Using plugins 

Please read the earlier pages in the Getting Started Guide first, in particular you need to understand build.sbt, task graph, library dependencies, before reading this page.

What is a plugin? 

A plugin extends the build definition, most commonly by adding new settings. The new settings could be new tasks. For example, a plugin could add a codeCoverage task which would generate a test coverage report.

Declaring a plugin 

If your project is in directory hello, and you’re adding sbt-site plugin to the build definition, create hello/project/site.sbt and declare the plugin dependency by passing the plugin’s Ivy module ID to addSbtPlugin:

addSbtPlugin("com.typesafe.sbt" % "sbt-site" % "0.7.0")

If you’re adding sbt-assembly, create hello/project/assembly.sbt with the following:

addSbtPlugin("com.eed3si9n" % "sbt-assembly" % "0.11.2")

Not every plugin is located on one of the default repositories and a plugin’s documentation may instruct you to also add the repository where it can be found:

resolvers += Resolver.sonatypeRepo("public")

Plugins usually provide settings that get added to a project to enable the plugin’s functionality. This is described in the next section.

Enabling and disabling auto plugins 

A plugin can declare that its settings be automatically added to the build definition, in which case you don’t have to do anything to add them.

As of sbt 0.13.5, there is a new auto plugins feature that enables plugins to automatically, and safely, ensure their settings and dependencies are on a project. Many auto plugins should have their default settings automatically, however some may require explicit enablement.

If you’re using an auto plugin that requires explicit enablement, then you have to add the following to your build.sbt:

lazy val util = (project in file("util")).
  enablePlugins(FooPlugin, BarPlugin).
    name := "hello-util"

The enablePlugins method allows projects to explicitly define the auto plugins they wish to consume.

Projects can also exclude plugins using the disablePlugins method. For example, if we wish to remove the IvyPlugin settings from util, we modify our build.sbt as follows:

lazy val util = (project in file("util")).
  enablePlugins(FooPlugin, BarPlugin).
    name := "hello-util"

Auto plugins should document whether they need to be explicitly enabled. If you’re curious which auto plugins are enabled for a given project, just run the plugins command on the sbt console.

For example:

> plugins
In file:/home/jsuereth/projects/sbt/test-ivy-issues/
        sbt.plugins.IvyPlugin: enabled in scala-sbt-org
        sbt.plugins.JvmPlugin: enabled in scala-sbt-org
        sbt.plugins.CorePlugin: enabled in scala-sbt-org
        sbt.plugins.JUnitXmlReportPlugin: enabled in scala-sbt-org

Here, the plugins output is showing that the sbt default plugins are all enabled. sbt’s default settings are provided via three plugins:

  1. CorePlugin: Provides the core parallelism controls for tasks.
  2. IvyPlugin: Provides the mechanisms to publish/resolve modules.
  3. JvmPlugin: Provides the mechanisms to compile/test/run/package Java/Scala projects.

In addition, JUnitXmlReportPlugin provides an experimental support for generating junit-xml.

Older non-auto plugins often require settings to be added explicitly, so that multi-project build could have different types of projects. The plugin documentation will indicate how to configure it, but typically for older plugins this involves adding the base settings for the plugin and customizing as necessary.

For example, for the sbt-site plugin, create site.sbt with the following content


to enable it for that project.

If the build defines multiple projects, instead add it directly to the project:

// don't use the site plugin for the `util` project
lazy val util = (project in file("util"))

// enable the site plugin for the `core` project
lazy val core = (project in file("core")).
  settings(site.settings : _*)

Global plugins 

Plugins can be installed for all your projects at once by declaring them in ~/.sbt/0.13/plugins/. ~/.sbt/0.13/plugins/ is an sbt project whose classpath is exported to all sbt build definition projects. Roughly speaking, any .sbt or .scala files in ~/.sbt/0.13/plugins/ behave as if they were in the project/ directory for all projects.

You can create ~/.sbt/0.13/plugins//build.sbt and put addSbtPlugin() expressions in there to add plugins to all your projects at once. Because doing so would increase the dependency on the machine environment, this feature should be used sparingly. See Best Practices.

Available Plugins 

There’s a list of available plugins.

Some especially popular plugins are:

For more details, including ways of developing plugins, see Plugins. For best practices, see Plugins-Best-Practices.


sbt Reference Manual
    1. Using plugins