Troubleshooting Guide: Resolving Could Not Load File or Assembly Newtonsoft.Json Error

When working on a .NET project, you might encounter the error "Could Not Load File or Assembly Newtonsoft.Json" during runtime or build. This error occurs when the Newtonsoft.Json assembly is either missing or has a version mismatch with the project's expectations. In this guide, we will go through the steps to resolve this error and provide a list of FAQs for additional assistance.

Table of Contents

  1. Identifying the Issue
  2. Installing or Updating Newtonsoft.Json
  3. Setting the Correct Assembly Version
  4. Adding a Binding Redirect
  5. FAQs

Identifying the Issue

Before we dive into the solutions, it's essential to understand the root cause of the error. The "Could Not Load File or Assembly Newtonsoft.Json" error typically arises due to one of the following reasons:

  1. The Newtonsoft.Json assembly is not installed in your project.
  2. The installed version of Newtonsoft.Json is incompatible with the required version.
  3. There is a version conflict between two or more assemblies that depend on Newtonsoft.Json.
  4. The project is missing a binding redirect for Newtonsoft.Json.

Installing or Updating Newtonsoft.Json

If the Newtonsoft.Json assembly is missing from your project or if an update is required to meet the dependency requirements, follow these steps:

For .NET Framework projects

  1. Open your project in Visual Studio.
  2. Right-click on your project in the Solution Explorer and select "Manage NuGet Packages."
  3. In the NuGet Package Manager, search for "Newtonsoft.Json" and click on the package in the results.
  4. If the package is not installed, click "Install." If an update is required, click "Update" to install the latest compatible version.
  5. Build and run your project to see if the error is resolved.

For .NET Core and .NET 5+ projects

  1. Open your project in Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code.
  2. Open the terminal (Command Prompt, PowerShell, or Bash).
  3. Navigate to your project's directory.
  4. Run the following command to install or update the Newtonsoft.Json NuGet package:
dotnet add package Newtonsoft.Json
  1. Build and run your project to see if the error is resolved.

Setting the Correct Assembly Version

If the installed Newtonsoft.Json assembly version is incorrect or incompatible, you can specify the correct version in your project file. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your project file (.csproj, .vbproj, or .fsproj) in a text editor.
  2. Locate the PackageReference entry for Newtonsoft.Json. If it's not present, add a new entry inside the ItemGroup element.
  3. Set the Version attribute to the required version. For example:
  <PackageReference Include="Newtonsoft.Json" Version="12.0.3" />
  1. Save the project file and rebuild your project.

Adding a Binding Redirect

If the error is caused by a version conflict between two or more assemblies that depend on Newtonsoft.Json, you can add a binding redirect in your project's configuration file. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your project's App.config or Web.config file in a text editor. If it doesn't exist, create one.
  2. Locate the runtime element. If it's not present, add it inside the configuration element.
  3. Add a new assemblyBinding element inside the runtime element, with a dependentAssembly entry for Newtonsoft.Json. Specify the correct oldVersion and newVersion attributes. For example:
    <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
        <assemblyIdentity name="Newtonsoft.Json" publicKeyToken="30ad4fe6b2a6aeed" culture="neutral" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion="" />
  1. Save the configuration file and rebuild your project.


1. How can I find the required version of Newtonsoft.Json for my project?

Check the documentation or release notes of the libraries or frameworks you're using in your project. They usually mention the required or compatible versions of their dependencies, including Newtonsoft.Json. Alternatively, you can check the packages.config file or PackageReference entries in your project file.

2. How do I know if there's a version conflict between assemblies that depend on Newtonsoft.Json?

The build output, error messages, or logs might contain information about the conflicting versions. You can also use tools like NuGet Package Explorer or the dotnet list package command to analyze your project's dependencies and their versions.

3. Can I use a different JSON library instead of Newtonsoft.Json?

Yes, .NET provides alternative JSON libraries, like System.Text.Json for .NET Core and .NET 5+ projects. However, switching libraries might require changes to your project's code and dependencies.

4. Can I have multiple versions of Newtonsoft.Json in my project?

It's generally not recommended, as it can lead to runtime errors and version conflicts. If possible, try to consolidate your project's dependencies to use a single compatible version of Newtonsoft.Json.

5. What if the error persists after trying all the solutions?

If the error still occurs, consider seeking help on Stack Overflow or GitHub Issues for Newtonsoft.Json. Make sure to provide detailed information about your project, dependencies, and the steps you've taken to resolve the issue.

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