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).
Note that 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:
Related build tools
MSVC Linker Options also affect how your program is built.