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Compiler Options

cl.exe is a tool that controls the Microsoft C++ (MSVC) C and C++ compilers and linker. cl.exe can be run only on operating systems that support Microsoft Visual Studio for Windows.


You can start this tool only from a Visual Studio developer command prompt. You cannot start it from a system command prompt or from File Explorer. For more information, see Use the MSVC toolset from the command line.

The compilers produce Common Object File Format (COFF) object (.obj) files. The linker produces executable (.exe) files or dynamic-link libraries (DLLs).

All compiler options are case-sensitive. You may use either a forward slash (/) or a dash (-) to specify a compiler option.

To compile without linking, use the /c option.

Find a compiler option

To find a particular compiler option, see one of the following lists:

Specify compiler options

The topic for each compiler option discusses how it can be set in the development environment. For information on specifying options outside the development environment, see:

MSVC Linker Options also affect how your program is built.

See also

C/C++ Building Reference
CL Invokes the Linker