Targets can have properties that affect how they are built.

set_target_properties(target1 target2 ...
                      PROPERTIES prop1 value1
                      prop2 value2 ...)

Set properties on a target. The syntax for the command is to list all the files you want to change, and then provide the values you want to set next. You can use any prop value pair you want and extract it later with the GET_TARGET_PROPERTY command.

Properties that affect the name of a target’s output file are as follows. The PREFIX and SUFFIX properties override the default target name prefix (such as “lib”) and suffix (such as ”.so”). IMPORT_PREFIX and IMPORT_SUFFIX are the equivalent properties for the import library corresponding to a DLL (for SHARED library targets). OUTPUT_NAME sets the real name of a target when it is built and can be used to help create two targets of the same name even though CMake requires unique logical target names. There is also a <CONFIG>_OUTPUT_NAME that can set the output name on a per-configuration basis. <CONFIG>_POSTFIX sets a postfix for the real name of the target when it is built under the configuration named by <CONFIG> (in upper-case, such as “DEBUG_POSTFIX”). The value of this property is initialized when the target is created to the value of the variable CMAKE_<CONFIG>_POSTFIX (except for executable targets because earlier CMake versions which did not use this variable for executables).

The LINK_FLAGS property can be used to add extra flags to the link step of a target. LINK_FLAGS_<CONFIG> will add to the configuration <CONFIG>, for example, DEBUG, RELEASE, MINSIZEREL, RELWITHDEBINFO. DEFINE_SYMBOL sets the name of the preprocessor symbol defined when compiling sources in a shared library. If not set here then it is set to target_EXPORTS by default (with some substitutions if the target is not a valid C identifier). This is useful for headers to know whether they are being included from inside their library or outside to properly setup dllexport/dllimport decorations. The COMPILE_FLAGS property sets additional compiler flags used to build sources within the target. It may also be used to pass additional preprocessor definitions.

The LINKER_LANGUAGE property is used to change the tool used to link an executable or shared library. The default is set the language to match the files in the library. CXX and C are common values for this property.

For shared libraries VERSION and SOVERSION can be used to specify the build version and API version respectively. When building or installing appropriate symlinks are created if the platform supports symlinks and the linker supports so-names. If only one of both is specified the missing is assumed to have the same version number. For executables VERSION can be used to specify the build version. When building or installing appropriate symlinks are created if the platform supports symlinks. For shared libraries and executables on Windows the VERSION attribute is parsed to extract a “major.minor” version number. These numbers are used as the image version of the binary.

There are a few properties used to specify RPATH rules. INSTALL_RPATH is a semicolon-separated list specifying the rpath to use in installed targets (for platforms that support it). INSTALL_RPATH_USE_LINK_PATH is a boolean that if set to true will append directories in the linker search path and outside the project to the INSTALL_RPATH. SKIP_BUILD_RPATH is a boolean specifying whether to skip automatic generation of an rpath allowing the target to run from the build tree. BUILD_WITH_INSTALL_RPATH is a boolean specifying whether to link the target in the build tree with the INSTALL_RPATH. This takes precedence over SKIP_BUILD_RPATH and avoids the need for relinking before installation. INSTALL_NAME_DIR is a string specifying the directory portion of the “install_name” field of shared libraries on Mac OSX to use in the installed targets. When the target is created the values of the variables CMAKE_INSTALL_RPATH, CMAKE_INSTALL_RPATH_USE_LINK_PATH, CMAKE_SKIP_BUILD_RPATH, CMAKE_BUILD_WITH_INSTALL_RPATH, and CMAKE_INSTALL_NAME_DIR are used to initialize these properties.

PROJECT_LABEL can be used to change the name of the target in an IDE like visual studio. VS_KEYWORD can be set to change the visual studio keyword, for example Qt integration works better if this is set to Qt4VSv1.0.

VS_SCC_PROJECTNAME, VS_SCC_LOCALPATH, VS_SCC_PROVIDER and VS_SCC_AUXPATH can be set to add support for source control bindings in a Visual Studio project file.

VS_GLOBAL_<variable> can be set to add a Visual Studio project-specific global variable. Qt integration works better if VS_GLOBAL_QtVersion is set to the Qt version FindQt4.cmake found. For example, “4.7.3”

The PRE_INSTALL_SCRIPT and POST_INSTALL_SCRIPT properties are the old way to specify CMake scripts to run before and after installing a target. They are used only when the old INSTALL_TARGETS command is used to install the target. Use the INSTALL command instead.

The EXCLUDE_FROM_DEFAULT_BUILD property is used by the visual studio generators. If it is set to 1 the target will not be part of the default build when you select “Build Solution”. This can also be set on a per-configuration basis using EXCLUDE_FROM_DEFAULT_BUILD_<CONFIG>.