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C/C++ Building Reference

Visual Studio provides two ways of building a C/C++ program. The easiest (and most common) way is to build within the Visual Studio IDE. The other way is to build from a command prompt using command-line tools. In either case, you can create and edit your source files using Visual Studio or a third-party editor of your choice.

In This Section

MSBuild reference for C++ projects

MSVC Compiler Reference
Describes the MSVC compiler, which creates an object file containing machine code, linker directives, sections, external references, and function/data names.

MSVC linker reference
Describes the linker, which combines code from the object files created by the compiler and from statically linked libraries, resolves the name references, and creates an executable file.

Unicode Support in the Compiler and Linker

Additional MSVC Build Tools
Additional command-line tools for C++.

C/C++ Build Errors
Introduces the build errors section in the table of contents.

C/C++ Preprocessor Reference
Discusses the preprocessor, which prepares source files for the compiler by translating macros, operators, and directives.

Understanding Custom Build Steps and Build Events
Discusses customizing the build process.

Building a C/C++ Program
Provides links to topics describing building your program from the command line or from the integrated development environment of Visual Studio.

MSVC Compiler Command-Line Syntax
Describes setting compiler options in the development environment or on the command line.

MSVC Compiler Options
Provides links to topics discussing using compiler options.

MSVC linker reference
Describes setting linker options inside or outside the integrated development environment.

MSVC Linker Options
Provides links to topics discussing using linker options.

BSCMAKE Reference
Describes the Microsoft Browse Information Maintenance Utility (BSCMAKE.EXE), which builds a browse information file (.bsc) from .sbr files created during compilation.

LIB Reference
Describes the Microsoft Library Manager (LIB.exe), which creates and manages a library of Common Object File Format (COFF) object files.

EDITBIN Reference
Describes the Microsoft COFF Binary File Editor (EDITBIN.EXE), which modifies Common Object File Format (COFF) binary files.

DUMPBIN Reference
Describes the Microsoft COFF Binary File Dumper (DUMPBIN.EXE), which displays information about Common Object File Format (COFF) binary files.

NMAKE Reference
Describes the Microsoft Program Maintenance Utility (NMAKE.EXE), which is a tool that builds projects based on commands contained in a description file.