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Getting started

A terminal with the output of create-keystone-app

create-keystone-app is a CLI app that makes it easier for you to initiate a Keystone project. It generates some files for you and installs all the dependencies you need to run the Admin UI and start using the GraphQL API.

Quick Start

yarn create keystone-app
cd my-app
yarn dev

Installing a Keystone instance

Open your preferred shell and make sure you’re in the folder you want to create your new project in. create-keystone-app will generate a new folder with your new Keystone files in it.


Use yarn create:

cd your/path/
yarn create keystone-app


Use npm init:

cd your/path/
npm init keystone-app@latest

npm init "<initializer>" is available in npm 6+


Use npm's npx:

cd your/path/
npx create-keystone-app@latest

npx comes with npm 5.2+

Naming your app

The CLI will ask you to name your app. Once named, it will create a new SQLite database.

You can switch to another database such as PostgreSQL once your project is created, check out the docs on Database Setup.

Opening your shiny new Admin UI

You can now cd into the folder that was created for you and start Keystone:

cd my-app
yarn dev

This will generate the Admin UI pages via Next.js on http://localhost:3000. When you visit the Admin UI for the first time you will be presented with a handy screen that asks you to create a user:

The welcome screen giving you the ability the create a new user to log into the Admin UI

Go ahead and create your first user. The email address and password will be used to login to Keystone’s Admin UI. Once you've created your user, you’ll be logged in to a new Keystone Admin UI that comes with two lists. From here you can explore and interact with the data in your system, and understand how Keystone’s schema relates to your GraphQL API which you can explore at http://localhost:3000/api/graphql.

The Admin UI of Keystone showing the two lists: User and Posts


Keytone creates the following files in your newly generated folder. The most important ones are keystone.ts and schema.ts.

├── auth.ts # Authentication configuration for Keystone
├── keystone.ts # The main entry file for configuring Keystone
├── node_modules # Your dependencies
├── package.json # Your package.json with four scripts prepared for you
├── # Additional info to help you get started
├── schema.graphql # GraphQL schema (automatically generated by Keystone)
├── schema.prisma # Prisma configuration (automatically generated by Keystone)
├── schema.ts # Where you design your data schema
├── tsconfig.json # Your typescript config
└── yarn.lock # Your yarn lock file


package.json includes the following npm scripts you can run locally:

  • dev runs Keystone in development mode at http://localhost:3000.
  • start runs Keystone in production mode.
  • build will build the project and is required to be run before start.
  • postinstall ensures files that Keystone generates exist and are kept up to date.

Read more about the CLI in our command line guides.

Where to next?