One problem with cookiecutter templates is that projects based on older versions of the template become obsolete when only the template is adapted to changing requirements over time. cruft tries to simplify the transfer of changes in the Cookiecutter-Templates’s Git repository to projects derived from it.

The main features of cruft are:

  • With cruft check you can quickly check if a project uses the latest version of a template. This check can also be easily integrated into CI pipelines to ensure that your projects are in sync.

  • cruft also automates the update of projects from cookiecutter templates.


$ python3.8 -m pip install cruft

Create a new project#

To create a new project with cruft, you can run cruft create PROJECT_URL on the command line, for example:

$ cruft create
full_name [Veit Schiele]:

cruft uses Cookiecutter for this and the only difference in the resulting output is a .cruft.json file that contains the git hash of the template used as well as the specified parameters.


Certain files are rarely suitable for updating, for example test cases or __init__ files. You can tell cruft to always skip updating these files in a project by creating the project with the arguments --skip vsc/ --skip tests or manually adding them to a skip section in your .cruft.json file:

  "template": "",
  "commit": "521d4b2aa603aec186cd7e542295edb458ba4552",
  "skip": [
  "checkout": null,
  "context": {
    "cookiecutter": {
      "full_name": "Veit Schiele",
  "directory": null

Updating a project#

To update an existing project that was created with cruft, you can run cruft update in the root directory of the project. If there are updates, cruft will first ask you to review them. If you accept the changes, cruft will apply them to your project and update the .cruft.json file.

Checking a project#

To see if a project has missed a template update, you can easily call cruft check. If the project is out of date, an error and exit code 1 will be returned. cruft check can also be added to pre-commit framework and CI pipelines to ensure projects don’t become unintentionally stale.

Linking an existing project#

If you have an existing project that you created in the past with Cookiecutter directly from a template, you can cruft link TEMPLATE_REPOSITORY to link it to the template it was created with, for example:

$ cruft link

You can then specify the last commit of the template that updated the project, or accept the default to use the last commit.

Show diff#

Over time, your project may differ greatly from the actual cookiecutter template. cruft diff allows you to quickly see what has changed in your local project compared to the template.