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Style Dictionary

Style once, use everywhere.

A Style Dictionary uses design tokens to define styles once and use those styles on any platform or language. It provides a single place to create and edit your styles, and exports these tokens to all the places you need - iOS, Android, CSS, JS, HTML, sketch files, style documentation, etc. It is available as a CLI through npm, but can also be used like any normal node module if you want to extend its functionality.

When you are managing user experiences, it can be quite challenging to keep styles consistent and synchronized across multiple development platforms and devices. At the same time, designers, developers, PMs and others must be able to have consistent and up-to-date style documentation to enable effective work and communication. Even then, mistakes inevitably happen and the design may not be implemented accurately. Style Dictionary solves this by automatically generating style definitions across all platforms from a single source - removing roadblocks, errors, and inefficiencies across your workflow.

For detailed usage head to

Watch the Demo on YouTube

Watch the video

Experiment in the playground

Try the browser-based Style Dictionary playground:, built by the folks at <div>RIOTS.



Note that you must have node (and npm) installed.

If you want to use the CLI, you can install it globally via npm:

$ npm install -g style-dictionary

Or you can install it like a normal npm dependency. This is a build tool and you are most likely going to want to save it as a dev dependency:

$ npm install -D style-dictionary

If you want to install it with yarn:

$ yarn add style-dictionary --dev



$ style-dictionary build

Call this in the root directory of your project. The only thing needed is a config.json file. There are also arguments:

Flag Short Flag Description
--config [path] -c Set the config file to use. Must be a .json file
--platform [platform] -p Only build a specific platform defined in the config file.
--help -h Display help content
--version -v Display the version


You can also use the style dictionary build system in node if you want to extend the functionality or use it in another build system like Grunt or Gulp.

const StyleDictionary = require('style-dictionary').extend('config.json');


The .extend() method is an overloaded method that can also take an object with the configuration in the same format as a config.json file.

const StyleDictionary = require('style-dictionary').extend({
  source: ['tokens/**/*.json'],
  platforms: {
    scss: {
      transformGroup: 'scss',
      buildPath: 'build/',
      files: [{
        destination: 'variables.scss',
        format: 'scss/variables'
    // ...



Take a look at some of our examples

A style dictionary is a collection of design tokens, key/value pairs that describe stylistic attributes like colors, sizes, icons, motion, etc. A style dictionary defines these design tokens in JSON or Javascript files, and can also include static assets like images and fonts. Here is a basic example of what the package structure can look like:

├── config.json
├── tokens/
│   ├── size/
│       ├── font.json
│   ├── color/
│       ├── font.json
│   ...
├── assets/
│   ├── fonts/
│   ├── images/


This tells the style dictionary build system how and what to build. The default file path is config.json or config.js in the root of the project, but you can name it whatever you want by passing in the --config flag to the CLI.

  "source": ["tokens/**/*.json"],
  "platforms": {
    "scss": {
      "transformGroup": "scss",
      "buildPath": "build/",
      "files": [{
        "destination": "scss/_variables.scss",
        "format": "scss/variables"
    "android": {
      "transformGroup": "android",
      "buildPath": "build/android/",
      "files": [{
        "destination": "font_dimens.xml",
        "format": "android/fontDimens"
Attribute Type Description
source Array An array of file path globs to design token files. Style Dictionary will do a deep merge of all of the token files, allowing you to organize your files files however you want.
include Array An array of file path globs to design token files that contain default styles. The Style Dictionary uses this as a base collection of tokens. The tokens found using the "source" attribute will overwrite tokens found using include.
platforms Object Sets of platform files to be built.
platform.transformGroup String (optional) Apply a group of transforms to the tokens, must either define this or transforms.
platform.transforms Array (optional) Transforms to apply sequentially to all tokens. Can be a built-in one or you can create your own.
platform.buildPath String (optional) Base path to build the files, must end with a trailing slash.
platform.files Array (optional) Files to be generated for this platform.
platform.file.destination String (optional) Location to build the file, will be appended to the buildPath.
platform.file.format String (optional) Format used to generate the file. Can be a built-in one or you can create your own. More on formats
platform.file.options Object (optional) A set of extra options associated with the file.
platform.file.options.showFileHeader Boolean If the generated file should have a "Do not edit + Timestamp" header (where the format supports it). By default is "true".

Design Tokens

  "size": {
    "font": {
      "small" : { "value": "10px" },
      "medium": { "value": "16px" },
      "large" : { "value": "24px" },
      "base"  : { "value": "{size.font.medium.value}" }

Here we are creating some basic font size design tokens. The style definition size.font.small.value is "10px" for example. The style definition size.font.base.value is automatically aliased to the value found in size.font.medium.value and both of those resolve to "16px".

Now what the style dictionary build system will do with this information is convert it to different formats, enabling these values to be used in any type of codebase. From this one file you can generate any number of files like:

$size-font-small: 10px;
$size-font-medium: 16px;
$size-font-large: 24px;
$size-font-base: 16px;
<dimen name="font-small">10sp</dimen>
<dimen name="font-medium">16sp</dimen>
<dimen name="font-large">24sp</dimen>
<dimen name="font-base">16sp</dimen>
float const SizeFontSmall = 10.00f;
float const SizeFontMedium = 16.00f;
float const SizeFontLarge = 24.00f;
float const SizeFontBase = 16.00f;

Quick Start

The style dictionary framework comes with some example code to get you started. Install the node module globally, create a directory and cd into it.

$ npm i -g style-dictionary
$ mkdir MyStyleDictionary
$ cd MyStyleDictionary

Now run:

$ style-dictionary init basic

This command will copy over the example files found in example in this repo. Now you have an example project set up. You can make changes to the style dictionary and rebuild the project by running:

$ style-dictionary build

Take a look at the documentation for the example code.

Design Tokens

A design token is an attribute to describe something visually. It is atomic (it cannot be broken down further). Design tokens have a name, a value, and optional attributes or metadata. The name of a token can be anything, but we have a proposed naming structure that we find works really well in the next section.

Category/Type/Item Structure

While not exactly necessary, we feel this classification structure of design tokens makes the most sense semantically. Design tokens can be organized into a hierarchical tree structure with the top level, category, defining the primitive nature of the token. For example, we have the color category and every token underneath is always a color. As you proceed down the tree to type, item, sub-item, and state, you get more specific about what that color is. Is it a background color, a text color, or a border color? What kind of text color is it? You get the point. Now you can structure your token json files like simple objects:

  "size": {
    "font": {
      "base":  { "value": "16" },
      "large": { "value": "20" }

The CTI is implicit in the structure, the category and type is 'size' and 'font', and there are 2 tokens 'base' and 'large'.

Structuring design tokens in this manner gives us consistent naming and accessing of these tokens. You don't need to remember if it is button_color_error or error_button_color, it is color_background_button_error!

You can organize and name your design tokens however you want, there are no restrictions. But we have a good amount of helpers if you do use this structure, like the 'attribute/cti' transform which adds attributes to the token of its CTI based on the path in the object. There are a lot of name transforms as well for when you want a flat structure like for Sass variables.

Also, the CTI structure provides a good mechanism to target transforms for specific kinds of tokens. All of the transforms provided by the framework use the CTI of a token to know if it should be applied. For instance, the 'color/hex' transform only applies to tokens of the category 'color'.

You can also add a comment to a design token:

  "size": {
    "font": {
      "base":  {
        "value": "16",
        "comment": "the base size of the font"
      "large": {
        "value": "20",
        "comment": "the large size of the font"

The comment will appear in the output files, where relevant or the output format supports comments.


The style dictionary build system is made to be extended. We don't know exactly how everyone will want to use style dictionaries in their project, which is why you can create custom transforms and formats.

const StyleDictionary = require('style-dictionary').extend('config.json');

  name: 'time/seconds',
  type: 'value',
  matcher: function(token) {
    return token.attributes.category === 'time';
  transformer: function(token) {
    return (parseInt(token.original.value) / 1000).toString() + 's';


For more information on creating your own transforms and formats, take a look at our docs.

Version 4

In May 2021, we started an issue / RFC, "What would you like to see in Style-Dictionary 4.0?" to gather feedback on what the community would like to see. Fortunately, in August 2023, the folks at Tokens Studio contacted us about co-maintaining this project, and leading the v4 release (and beyond)!

We have started working on the biggest and most important changes, like migrating to ESM, making the library browser-compatible out of the box, and supporting asynchronicity in Style-Dictionary's various APIs. There will be multiple prereleases to battle-test these changes before a final v4.0 is released.

You can follow this roadmap board to keep an eye on the developments for v4.0, we will also keep adding to this board when we encounter changes we'd like to see in v4.0 that would entail a breaking change. Absence of something in this roadmap does not mean we don't see value in it, but rather that it could also be added in a (non-breaking) minor release within v4.x.x.

From the folks at Tokens Studio

Hi everyone! I'm Joren from Tokens Studio, a big fan of this project (see Style-Dictionary-Play, Token Configurator, sd-transforms) and the main pusher behind leading a 4.0 release of this project, I think it would be good to explain from our perspective why we've made the move to collaborate with Amazon on this.

At Tokens Studio, we're a huge fan of Design Tokens and the workflows they enable. We believe exporting design tokens to various platforms is a key ingredient in ensuring that the journey from design to implementation code is smooth. In our minds, Style-Dictionary has been the most popular and most flexible library for reaching that goal, and so we want to build on top of that. Rather than starting our own spinoff tool, we much prefer bringing Style-Dictionary further, together with its vibrant community of contributors, which is why we reached out to Danny Banks.

I think it's important to stress that it is our shared vision to keep Style-Dictionary as an agnostic (so not "Tokens Studio"-specific) and flexible tool. As Tokens Studio, while we are highly incentivized to see this project progress further to strengthen our product journey, we value the open source community highly and want to make sure this library remains the go-to tool for exporting Design Tokens, whether you use Tokens Studio or not.

We are very open to feedback and collaboration, feel free to reach out to us in our Slack -> style-dictionary-v4 channel!


The mascot for Style Dictionary is "Pascal" the chameleon (seen below). You can also find them blending in as the logo throughout the documentation.

Style Dictionary logo and mascot


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