Version: 3.3.0
Installing wxWidgets

wxWidgets headers and libraries must be available in order to build the applications using it, so the first step when starting to use wxWidgets is to install it. This can be done, for all platforms and library versions, by building wxWidgets from sources, but for the most common platforms pre-built binaries of the libraries are also provided, so the first decision to make is whether to use these binaries or build the library yourself. Building the libraries yourself allows you to compile the latest version using exactly the options you need, and so is the most flexible solution, but using the binaries may be simpler and faster – the choice is yours, just follow the instructions in the corresponding section below depending on the approach you prefer. Of course, you only need to do one or the other, not both.

Using Binaries

How to install binaries depends on your platform:

  • For Microsoft Windows (MSW), wxWidgets project provides official binaries on the Downloads page, please see the instructions for using them.
  • For Linux, and other free Unix-like systems, wxWidgets packages are available in system repositories under the name "wxGTK". Note that to develop applications using wxWidgets you may need to install the "development" packages and not just the libraries needed for running the applications using wxWidgets. For example, under Debian and Debian-derived systems such as Ubuntu, you need to run apt get libwxgtkX.Y-dev.
  • For macOS, wxWidgets is available in third-party package managers such as brew or MacPorts, and you can install them in the usual way.

Additionally, some third-party C++ package managers also provide wxWidgets binaries. For example, please see this post for the instructions about using vcpkg C++ package manager for installing wxWidgets.

Building from Source

Getting the sources

To build the library you need to get its sources first. The recommended way to do it is to use Git to check them out from the official wxWidgets repository using the following command:

$ git clone --recurse-submodules https://github.com/wxWidgets/wxWidgets.git

Alternatively, you can download the sources from the downloads page. Please note that all the source archives in different formats (ZIP, 7z, tar.bz2) contain the same files, but use different line ending formats: Unix ("LF") for the latter one and DOS ("CR LF") for the two other ones, and it is usually preferable to choose the format corresponding to the current platform. When downloading the sources with DOS ends of lines, prefer 7z format for much smaller file size.

Selecting the build system

wxWidgets can be built using CMake under all platforms. Please follow CMake build instructions if you prefer to use it.

Otherwise, please use the appropriate instructions depending on your platform:

The wxWidgets ports mentioned above are the main ones, however other variants also exist, see platform details page for the full list.

Building Your Application

After installing wxWidgets, you need to set up your application to be built using it.

As previously, if you're using CMake, please follow the instructions for building your applications with CMake.

Note that you can use the provided samples/minimal/CMakeLists.txt file to test building the minimal sample using CMake to verify your installation.

Otherwise, choose the appropriate method for your platform and build system:

Unix, command line

On any Unix-like system, including macOS and Unix-like environments such as Cygwin or MSYS2 under MSW, very simple applications consisting of a single source file hello.cpp can be built directly from the command line using the following command:

$ c++ -o hello hello.cpp `wx-config --cxxflags --libs`

Please note that you must use wx-config to obtain the compiler and linker flags in this case. Using this method with samples/minimal/minimal.cpp is a simple way of checking that wxWidgets is installed correctly and can be used and it is recommended to try building it, especially if you are new to wxWidgets.

Unix, with GNU Make

For more realistic applications under Unix, a makefile is traditionally used for building. For a program consisting of the files hello.cpp and bye.cpp a minimal makefile could look like the following:

# wx-config to use, may be overridden on make command line.
WX_CONFIG := wx-config
WX_CXXFLAGS := $(shell $(WX_CONFIG) --cxxflags)
WX_LIBS := $(shell $(WX_CONFIG) --libs)
OBJECTS := hello.o bye.o
hello: $(OBJECTS)
$(CXX) -o [email protected] $(OBJECTS) $(LDFLAGS) $(WX_LIBS) $(LIBS)
$(OBJECTS): %.o: %.cpp
$(CXX) -c -o [email protected] $(WX_CXXFLAGS) $(CXXFLAGS) $<

Please refer to the manual for more information about writing makefiles for GNU make. Also notice that you need to replace the leading spaces with TABs if you are copy-pasting the makefile above into your own.

Unix, with autoconf

For building applications using autoconf, you need to have the following lines in your configure.ac file:

AC_INIT(...)
dnl Add support for --wxdir, --wx-config and other options allowing to select
dnl the version and location of wxWidgets to use.
WX_CONFIG_OPTIONS
... other preliminary macros ...
dnl A C++ compiler is required.
AC_PROG_CXX
dnl Find wxWidgets 3.1.6 or exit with error. See documentation of this macro
dnl in wxwin.m4 for more information, notably optional arguments allowing to
dnl select the required libraries and optional libraries to detect.
WX_CONFIG_CHECK([3.1.6], [], [AC_MSG_FAILURE([wxWidgets 3.1.6 or later not found])])
dnl Use wxWidgets compilation flags for all files in the project. If you also
dnl use automake, you may prefer to add WX_CXXFLAGS and WX_LIBS to the
dnl individual target_CXXFLAGS and target_LIBADD or target_LDADD variables.
CPPFLAGS="$CPPFLAGS $WX_CPPFLAGS"
CXXFLAGS="$CXXFLAGS $WX_CXXFLAGS"
LIBS="$LIBS $WX_LIBS"
... other macros checking for headers/libraries ...
AC_OUTPUT

Note that this assumes that wxwin.m4 file is available in a standard location, as is the case when using distribution-provided wxWidgets packages or after building wxWidgets from source and using make install. If this is not the case, you must copy this file from wxWidgets source directory to the directory containing autoconf macros used by your application (typically m4, e.g. if you use AC_CONFIG_MACRO_DIRS([m4])).

MSW, with Microsoft Visual Studio

For applications using Microsoft Visual Studio IDE, simply add the provided wxwidgets.props property sheet file to your project as explained in the instructions and build the project as usual.

Mac, with Xcode

If you want to use an environment variable (such as WXWIN) in your xcode project, there are several things you must do.

  • Enable the usage of environment variables in xcode:
    defaults write com.apple.dt.Xcode UseSanitizedBuildSystemEnvironment -bool NO
  • Set the variables for use with the launch agent (application to OSX 10.10 and up)
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
<key>Label</key>
<string>my.startup</string>
<key>ProgramArguments</key>
<array>
<string>sh</string>
<string>-c</string>
<string>
launchctl setenv WXWIN /Users/dconnet/devtools/wx/wxWidgets-3.1.5
</string>
</array>
<key>RunAtLoad</key>
<true/>
</dict>
</plist>

Other IDEs

If you use an IDE with wxWidgets support, such as Code::Blocks or CodeLite, please use the IDE wizards.

If you use another IDE, under Unix you should run wx-config --cxxflags and wx-config --libs commands separately and copy-and-paste their output to the "Additional preprocessor options" and "Additional linker options" fields in your IDE, respectively. Under MSW systems you need to configure the IDE using the instructions in the Building Applications Using wxWidgetsmanual setup"" section.