CPack WIX Generator

CPack WIX generator specific options

Variables specific to CPack WIX generator

The following variables are specific to the installers built on Windows using WiX.


Upgrade GUID (Product/@UpgradeCode)

Will be automatically generated unless explicitly provided.

It should be explicitly set to a constant generated globally unique identifier (GUID) to allow your installers to replace existing installations that use the same GUID.

You may for example explicitly set this variable in your CMakeLists.txt to the value that has been generated per default. You should not use GUIDs that you did not generate yourself or which may belong to other projects.

A GUID shall have the following fixed length syntax:


(each X represents an uppercase hexadecimal digit)


Product GUID (Product/@Id)

Will be automatically generated unless explicitly provided.

If explicitly provided this will set the Product Id of your installer.

The installer will abort if it detects a pre-existing installation that uses the same GUID.

The GUID shall use the syntax described for CPACK_WIX_UPGRADE_GUID.


RTF License File

If CPACK_RESOURCE_FILE_LICENSE has an .rtf extension it is used as-is.

If CPACK_RESOURCE_FILE_LICENSE has an .txt extension it is implicitly converted to RTF by the WIX Generator. The expected encoding of the .txt file is UTF-8.

With CPACK_WIX_LICENSE_RTF you can override the license file used by the WIX Generator in case CPACK_RESOURCE_FILE_LICENSE is in an unsupported format or the .txt -> .rtf conversion does not work as expected.


The Icon shown next to the program name in Add/Remove programs.

If set, this icon is used in place of the default icon.


This variable allows you to override the Id of the <UIRef> element in the WiX template.

The default is WixUI_InstallDir in case no CPack components have been defined and WixUI_FeatureTree otherwise.


The bitmap will appear at the top of all installer pages other than the welcome and completion dialogs.

If set, this image will replace the default banner image.

This image must be 493 by 58 pixels.


Background bitmap used on the welcome and completion dialogs.

If this variable is set, the installer will replace the default dialog image.

This image must be 493 by 312 pixels.


Start menu folder name for launcher.

If this variable is not set, it will be initialized with CPACK_PACKAGE_NAME

If this variable is set to ., then application shortcuts will be created directly in the start menu and the uninstaller shortcut will be omitted.


Language(s) of the installer

Languages are compiled into the WixUI extension library. To use them, simply provide the name of the culture. If you specify more than one culture identifier in a comma or semicolon delimited list, the first one that is found will be used. You can find a list of supported languages at:


Template file for WiX generation

If this variable is set, the specified template will be used to generate the WiX wxs file. This should be used if further customization of the output is required.

If this variable is not set, the default MSI template included with CMake will be used.


Optional list of XML files with fragments to be inserted into generated WiX sources

This optional variable can be used to specify an XML file that the WIX generator will use to inject fragments into its generated source files.

Patch files understood by the CPack WIX generator roughly follow this RELAX NG compact schema:

start = CPackWiXPatch

CPackWiXPatch = element CPackWiXPatch { CPackWiXFragment* }

CPackWiXFragment = element CPackWiXFragment
    attribute Id { string },

fragmentContent = element * - CPackWiXFragment
    (attribute * { text } | text | fragmentContent)*

Currently fragments can be injected into most Component, File, Directory and Feature elements.

The following additional special Ids can be used:

  • #PRODUCT for the <Product> element.

  • #PRODUCTFEATURE for the root <Feature> element.

The following example illustrates how this works.

Given that the WIX generator creates the following XML element:

<Component Id="CM_CP_applications.bin.my_libapp.exe" Guid="*"/>

The following XML patch file may be used to inject an Environment element into it:

  <CPackWiXFragment Id="CM_CP_applications.bin.my_libapp.exe">
    <Environment Id="MyEnvironment" Action="set"
      Name="MyVariableName" Value="MyVariableValue"/>

Extra WiX source files

This variable provides an optional list of extra WiX source files (.wxs) that should be compiled and linked. The full path to source files is required.


Extra WiX object files or libraries

This variable provides an optional list of extra WiX object (.wixobj) and/or WiX library (.wixlib) files. The full path to objects and libraries is required.


This variable provides a list of additional extensions for the WiX tools light and candle.


This is the tool specific version of CPACK_WIX_EXTENSIONS. <TOOL> can be either LIGHT or CANDLE.


This list variable allows you to pass additional flags to the WiX tool <TOOL>.

Use it at your own risk. Future versions of CPack may generate flags which may be in conflict with your own flags.

<TOOL> can be either LIGHT or CANDLE.


If this variable is set the generated installer will create an entry in the windows registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Kitware\CMake\Packages\<PackageName> The value for <PackageName> is provided by this variable.

Assuming you also install a CMake configuration file this will allow other CMake projects to find your package with the find_package() command.


This variable can be used to provide a value for the Windows Installer property <PROPERTY>

The following list contains some example properties that can be used to customize information under “Programs and Features” (also known as “Add or Remove Programs”)

  • ARPCOMMENTS - Comments

  • ARPHELPLINK - Help and support information URL

  • ARPURLINFOABOUT - General information URL

  • ARPURLUPDATEINFO - Update information URL

  • ARPHELPTELEPHONE - Help and support telephone number

  • ARPSIZE - Size (in kilobytes) of the application


Sets the name of the root install feature in the WIX installer. Same as CPACK_COMPONENT_<compName>_DISPLAY_NAME for components.


Sets the description of the root install feature in the WIX installer. Same as CPACK_COMPONENT_<compName>_DESCRIPTION for components.


If this variable is set to true, the default install location of the generated package will be CPACK_PACKAGE_INSTALL_DIRECTORY directly. The install location will not be located relatively below ProgramFiles or ProgramFiles64.


Installers created with this feature do not take differences between the system on which the installer is created and the system on which the installer might be used into account.

It is therefore possible that the installer e.g. might try to install onto a drive that is unavailable or unintended or a path that does not follow the localization or convention of the system on which the installation is performed.


This variable allows specification of a custom root folder ID. The generator specific <64> token can be used for folder IDs that come in 32-bit and 64-bit variants. In 32-bit builds the token will expand empty while in 64-bit builds it will expand to 64.

When unset generated installers will default installing to ProgramFiles<64>Folder.


This variable can optionally be set to the root directory of a custom WiX Toolset installation.

When unspecified CPack will try to locate a WiX Toolset installation via the WIX environment variable instead.