensionsPath Output folder, defaulting to BaseIntermediateOutputPath and the obj folder.
RestoreForce In PackageReference based projects, forces all dependencies to be resolved even if the last restore was successful. Specifying this flag is similar to deleting the project.assets.json file. This does not bypass the http-cache.
RestorePackagesWithLockFile Opts into the usage of a lock file.
RestoreLockedMode Run restore in locked mode. This means that restore will not reevaluate the dependencies.
NuGetLockFilePath A custom location for the lock file. The default location is next to the project and is named packages.lock.json.
RestoreForceEvaluate Forces restore to recompute the dependencies and update the lock file without any warning.
RestorePackagesConfig An opt-in switch, that restores projects with packages.config. Support with MSBuild -t:restore only.
RestoreUseStaticGraphEvaluation An opt-in switch to use static graph MSBuild evaluation instead of the standard evaluation. Static graph evaluation is an experimental feature that's significantly faster for large repos and solutions.

Examples

Command line:

msbuild -t:restore -p:RestoreConfigFile=<path>

Project file:

<PropertyGroup>
    <RestoreIgnoreFailedSource>true</RestoreIgnoreFailedSource>
</PropertyGroup>

Restore outputs

Restore creates the following files in the build obj folder:

File Description
project.assets.json Contains the dependency graph of all package references.
{projectName}.projectFileExtension.nuget.g.props References to MSBuild props contained in packages
{projectName}.projectFileExtension.nuget.g.targets References to MSBuild targets contained in packages

Restoring and building with one MSBuild command

Due to the fact that NuGet can restore packages that bring down MSBuild targets and props, the restore and build evaluations are run with different global properties. This means that the following will have an unpredictable and often incorrect behavior.

msbuild -t:restore,build

Instead the recommended approach is:

msbuild -t:build -restore

The same logic applies to other targets similar to build.

Restoring PackageReference and packages.config projects with MSBuild

With MSBuild 16.5+, packages.config are also supported for msbuild -t:restore.

msbuild -t:restore -p:RestorePackagesConfig=true

Note

packages.config restore is only available with MSBuild 16.5+, and not with dotnet.exe

Restoring with MSBuild static graph evaluation

Note

With MSBuild 16.6+, NuGet has added an experimental feature to use static graph evaluation from the command line that significantly improves the restore time for large repositories.

msbuild -t:restore -p:RestoreUseStaticGraphEvaluation=true

Alternatively you can enable it by setting the property in a Directory.Build.Props.

<Project>
  <PropertyGroup>
    <RestoreUseStaticGraphEvaluation>true</RestoreUseStaticGraphEvaluation>
  </PropertyGroup>
</Project>

Note

As of Visual Studio 2019.x and NuGet 5.x, this feature is considered experimental and opt-in. Follow NuGet/Home#9803 for details on when this feature will be enabled by default.

Static graph restore changes the msbuild part of restore, the project reading and evaluation, but not the restore algorithm! The restore algorithm is the same across all NuGet tools (NuGet.exe, MSBuild.exe, dotnet.exe and Visual Studio).

In very few scenarios, static graph restore may behave differently from current restore and certain declared PackageReferences or ProjectReferences might be missing.

To ease your mind, as a one time check, when migrating to static graph restore, consider running:

msbuild.exe -t:restore -p:RestoreUseStaticGraphEvaluation
msbuild.exe -t:restore

NuGet should not report any changes. If you do see a discrepancy, please file an issue at NuGet/Home.

Replacing one library from a restore graph

If a restore is bringing the wrong assembly, it's possible to exclude that packages default choice, and replace it with your own choice. First with a top level PackageReference, exclude all assets:

<PackageReference Include="Newtonsoft.Json" Version="9.0.1">
  <ExcludeAssets>All</ExcludeAssets>
</PackageReference>

Next, add your own reference to the appropriate local copy of the DLL:

<Reference Include="Newtonsoft.Json.dll" />