Kotlin Help

Kotlin command-line compiler

Every Kotlin release ships with a standalone version of the compiler. You can download the latest version manually or via a package manager.

Install the compiler

Manual install

To install the Kotlin compiler manually:

  1. Download the latest version (kotlin-compiler-1.9.24.zip) from GitHub Releases.

  2. Unzip the standalone compiler into a directory and optionally add the bin directory to the system path. The bin directory contains the scripts needed to compile and run Kotlin on Windows, macOS, and Linux.


An easier way to install Kotlin on UNIX-based systems, such as macOS, Linux, Cygwin, FreeBSD, and Solaris, is SDKMAN!. It also works in Bash and ZSH shells. Learn how to install SDKMAN!.

To install the Kotlin compiler via SDKMAN!, run the following command in the terminal:

sdk install kotlin


Alternatively, on macOS you can install the compiler via Homebrew:

brew update brew install kotlin

Snap package

If you use Snap on Ubuntu 16.04 or later, you can install the compiler from the command line:

sudo snap install --classic kotlin

Create and run an application

  1. Create a simple application in Kotlin that displays "Hello, World!". In your favorite editor, create a new file called hello.kt with the following lines:

    fun main() { println("Hello, World!") }
  2. Compile the application using the Kotlin compiler:

    kotlinc hello.kt -include-runtime -d hello.jar

    The -d option indicates the output path for generated class files, which may be either a directory or a .jar file. The -include-runtime option makes the resulting .jar file self-contained and runnable by including the Kotlin runtime library in it.

    To see all available options, run

    kotlinc -help
  3. Run the application.

    java -jar hello.jar

Compile a library

If you're developing a library to be used by other Kotlin applications, you can build the .jar file without including the Kotlin runtime in it:

kotlinc hello.kt -d hello.jar

Since binaries compiled this way depend on the Kotlin runtime, you should make sure the latter is present in the classpath whenever your compiled library is used.

You can also use the kotlin script to run binaries produced by the Kotlin compiler:

kotlin -classpath hello.jar HelloKt

HelloKt is the main class name that the Kotlin compiler generates for the file named hello.kt.

Run the REPL

You can run the compiler without parameters to have an interactive shell. In this shell, you can type any valid Kotlin code and see the results.


Run scripts

Kotlin can also be used as a scripting language. A script is a Kotlin source file (.kts) with top-level executable code.

import java.io.File // Get the passed in path, i.e. "-d some/path" or use the current path. val path = if (args.contains("-d")) args[1 + args.indexOf("-d")] else "." val folders = File(path).listFiles { file -> file.isDirectory() } folders?.forEach { folder -> println(folder) }

To run a script, pass the -script option to the compiler with the corresponding script file:

kotlinc -script list_folders.kts -- -d <path_to_folder_to_inspect>

Kotlin provides experimental support for script customization, such as adding external properties, providing static or dynamic dependencies, and so on. Customizations are defined by so-called Script definitions - annotated kotlin classes with the appropriate support code. The script filename extension is used to select the appropriate definition. Learn more about Kotlin custom scripting.

Properly prepared script definitions are detected and applied automatically when the appropriate jars are included in the compilation classpath. Alternatively, you can specify definitions manually by passing the -script-templates option to the compiler:

kotlinc -script-templates org.example.CustomScriptDefinition -script custom.script1.kts

For additional details, please consult the KEEP-75.

Last modified: 16 January 2024