How to Use NuGet Packages: The Ultimate Guide

Introduction to NuGet

NuGet is a package manager that delivers compiled source code (DLLs) and other files (scripts and images) related to code. A NuGet package takes the form of a zip file with the extension .nupkg. This makes adding, updating, and removing libraries easy in Visual Studio applications. Using NuGet to install and update packages reduces the manual work of configuring third-party libraries in an application by installing a setup or extracting a zip file and adding the required assemblies to references and files.

Configure the NuGet feed

 What is the feed link?

The feed link is a URL that is the location of the NuGet package published in the localhost or local directory. You can get a package only through a feed link from the host.

How to configure the feed

By default, Visual Studio is configured with the public NuGet feed link.

To configure the private feed link or a local path in Visual Studio, follow these steps:

  1. In Visual Studio, go to Tools > Options and then select Package Sources under the NuGet Package Manager.
  2. Choose the Add icon (+), edit the Name, and then provide the feed link or local path in the Source Click Update after updating the feed link.

    Updating the Feed Link.
    Updating the Feed Link.

NuGet Package Manager

The NuGet Package Manager in Visual Studio on Windows allows you to easily install, uninstall, and update NuGet packages in projects and solutions.

Install a third-party NuGet package

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click either Solution, a project, or the References in a project, and then select Manage NuGet Packages.

    Managing NuGet Packages in a Project.
    Managing NuGet Packages in a Project.
  2. The Browse tab displays packages by popularity from the currently selected source. Search for a specific package using the search box at the top-left corner. Select a package from the list to display its information, which also makes the Install button available along with a drop-down for selecting a package version.

    Selecting a Package and Its Version.
    Selecting a Package and Its Version.
  3. Select the desired version from the drop-down, and then click Install. Now, Visual Studio installs the package and its dependencies into the project. You may be asked to accept license terms and shown the list of NuGet packages, including dependencies, in a Preview Changes When installation is completed, the added packages appear in the Installed tab. Packages are also listed in the References either as assemblies or package references, indicating that you can refer to them in the project using statements.

Install beta NuGet packages

By default, prerelease-versioned packages are not available when searching NuGet. Only stable versions are available. If you want to include prerelease versions in your search, select the Include prerelease option next to the search box.

Searching Including Prerelease Versions.
Searching Including Prerelease Versions.

Install NuGet packages without dependencies

By default, when installing NuGet packages, corresponding package dependencies will also be installed in your project. To avoid the installation of dependent packages, choose the Ignore Dependencies option in the Dependency behavior drop-down in NuGet Package Manager.

Installing NuGet Packages Without Dependencies.
Installing NuGet Packages Without Dependencies.

Uninstall a NuGet package

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click either the Solution, the desired project, or the References in the project, and then select Manage NuGet Packages.
  2. Select the Installed
  3. Select the package to uninstall (use search to filter the list if necessary), and then select Uninstall.

    Uninstalling a NuGet Package.
    Uninstalling a NuGet Package.

Remove dependencies when uninstalling NuGet packages

To uninstall the dependency packages of a selected NuGet package, choose the Remove Dependencies option from the NuGet Package Manager.

Removing Associated Dependencies when Uninstalling a NuGet Package.
Removing Associated Dependencies when Uninstalling a NuGet Package.

Update NuGet packages

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click either the Solution, the desired project, or the References of the project, and then select Manage NuGet Packages.
  2. Select the Updates tab to see the packages that have updates available from the selected package sources. Select the Include prerelease check box if you want to include prerelease package versions.
  3. You have two options here: If you want to update all the updates that are available, select the Select all packages check box, and then click the Update If you want to update a specific package, select the package and desired version from the drop-down on the right, and then click the Update button.

    Updating All Packages.
    Updating All Packages.

Restore NuGet packages

Package Restore installs the direct dependencies of a project as needed and then installs any dependencies of these packages throughout the entire dependency graph. When the project is opened or compiled, all the added NuGet packages will be restored. Follow these steps to use this feature:

  1. Navigate to Tools > Options > NuGet Package Manager > General, and then select the Allow NuGet to download missing packages check box under Package Restore.

    Enabling Restore NuGet Packages.
    Enabling Restore NuGet Packages.
  2. In Solution Explorer, right-click the solution, and then select Restore NuGet Packages.

    Selecting Restore NuGet Packages.
    Selecting Restore NuGet Packages.

Clear NuGet packages

Clear NuGet packages is an action that removes already installed NuGet caches from the cache location. Usually the NuGet packages are installed from the cache location if one exists, otherwise it will be downloaded from the corresponding feed in the cache location.

Why do we need to clear NuGet?

If you encounter package installation problems or if you want to ensure that you’re installing packages that have been configured locally (your own packages), clear the NuGet cache in the cache location to resolve the issues.

How to clear NuGet

You can clear NuGet by following one of these ways:

  1. Manually remove the NuGet cache from this location: (%userprofile%\.nuget\packages).
  2. Clear the cache automatically through Visual Studio by choosing the following option: Go to Tools > NuGet Package Manager > General, and then click Clear All NuGet Cache(s).

    Clearing All NuGet Caches Automatically.
    Clearing All NuGet Caches Automatically.

Package Manager Console

The NuGet Package Manager Console uses NuGet PowerShell commands to find, install, uninstall, restore, and update NuGet packages. The console is built into Visual Studio on Windows.

  1. Open your project or solution in Visual Studio, and then open the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio by navigating to Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Console.
  2. By default, console commands operate against a specific package source and project as set in the control at the top of the window. To manage package sources, select the gear icon. This is a shortcut to Tools > Options > NuGet Package Manager > Package Sources.

    Setting up the Package Manager Console.
    Setting up the Package Manager Console.

Install a NuGet package

Install a package using the console by entering the following command:

Install-Package <Package Name> -Version <version>

Example:

PM> Install-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -Version 17.3.0.14

Install a beta NuGet package

If you want to install a beta (prerelease) NuGet package using the console, include -IncludePrerelease in the command:

Install-Package <Package Name> -Version <version> IncludePrerelease

Example:

PM> Install-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -Version 17.2.0.28-beta -IncludePrerelease

Install a NuGet package without dependencies

If you want to install a package without dependencies using the console, use -IgnoreDependencies in the command:

Install-Package <Package Name> -Version <version> IgnoreDependencies

Example:

PM> Install-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -Version 17.2.0.28-beta -IgnoreDependencies

Uninstall a NuGet package

To uninstall a package from the project through the console, use the following command:

Uninstall-Package <Package Name>

Example:

PM> Uninstall-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF

Remove dependencies when uninstalling a NuGet package

To remove the dependencies of a selected package when uninstalling it through the console, use -RemoveDependencies in the uninstall command.

Uninstall-Package <Package Name> -Version <Version> -RemoveDependencies

Example:

PM> Uninstall-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -RemoveDependencies

Update NuGet packages

The Update-Package command is used to upgrade or downgrade an existing package in your project.

Update-Package [Package Name] <string> [-Version] <string> [-IgnoreDependencies]

Example:

PM> Update-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -Version 17.2.0.40 -ignoreDependencies

Update beta NuGet packages

To update prerelease (beta) packages, use the following command:

Update-Package [Package Name] <string> [-Version] <string> [-IgnoreDependencies] [-IncludePrerelease]

Example:

PM> Update-Package Syncfusion.SfChart.WPF -Version 17.2.0.40 -ignoreDependencies -IncludePrerelease

NuGet CLI

The NuGet CLI tool allows you to easily update and restore NuGet packages in projects and solutions. To execute NuGet CLI commands, you must have the nuget.exe file. You can download it from nuget.org.

The NuGet CLI requires a packages.config file for package references. This should be placed in the project location.

Open the command prompt, and then navigate to the directory that contains the project file to execute the NuGet CLI commands.

Install a package

The install command downloads and installs the package into the project from specified package sources. When installing the package, it is placed in the project’s root directory by default.

Use the following command to install a NuGet package in the packages folder:

nuget install <Package Name> -OutputDirectory <OutputPath>

Example

nuget install Syncfusion.Data.WPF -OutputDirectory D:\Sample

Install a package with a specific version

NuGet installs the latest version of a package when using the install command unless you specify the package version. Specify the version in the install command to install a specific version of the package.

nuget install <Package Name> -Version <Version>

Example

nuget install Syncfusion.Tools.windows -Version 17.2.0.40

Uninstall a NuGet package

The uninstall-package command removes a NuGet package from the project.

uninstall-package <Package Name>

Example

uninstall-package Syncfusion.Data.WPF

Uninstall dependent NuGet packages

When uninstalling a NuGet package that depends on other packages, use the -Force command.

uninstall-package <Package Name> -Force

Example

uninstall-package Syncfusion.Data.WPF -Force

Nuget Restore

To restore the solution with the help of the NuGet CLI, use the restore command. It will restore all the packages available in the package.config.

nuget restore <SolutionFile>

Example:

nuget restore D:\NuGet\NuGetDemo.sln

Restore only adds packages to the disk; it does not change a project’s dependencies. To restore a project’s dependencies, modify packages.config and then use the restore command.

dotnet CLI

The dotnet CLI allows you to easily install, uninstall, and update NuGet packages in projects and solutions. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Open a command prompt, and then navigate to the directory that contains the project file. Use the following dotnet CLI commands to perform the respective operations:

Install a package

Use the add package command to add a package into the project references:

dotnet add package <Package Name>

Example

dotnet add package Syncfusion.SfGrid.WPF

Install a specific version of a package

If a version is not specified, NuGet installs the latest version of the package. You can also use the dotnet add package command to install a specific version of a NuGet package:

dotnet add package <Package Name> <Version>

Example

dotnet add package Syncfusion.SfGrid.WPF 17.2.0.40

Remove a package

The remove package command removes a package reference from a project file:

dotnet remove package <Package Name>

Example

dotnet remove package Syncfusion.SfGrid.WPF

Restore a package

To restore a package, use the dotnet restore command. It restores the project references from the current directory:

dotnet restore [Project|Solution]

Example

dotnet restore D:\NuGetDemo\NuGetDemo.csproj

Conclusion

I hope this blog enriched your knowledge about managing NuGet packages in .NET projects. Try out these different approaches and let us know how they worked out for you in the comments section below.

Syncfusion also makes its components available as NuGet packages on NuGet.org. You can use them when using any Syncfusion components in your projects. Syncfusion has about 1000 components in various platforms such as

If you encounter any issues when using them, please feel free to reach out to us through our support forumDirect-Trac, or feedback portal. We are happy to assist you!

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