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As a software interface for graphics hardware, OpenGL renders multidimensional objects into a framebuffer. The Microsoft implementation of OpenGL for the Windows operating system is industry-standard graphics software with which programmers can create high-quality still and animated three-dimensional color images.

Where Applicable

OpenGL is built for compatibility across hardware and operating systems. This architecture makes it easy to port OpenGL programs from one system to another. While each operating system has unique requirements, the OpenGL code in many programs can be used as is.

Developer Audience

Designed for use by C/C++ programmers, OpenGL requires familiarity with the Windows graphical user interface as well as message-driven architecture.

Run-time Requirements

OpenGL requires Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows 95/98. For more information on which operating systems are required for a particular function, see the Requirements section of the documentation for the function.

See Also


Windows Color System (WCS)

Windows GDI

Windows Multimedia

Windows API

Still Image

Windows Image Acquisition


General information about how OpenGL works.


Documentation of functions, structures, and other programming elements.


Examples of OpenGL code.


Make error reports and feature requests directly to Microsoft.