Skip to content
Switch branches/tags
Go to file

cmake_example for pybind11


CI status
MSVC 2015 AppVeyor
conda.recipe Conda Actions Status
pip builds Pip Actions Status
cibuildwheel Wheels Actions Status

An example pybind11 module built with a CMake-based build system. This is useful for C++ codebases that have an existing CMake project structure. This is in many cases superseded by scikit_build_example, which uses [scikit-build][], a tool from the makers of CMake designed to allow Python packages to be driven from CMake. However, there are still cases where you might want full control over the CMake run; and both of these approaches have some trade-offs not present in a pure setuptools build (see python_example)


On Unix (Linux, OS X)

  • A compiler with C++11 support
  • CMake >= 3.4 or Pip 10+
  • Ninja or Pip 10+

On Windows

  • Visual Studio 2015 or newer (required for all Python versions, see notes below)
  • CMake >= 3.8 (3.8 was the first version to support VS 2015) or Pip 10+


Just clone this repository and pip install. Note the --recursive option which is needed for the pybind11 submodule:

git clone --recursive
pip install ./cmake_example

With the file included in this example, the pip install command will invoke CMake and build the pybind11 module as specified in CMakeLists.txt.

Special notes for Windows

Compiler requirements

Pybind11 requires a C++11 compliant compiler, i.e Visual Studio 2015 on Windows. This applies to all Python versions, including 2.7. Unlike regular C extension modules, it's perfectly fine to compile a pybind11 module with a VS version newer than the target Python's VS version. See the FAQ for more details.

Runtime requirements

The Visual C++ 2015 redistributable packages are a runtime requirement for this project. It can be found here. If you use the Anaconda Python distribution, you can add vs2015_runtime as a platform-dependent runtime requirement for you package: see the conda.recipe/meta.yaml file in this example.

Building the documentation

Documentation for the example project is generated using Sphinx. Sphinx has the ability to automatically inspect the signatures and documentation strings in the extension module to generate beautiful documentation in a variety formats. The following command generates HTML-based reference documentation; for other formats please refer to the Sphinx manual:

  • cd cmake_example/docs
  • make html


Pybind11 is provided under a BSD-style license that can be found in the LICENSE file. By using, distributing, or contributing to this project, you agree to the terms and conditions of this license.

Test call

import cmake_example
cmake_example.add(1, 2)