Grab a Cookiecutter template

First, clone a Cookiecutter project template:

$ git clone

Make your changes

Modify the variables defined in cookiecutter.json.

Open up the skeleton project. If you need to change it around a bit, do so.

You probably also want to create a repo, name it differently, and push it as your own new Cookiecutter project template, for handy future use.

Generate your project

Then generate your project from the project template:

$ cookiecutter cookiecutter-pypackage/

The only argument is the input directory. (The output directory is generated by rendering that, and it can’t be the same as the input directory.)


see Command Line Options for extra command line arguments

Try it out!

Works directly with git and hg (mercurial) repos too

To create a project from the cookiecutter-pypackage.git repo template:

$ cookiecutter gh:audreyr/cookiecutter-pypackage

Cookiecutter knows abbreviations for Github (gh), Bitbucket (bb), and GitLab (gl) projects, but you can also give it the full URL to any repository:

$ cookiecutter
$ cookiecutter git+ssh://
$ cookiecutter hg+ssh://

You will be prompted to enter a bunch of project config values. (These are defined in the project’s cookiecutter.json.)

Then, Cookiecutter will generate a project from the template, using the values that you entered. It will be placed in your current directory.

And if you want to specify a branch you can do that with:

$ cookiecutter --checkout develop

Works with private repos

If you want to work with repos that are not hosted in github or bitbucket you can indicate explicitly the type of repo that you want to use prepending hg+ or git+ to repo url:

$ cookiecutter hg+

Works with Zip files

You can also distribute cookiecutter templates as Zip files. To use a Zip file template, point cookiecutter at a Zip file on your local machine:

$ cookiecutter /path/to/

Or, if the Zip file is online:

$ cookiecutter

If the template has already been downloaded, or a template with the same name has already been downloaded, you will be prompted to delete the existing template before proceeding.

The Zip file contents should be the same as a git/hg repository for a template - that is, the zipfile should unpack into a top level directory that contains the name of the template. The name of the zipfile doesn’t have to match the name of the template - for example, you can label a zipfile with a version number, but omit the version number from the directory inside the Zip file.

If you want to see an example Zipfile, find any Cookiecutter repository on Github and download that repository as a zip file - Github repository downloads are in a valid format for Cookiecutter.

Password-protected Zip files

If your repository Zip file is password protected, Cookiecutter will prompt you for that password whenever the template is used.

Alternatively, if you want to use a password-protected Zip file in an automated environment, you can export the COOKIECUTTER_REPO_PASSWORD environment variable; the value of that environment variable will be used whenever a password is required.

Keeping your cookiecutters organized

As of the Cookiecutter 0.7.0 release:

  • Whenever you generate a project with a cookiecutter, the resulting project is output to your current directory.
  • Your cloned cookiecutters are stored by default in your ~/.cookiecutters/ directory (or Windows equivalent). The location is configurable: see User Config (0.7.0+) for details.

Pre-0.7.0, this is how it worked:

  • Whenever you generate a project with a cookiecutter, the resulting project is output to your current directory.
  • Cloned cookiecutters were not saved locally.