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What's new in Style Dictionary 3.0!

Style Dictionary logo and mascot

npm version license PRs welcome GitHub Workflow Status downloads

This is a fork of style-dictionary, because it patches style-dictionary to work in the browser. See Browser section for more info.

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

If you want to install patch that can be used in the browser (see Browser section for more info):

$ npm install browser-style-dictionary



$ 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'
    // ...



This fork of style-dictionary is made to work in the browser. There's essentially three things for that to be possible

Done already

  • Patch style-dictionary to exclude things that only work in Node (e.g. process.on('exit')), calls to fs-extra etc.

  • Prepublish step to replace calls to fs.readFileSync(__dirname + '/templates/...') with the inlined content of those template files

You can import the browser entrypoint:

import StyleDictionary from 'browser-style-dictionary/browser.js';

or if you want a prebundled ESM version of the format helpers:

import StyleDictionary from 'browser-style-dictionary/format-helpers.esm.js';

Do yourself

  • Run Browserify or your own bundler of choice (e.g. Rollup) to make this runnable in the browser. It is needed to replace Node exclusives with browser-compatible alternatives, like fs, path, process, etc.

You will also need to transform CommonJS to ES Modules format.

There's an example for Rollup in the playground repository.

If you're looking for a browserify utility to do the same thing, checkout the playground's old browserify branch. However, we recommend reusing the bundler you bundle the rest of your application with, rather than creating multiple separate bundles.

For supporting JSON5, add this to your app:

<script src="^2.0.0/dist/index.min.js"></script>

Note: your file-system shim needs to support synchronous calls, we recommend memfs. Using glob is possible too. Make sure to pass the virtual FS to glob calls e.g. glob('**/*', { fs: virtualFS }).


For reference, checkout the playground repository, it shows how you can run style-dictionary in the browser by doing those 2 final steps.

Look into the playground for a full example, but in short:

// patched style-dictionary, we assume your bundler transforms to ESM, meaning you can import like ESM
import StyleDictionary from "browser-style-dictionary/browser.js";
import path from "path";
let myStyleDictionary;
const configPath = path.resolve("sd.config.json");

function runStyleDictionary() {
  console.log("Running style-dictionary...");
  myStyleDictionary = StyleDictionary.extend(configPath);

Excluded features for browser

  • actions, because we don't support uploading & copying assets in the browser version for now. Needs browser-adaptation
  • registering custom templates with Node API, no browser alternative way for now, all templates are inlined. At some point we can ditch this bundler plugin to replace readFileSync calls to templates, and use the browser fs shim instead.
  • cleanPlatform / cleanAllPlatforms, we expect you to have your own cleanup for output dirs from platforms for now, see playground/index.js --> cleanPlatformOutputDirs function for an example. We can look into re-enabling these utils though, but needs patching..
  • json5 support, removed it for now until we find a way to use it in browser


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 stared. 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(prop) {
    return prop.attributes.category === 'time';
  transformer: function(prop) {
    return (parseInt(prop.original.value) / 1000).toString() + 's';


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


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


Please help make this framework better. For more information take a look at


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