Specify rules to run at install time.


This command generates installation rules for a project. Rules specified by calls to this command within a source directory are executed in order during installation. The order across directories is not defined.

There are multiple signatures for this command. Some of them define installation options for files and targets. Options common to multiple signatures are covered here but they are valid only for signatures that specify them. The common options are:


Specify the directory on disk to which a file will be installed. If a full path (with a leading slash or drive letter) is given it is used directly. If a relative path is given it is interpreted relative to the value of the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable. The prefix can be relocated at install time using the DESTDIR mechanism explained in the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable documentation.


Specify permissions for installed files. Valid permissions are OWNER_READ, OWNER_WRITE, OWNER_EXECUTE, GROUP_READ, GROUP_WRITE, GROUP_EXECUTE, WORLD_READ, WORLD_WRITE, WORLD_EXECUTE, SETUID, and SETGID. Permissions that do not make sense on certain platforms are ignored on those platforms.


Specify a list of build configurations for which the install rule applies (Debug, Release, etc.).


Specify an installation component name with which the install rule is associated, such as “runtime” or “development”. During component-specific installation only install rules associated with the given component name will be executed. During a full installation all components are installed. If COMPONENT is not provided a default component “Unspecified” is created. The default component name may be controlled with the CMAKE_INSTALL_DEFAULT_COMPONENT_NAME variable.


Specify a name for an installed file that may be different from the original file. Renaming is allowed only when a single file is installed by the command.


Specify that it is not an error if the file to be installed does not exist.

Command signatures that install files may print messages during installation. Use the CMAKE_INSTALL_MESSAGE variable to control which messages are printed.

Installing Targets

install(TARGETS targets... [EXPORT <export-name>]
         [DESTINATION <dir>]
         [INCLUDES DESTINATION [<dir> ...]]
         [PERMISSIONS permissions...]
         [CONFIGURATIONS [Debug|Release|...]]
         [COMPONENT <component>]
        ] [...])

The TARGETS form specifies rules for installing targets from a project. There are five kinds of target files that may be installed: ARCHIVE, LIBRARY, RUNTIME, FRAMEWORK, and BUNDLE. Executables are treated as RUNTIME targets, except that those marked with the MACOSX_BUNDLE property are treated as BUNDLE targets on OS X. Static libraries are always treated as ARCHIVE targets. Module libraries are always treated as LIBRARY targets. For non-DLL platforms shared libraries are treated as LIBRARY targets, except that those marked with the FRAMEWORK property are treated as FRAMEWORK targets on OS X. For DLL platforms the DLL part of a shared library is treated as a RUNTIME target and the corresponding import library is treated as an ARCHIVE target. All Windows-based systems including Cygwin are DLL platforms. The ARCHIVE, LIBRARY, RUNTIME, and FRAMEWORK arguments change the type of target to which the subsequent properties apply. If none is given the installation properties apply to all target types. If only one is given then only targets of that type will be installed (which can be used to install just a DLL or just an import library). The INCLUDES DESTINATION specifies a list of directories which will be added to the INTERFACE_INCLUDE_DIRECTORIES target property of the <targets> when exported by the install(EXPORT) command. If a relative path is specified, it is treated as relative to the $<INSTALL_PREFIX>.

The PRIVATE_HEADER, PUBLIC_HEADER, and RESOURCE arguments cause subsequent properties to be applied to installing a FRAMEWORK shared library target’s associated files on non-Apple platforms. Rules defined by these arguments are ignored on Apple platforms because the associated files are installed into the appropriate locations inside the framework folder. See documentation of the PRIVATE_HEADER, PUBLIC_HEADER, and RESOURCE target properties for details.

Either NAMELINK_ONLY or NAMELINK_SKIP may be specified as a LIBRARY option. On some platforms a versioned shared library has a symbolic link such as:

lib<name>.so -> lib<name>.so.1

where lib<name>.so.1 is the soname of the library and lib<name>.so is a “namelink” allowing linkers to find the library when given -l<name>. The NAMELINK_ONLY option causes installation of only the namelink when a library target is installed. The NAMELINK_SKIP option causes installation of library files other than the namelink when a library target is installed. When neither option is given both portions are installed. On platforms where versioned shared libraries do not have namelinks or when a library is not versioned the NAMELINK_SKIP option installs the library and the NAMELINK_ONLY option installs nothing. See the VERSION and SOVERSION target properties for details on creating versioned shared libraries.

One or more groups of properties may be specified in a single call to the TARGETS form of this command. A target may be installed more than once to different locations. Consider hypothetical targets myExe, mySharedLib, and myStaticLib. The code:

install(TARGETS myExe mySharedLib myStaticLib
        ARCHIVE DESTINATION lib/static)
install(TARGETS mySharedLib DESTINATION /some/full/path)

will install myExe to <prefix>/bin and myStaticLib to <prefix>/lib/static. On non-DLL platforms mySharedLib will be installed to <prefix>/lib and /some/full/path. On DLL platforms the mySharedLib DLL will be installed to <prefix>/bin and /some/full/path and its import library will be installed to <prefix>/lib/static and /some/full/path.

The EXPORT option associates the installed target files with an export called <export-name>. It must appear before any RUNTIME, LIBRARY, or ARCHIVE options. To actually install the export file itself, call install(EXPORT), documented below.

Installing a target with the EXCLUDE_FROM_ALL target property set to TRUE has undefined behavior.

The install destination given to the target install DESTINATION may use “generator expressions” with the syntax $<...>. See the cmake-generator-expressions(7) manual for available expressions.

Installing Files

install(<FILES|PROGRAMS> files... DESTINATION <dir>
        [PERMISSIONS permissions...]
        [CONFIGURATIONS [Debug|Release|...]]
        [COMPONENT <component>]
        [RENAME <name>] [OPTIONAL])

The FILES form specifies rules for installing files for a project. File names given as relative paths are interpreted with respect to the current source directory. Files installed by this form are by default given permissions OWNER_WRITE, OWNER_READ, GROUP_READ, and WORLD_READ if no PERMISSIONS argument is given.

The PROGRAMS form is identical to the FILES form except that the default permissions for the installed file also include OWNER_EXECUTE, GROUP_EXECUTE, and WORLD_EXECUTE. This form is intended to install programs that are not targets, such as shell scripts. Use the TARGETS form to install targets built within the project.

The list of files... given to FILES or PROGRAMS may use “generator expressions” with the syntax $<...>. See the cmake-generator-expressions(7) manual for available expressions. However, if any item begins in a generator expression it must evaluate to a full path.

The install destination given to the files install DESTINATION may use “generator expressions” with the syntax $<...>. See the cmake-generator-expressions(7) manual for available expressions.

Installing Directories

install(DIRECTORY dirs... DESTINATION <dir>
        [FILE_PERMISSIONS permissions...]
        [DIRECTORY_PERMISSIONS permissions...]
        [CONFIGURATIONS [Debug|Release|...]]
        [COMPONENT <component>] [FILES_MATCHING]
        [[PATTERN <pattern> | REGEX <regex>]
         [EXCLUDE] [PERMISSIONS permissions...]] [...])

The DIRECTORY form installs contents of one or more directories to a given destination. The directory structure is copied verbatim to the destination. The last component of each directory name is appended to the destination directory but a trailing slash may be used to avoid this because it leaves the last component empty. Directory names given as relative paths are interpreted with respect to the current source directory. If no input directory names are given the destination directory will be created but nothing will be installed into it. The FILE_PERMISSIONS and DIRECTORY_PERMISSIONS options specify permissions given to files and directories in the destination. If USE_SOURCE_PERMISSIONS is specified and FILE_PERMISSIONS is not, file permissions will be copied from the source directory structure. If no permissions are specified files will be given the default permissions specified in the FILES form of the command, and the directories will be given the default permissions specified in the PROGRAMS form of the command.

The MESSAGE_NEVER option disables file installation status output.

Installation of directories may be controlled with fine granularity using the PATTERN or REGEX options. These “match” options specify a globbing pattern or regular expression to match directories or files encountered within input directories. They may be used to apply certain options (see below) to a subset of the files and directories encountered. The full path to each input file or directory (with forward slashes) is matched against the expression. A PATTERN will match only complete file names: the portion of the full path matching the pattern must occur at the end of the file name and be preceded by a slash. A REGEX will match any portion of the full path but it may use / and $ to simulate the PATTERN behavior. By default all files and directories are installed whether or not they are matched. The FILES_MATCHING option may be given before the first match option to disable installation of files (but not directories) not matched by any expression. For example, the code

install(DIRECTORY src/ DESTINATION include/myproj

will extract and install header files from a source tree.

Some options may follow a PATTERN or REGEX expression and are applied only to files or directories matching them. The EXCLUDE option will skip the matched file or directory. The PERMISSIONS option overrides the permissions setting for the matched file or directory. For example the code

install(DIRECTORY icons scripts/ DESTINATION share/myproj
        PATTERN "scripts/*"
                    GROUP_EXECUTE GROUP_READ)

will install the icons directory to share/myproj/icons and the scripts directory to share/myproj. The icons will get default file permissions, the scripts will be given specific permissions, and any CVS directories will be excluded.

The install destination given to the directory install DESTINATION may use “generator expressions” with the syntax $<...>. See the cmake-generator-expressions(7) manual for available expressions.

Custom Installation Logic

install([[SCRIPT <file>] [CODE <code>]]
        [COMPONENT <component>] [...])

The SCRIPT form will invoke the given CMake script files during installation. If the script file name is a relative path it will be interpreted with respect to the current source directory. The CODE form will invoke the given CMake code during installation. Code is specified as a single argument inside a double-quoted string. For example, the code

install(CODE "MESSAGE(\"Sample install message.\")")

will print a message during installation.

Installing Exports

install(EXPORT <export-name> DESTINATION <dir>
        [NAMESPACE <namespace>] [FILE <name>.cmake]
        [PERMISSIONS permissions...]
        [CONFIGURATIONS [Debug|Release|...]]
        [COMPONENT <component>])

The EXPORT form generates and installs a CMake file containing code to import targets from the installation tree into another project. Target installations are associated with the export <export-name> using the EXPORT option of the install(TARGETS) signature documented above. The NAMESPACE option will prepend <namespace> to the target names as they are written to the import file. By default the generated file will be called <export-name>.cmake but the FILE option may be used to specify a different name. The value given to the FILE option must be a file name with the .cmake extension. If a CONFIGURATIONS option is given then the file will only be installed when one of the named configurations is installed. Additionally, the generated import file will reference only the matching target configurations. The EXPORT_LINK_INTERFACE_LIBRARIES keyword, if present, causes the contents of the properties matching (IMPORTED_)?LINK_INTERFACE_LIBRARIES(_<CONFIG>)? to be exported, when policy CMP0022 is NEW. If a COMPONENT option is specified that does not match that given to the targets associated with <export-name> the behavior is undefined. If a library target is included in the export but a target to which it links is not included the behavior is unspecified.

The EXPORT form is useful to help outside projects use targets built and installed by the current project. For example, the code

install(TARGETS myexe EXPORT myproj DESTINATION bin)
install(EXPORT myproj NAMESPACE mp_ DESTINATION lib/myproj)

will install the executable myexe to <prefix>/bin and code to import it in the file <prefix>/lib/myproj/myproj.cmake. An outside project may load this file with the include command and reference the myexe executable from the installation tree using the imported target name mp_myexe as if the target were built in its own tree.


This command supercedes the install_targets() command and the PRE_INSTALL_SCRIPT and POST_INSTALL_SCRIPT target properties. It also replaces the FILES forms of the install_files() and install_programs() commands. The processing order of these install rules relative to those generated by install_targets(), install_files(), and install_programs() commands is not defined.