Official repository of GLFW 3.0 and beyond
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GLFW is a free, Open Source, portable library for OpenGL and OpenGL ES application development. It provides a simple, platform-independent API for creating windows and contexts, reading input, handling events, etc.

Version 3.0.3 is not yet described. As this is a patch release, there are no API changes.

If you are new to GLFW, you may find the introductory tutorial for GLFW 3 useful. If you have used GLFW 2 in the past, there is a transition guide for moving to the GLFW 3 API.

Compiling GLFW


To compile GLFW and the accompanying example programs, you will need CMake, which will generate the project files or makefiles for your particular development environment. If you are on a Unix-like system such as Linux or FreeBSD or have a package system like Fink, MacPorts, Cygwin or Homebrew, you can simply install its CMake package. If not, you can get installers for Windows and OS X from the CMake website.

Additional dependencies are listed below.

Visual C++ on Windows

The Microsoft Platform SDK that is installed along with Visual C++ contains all the necessary headers, link libraries and tools except for CMake.

MinGW or MinGW-w64 on Windows

These packages contain all the necessary headers, link libraries and tools except for CMake.

MinGW or MinGW-w64 cross-compilation

Both Cygwin and many Linux distributions have MinGW or MinGW-w64 packages. For example, Cygwin has the mingw64-i686-gcc and mingw64-x86_64-gcc packages for 32- and 64-bit version of MinGW-w64, while Debian GNU/Linux and derivatives like Ubuntu have the mingw-w64 package for both.

GLFW has CMake toolchain files in the CMake/ directory that allow for easy cross-compilation of Windows binaries. To use these files you need to add a special parameter when generating the project files or makefiles:

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=<toolchain-file> .

The exact toolchain file to use depends on the prefix used by the MinGW or MinGW-w64 binaries on your system. You can usually see this in the /usr directory. For example, both the Debian/Ubuntu and Cygwin MinGW-w64 packages have /usr/x86_64-w64-mingw32 for the 64-bit compilers, so the correct invocation would be:

cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=CMake/x86_64-w64-mingw32.cmake .

For more details see the article CMake Cross Compiling on the CMake wiki.

Xcode on OS X

Xcode contains all necessary tools except for CMake. The necessary headers and libraries are included in the core OS frameworks. Xcode can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Unix-like systems with X11

To compile GLFW for X11, you need to have the X11 and OpenGL header packages installed, as well as the basic development tools like GCC and make. For example, on Ubuntu and other distributions based on Debian GNU/Linux, you need to install the xorg-dev and libglu1-mesa-dev packages. The former pulls in all header packages and the latter pulls in the Mesa OpenGL and GLU packages. Note that using header files and libraries from Mesa during compilation will not tie your binaries to the Mesa implementation of OpenGL.

Generating with CMake

Once you have all necessary dependencies, it is time to generate the project files or makefiles for your development environment. CMake needs to know two paths for this: the path to the source directory and the target path for the generated files and compiled binaries. If these are the same, it is called an in-tree build, otherwise it is called an out-of-tree build.

One of several advantages of out-of-tree builds is that you can generate files and compile for different development environments using a single source tree.

Using CMake from the command-line

To make an in-tree build, enter the root directory of the GLFW source tree and run CMake. The current directory is used as target path, while the path provided as an argument is used to find the source tree.

cd <glfw-root-dir>
cmake .

To make an out-of-tree build, make another directory, enter it and run CMake with the (relative or absolute) path to the root of the source tree as an argument.

cd <glfw-root-dir>
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

Using the CMake GUI

If you are using the GUI version, choose the root of the GLFW source tree as source location and the same directory or another, empty directory as the destination for binaries. Choose Configure, change any options you wish to, Configure again to let the changes take effect and then Generate.

CMake options

The CMake files for GLFW provide a number of options, although not all are available on all supported platforms. Some of these are de facto standards among CMake users and so have no GLFW_ prefix.

If you are using the GUI version of CMake, these are listed and can be changed from there. If you are using the command-line version, use the ccmake tool. Some package systems like Ubuntu and other distributions based on Debian GNU/Linux have this tool in a separate cmake-curses-gui package.

Shared options

BUILD_SHARED_LIBS determines whether GLFW is built as a static library or as a DLL / shared library / dynamic library.

LIB_SUFFIX affects where the GLFW shared /dynamic library is installed. If it is empty, it is installed to $PREFIX/lib. If it is set to 64, it is installed to $PREFIX/lib64.

GLFW_BUILD_EXAMPLES determines whether the GLFW examples are built along with the library.

GLFW_BUILD_TESTS determines whether the GLFW test programs are built along with the library.

OS X specific options

GLFW_USE_CHDIR determines whether glfwInit changes the current directory of bundled applications to the Contents/Resources directory.

GLFW_USE_MENUBAR determines whether the first call to glfwCreateWindow sets up a minimal menu bar.

GLFW_BUILD_UNIVERSAL determines whether to build Universal Binaries.

Windows specific options

USE_MSVC_RUNTIME_LIBRARY_DLL determines whether to use the DLL version or the static library version of the Visual C++ runtime library.

GLFW_USE_DWM_SWAP_INTERVAL determines whether the swap interval is set even when DWM compositing is enabled. This can lead to severe jitter and is not usually recommended.

GLFW_USE_OPTIMUS_HPG determines whether to export the NvOptimusEnablement symbol, which forces the use of the high-performance GPU on nVidia Optimus systems.

EGL specific options

GLFW_USE_EGL determines whether to use EGL instead of the platform-specific context creation API. Note that EGL is not yet provided on all supported platforms.

GLFW_CLIENT_LIBRARY determines which client API library to use. If set to opengl the OpenGL library is used, if set to glesv1 for the OpenGL ES 1.x library is used, or if set to glesv2 the OpenGL ES 2.0 library is used. The selected library and its header files must be present on the system for this to work.

Installing GLFW

A rudimentary installation target is provided for all supported platforms via CMake.

Using GLFW

See the GLFW documentation.


  • [Win32] Bugfix: _WIN32_WINNT was not set to Windows XP or later
  • [Win32] Bugfix: Legacy MinGW needs WINVER and UNICODE before stddef.h
  • [X11] Bugfix: Events for mouse buttons 4 and above were not reported
  • [X11] Bugfix: CMake 2.8.7 does not set X11_Xinput_LIB even when found


The official website for GLFW is There you can find the latest version of GLFW, as well as news, documentation and other information about the project.

If you have questions related to the use of GLFW, we have a support forum, and the IRC channel #glfw on Freenode.

If you have a bug to report, a patch to submit or a feature you'd like to request, please file it in the issue tracker on GitHub.

Finally, if you're interested in helping out with the development of GLFW or porting it to your favorite platform, we have an occasionally active developer's mailing list, or you could join us on #glfw.


GLFW exists because people around the world donated their time and lent their skills.

  • Bobyshev Alexander
  • artblanc
  • arturo
  • Matt Arsenault
  • Keith Bauer
  • John Bartholomew
  • Niklas Behrens
  • Niklas Bergström
  • Doug Binks
  • blanco
  • Lambert Clara
  • Noel Cower
  • Jarrod Davis
  • Olivier Delannoy
  • Paul R. Deppe
  • Jonathan Dummer
  • Ralph Eastwood
  • Gerald Franz
  • GeO4d
  • Marcus Geelnard
  • Stefan Gustavson
  • Sylvain Hellegouarch
  • heromyth
  • Paul Holden
  • Toni Jovanoski
  • Osman Keskin
  • Cameron King
  • Peter Knut
  • Robin Leffmann
  • Glenn Lewis
  • Shane Liesegang
  • Дмитри Малышев
  • Martins Mozeiko
  • Tristam MacDonald
  • Hans Mackowiak
  • Kyle McDonald
  • David Medlock
  • Jonathan Mercier
  • Marcel Metz
  • Kenneth Miller
  • Bruce Mitchener
  • Jeff Molofee
  • Jon Morton
  • Pierre Moulon
  • Julian Møller
  • Ozzy
  • Peoro
  • Braden Pellett
  • Arturo J. Pérez
  • Jorge Rodriguez
  • Ed Ropple
  • Riku Salminen
  • Sebastian Schuberth
  • Matt Sealey
  • SephiRok
  • Steve Sexton
  • Dmitri Shuralyov
  • Daniel Skorupski
  • Bradley Smith
  • Julian Squires
  • Johannes Stein
  • Justin Stoecker
  • Nathan Sweet
  • TTK-Bandit
  • Sergey Tikhomirov
  • Samuli Tuomola
  • Jari Vetoniemi
  • Simon Voordouw
  • Torsten Walluhn
  • Jay Weisskopf
  • Frank Wille
  • yuriks
  • Santi Zupancic
  • Lasse Öörni
  • All the unmentioned and anonymous contributors in the GLFW community, for bug reports, patches, feedback, testing and encouragement