Skip to main content

dfx generate

Use the dfx generate command to generate canister type declarations for supported programming languages. Currently, dfx generate supports four languages: Motoko, Candid, JavaScript, and TypeScript.

You can use this command to generate type declarations for all canisters that are defined for a project in the project’s dfx.json configuration file or a specific canister.

Note that you can only run this command from within the project directory structure. For example, if your project name is hello_world, your current working directory must be the hello_world top-level project directory or one of its subdirectories.

The dfx generate command looks for the configuration under the declarations section of a canister in the dfx.json configuration file.

Basic usage

dfx generate [canister_name]


You can specify the following arguments for the dfx generate command.

canister_nameSpecifies the name of the canister for which to generate type declarations. The canister name must match at least one name that you have configured in the canisters section of the dfx.json configuration file for your project. If you don’t specify this argument, dfx generate will generate type declarations for all canisters declared in dfx.json.


The behavior of dfx generate is controlled by the dfx.json configuration file. Under dfx.jsoncanisters<canister_name>, you can add a declarations section. In this section, you can specify the following fields:

outputDirectory to place declarations for the canister. Default is src/declarations/<canister_name>.
bindingsList of languages to generate type declarations. Options are "js", "ts", "did", "mo". Default is ["js", "ts", "did"].
env_overrideString that will replace process.env.{canister_name_uppercase}_CANISTER_ID in the src/dfx/assets/language_bindings/canister.js template.

Outputs from dfx generate:

JavaScript(js)index.js and <canister_name>.did.js
TypeScript(ts)index.d.ts and <canister_name>.did.ts


This is a sample output of dfx generate.

Note that the file name and path to the programs on your file system must match the information specified in the dfx.json configuration file.

In this example, the hello_world canister itself is written in Motoko. The declarations section specifies that type declarations for all four languages will be generated and stored at src/declarations/.

dfx generate hello_world

Since there is only one canister in dfx.json, calling dfx generate without an argument will have the same effect as the above command. If there were multiple canisters defined in dfx.json, this would generate type declarations for all defined canisters.

dfx generate