Triple-Slash Directives

Triple-slash directives are single-line comments containing a single XML tag. The contents of the comment are used as compiler directives.

Triple-slash directives are only valid at the top of their containing file. A triple-slash directive can only be preceded by single or multi-line comments, including other triple-slash directives. If they are encountered following a statement or a declaration they are treated as regular single-line comments, and hold no special meaning.

/// <reference path="..." />

The /// <reference path="..." /> directive is the most common of this group. It serves as a declaration of dependency between files.

Triple-slash references instruct the compiler to include additional files in the compilation process.

They also serve as a method to order the output when using out or outFile. Files are emitted to the output file location in the same order as the input after preprocessing pass.

Preprocessing input files

The compiler performs a preprocessing pass on input files to resolve all triple-slash reference directives. During this process, additional files are added to the compilation.

The process starts with a set of root files; these are the file names specified on the command-line or in the files list in the tsconfig.json file. These root files are preprocessed in the same order they are specified. Before a file is added to the list, all triple-slash references in it are processed, and their targets included. Triple-slash references are resolved in a depth-first manner, in the order they have been seen in the file.

A triple-slash reference path is resolved relative to the containing file, if a relative path is used.


It is an error to reference a file that does not exist. It is an error for a file to have a triple-slash reference to itself.

Using --noResolve

If the compiler flag noResolve is specified, triple-slash references are ignored; they neither result in adding new files, nor change the order of the files provided.

/// <reference types="..." />

Similar to a /// <reference path="..." /> directive, which serves as a declaration of dependency, a /// <reference types="..." /> directive declares a dependency on a package.

The process of resolving these package names is similar to the process of resolving module names in an import statement. An easy way to think of triple-slash-reference-types directives are as an import for declaration packages.

For example, including /// <reference types="node" /> in a declaration file declares that this file uses names declared in @types/node/index.d.ts; and thus, this package needs to be included in the compilation along with the declaration file.

Use these directives only when you’re authoring a d.ts file by hand.

For declaration files generated during compilation, the compiler will automatically add /// <reference types="..." /> for you; A /// <reference types="..." /> in a generated declaration file is added if and only if the resulting file uses any declarations from the referenced package.

For declaring a dependency on an @types package in a .ts file, use types on the command line or in your tsconfig.json instead. See using @types, typeRoots and types in tsconfig.json files for more details.

/// <reference lib="..." />

This directive allows a file to explicitly include an existing built-in lib file.

Built-in lib files are referenced in the same fashion as the lib compiler option in tsconfig.json (e.g. use lib="es2015" and not lib="lib.es2015.d.ts", etc.).

For declaration file authors who rely on built-in types, e.g. DOM APIs or built-in JS run-time constructors like Symbol or Iterable, triple-slash-reference lib directives are recommended. Previously these .d.ts files had to add forward/duplicate declarations of such types.

For example, adding /// <reference lib="es2017.string" /> to one of the files in a compilation is equivalent to compiling with --lib es2017.string.

/// <reference lib="es2017.string" />

/// <reference no-default-lib="true"/>

This directive marks a file as a default library. You will see this comment at the top of lib.d.ts and its different variants.

This directive instructs the compiler to not include the default library (i.e. lib.d.ts) in the compilation. The impact here is similar to passing noLib on the command line.

Also note that when passing skipDefaultLibCheck, the compiler will only skip checking files with /// <reference no-default-lib="true"/>.

/// <amd-module />

By default AMD modules are generated anonymous. This can lead to problems when other tools are used to process the resulting modules, such as bundlers (e.g. r.js).

The amd-module directive allows passing an optional module name to the compiler:

/// <amd-module name="NamedModule"/>
export class C {}

Will result in assigning the name NamedModule to the module as part of calling the AMD define:

define("NamedModule", ["require", "exports"], function (require, exports) {
var C = (function () {
function C() {}
return C;
exports.C = C;

/// <amd-dependency />

Note: this directive has been deprecated. Use import "moduleName"; statements instead.

/// <amd-dependency path="x" /> informs the compiler about a non-TS module dependency that needs to be injected in the resulting module’s require call.

The amd-dependency directive can also have an optional name property; this allows passing an optional name for an amd-dependency:

/// <amd-dependency path="legacy/moduleA" name="moduleA"/>
declare var moduleA: MyType;

Generated JS code:

define(["require", "exports", "legacy/moduleA"], function (
) {

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Last updated: Jun 22, 2024