The latest version of this topic can be found at NMAKE Reference.
The Microsoft Program Maintenance Utility (NMAKE.EXE) is a command-line tool that builds projects based on commands that are contained in a description file.
NMAKE is included when you install Visual Studio or the Visual C++ command-line build tools. It's not available separately. To download and install Visual Studio, see VisualStudio.com. To install only the command-line tools, download and install Microsoft Visual C++ Build Tools. Both installations include 64-bit and 32-bit native command-line tools that target x64, x86, and ARM.
To use NMAKE, you must run it in a command prompt window that has the required paths and environment variables set for the Visual C++ build tools, libraries, and include files. The easiest way to do this is to run it in a developer command prompt window. For details on how to open a developer command prompt window, see Building on the Command Line. If you'd rather customize your own command prompt window, or if you want to use the x64-hosted compilers or build for x64 or ARM targets, see Setting the Path and Environment Variables for Command-Line Builds.