Compiling OpenMesh

Tested compilers

OpenMesh has been successfully tested for the following operating systems / compilers. This is only a list of tested compilers. More might be supported but are not tested. Make sure that your compiler supports at least C++11


gcc >= 6.3
clang >= 3.3


Microsoft Visual Studio 2015
Microsoft Visual Studio 2017

Tested MacOS X Compilers


Required libraries (Only if you want to build the included Apps)

Install the following external libraries / frameworks if you want to use the included Applications:


Chosing build system

OpenMesh can be built using the cmake build system.


Compiling OpenMesh using CMake

In order to compile OpenMesh, create a directory named e.g. "build" in OpenMesh's root directory. Change to the newly created directory and type

cmake ..            ## Generates the appropriate Makefiles
make                ## Builds the project

If your compiler does not support c++11 natively, you might have to enable it by changing the cmake call to:
cmake .. -DCMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=-std=c++98

You can choose the build type by using cmake with the flag
-DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=(Debug|Release) The default is: Release

Other flags are:
-DBUILD_APPS=OFF to disable build of applications and
-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<path> to specify the install path.

When calling make install cmake will install OpenMesh into this directory using the subdirectories lib/include/bin.

CMake builds both shared and static under Linux.

Everything will then be build in the Build subdirectory containing the libraries in lib and the binaries in bin.

There are some additional targets:
doc: Builds the Documentation
doc-install: Builds the Documentation and installs it

When you link against the static libraries of OpenMesh and get the error "can not be used when making a shared object; recompile with -fPIC" you need to add "-fPIC" to the CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS. (This is usually added automatically)


Compiling OpenMesh using CMake

Building OpenMesh on Windows requires cmake to generate the project files for Visual Studio.

  • Get Visual Studio ( 2015-2017 )
  • Extract OpenMesh source code.
  • Get all required libraries and install them ( including headers! ).
  • Download and install cmake:
  • Start the cmake gui and open the OpenMesh toplevel directory as source directory
  • Choose a build directory (e.g. create a directory called "build" in OpenMesh's root folder)
  • Click on configure .... If any libraries are left unconfigured, you can adjust the path manually. Rerun configure until everything is configured correctly.
    Attention: Some build variables are only visible in advanced view mode. Select Visual Studio 9 (2008), Visual Studio 10(2010), Visual Studio 11 (2012), Visual Studio 12 (2013) (Depending on your version) as generator.
  • Click generate to create the visual studio project files
  • You can now find a Visual Studio solution file (OpenMesh.sln) in the build directory you chose in cmake
  • Now you can build OpenMesh from within Visual Studio using the newly created project file.


To compile OpenMesh, you need cmake on your system which is the minimal requirement to build OpenMesh.

We recommend using homebrew ( for installing additional packages required for compiling OpenMesh or other projects.

After installing homebrew, you can use the following command to install cmake:
brew install cmake            ## cmake generates the makefiles

Optional libraries which can be used to build OpenMesh:
brew install googletest            # Required to compile the included tests
brew install qt            # Required to compile the included UI example apps

Download and install required libraries as stated above.

You can download OpenMesh's sources from or check out the latest repository via GIT (Recommended to get the latest version of OpenMesh):

Compiling OpenMesh using CMake

We recommend you to use CMake >= 3.7 as build system. This can also easily be installed via Homebrew as well as the Qt >= 6.2 library which is used for some example applications in OpenMesh.
Once installed, change to OpenMesh's root directory and create a directory named e.g. "buildDebug" (assuming you want to build with debug symbols).
Then type in the following command to initially set up the build environment:

cmake ..            ## Generates the appropriate Makefiles

Note: If the build directory is not a subdirectory of OpenMesh's root folder, replace ".." with OpenMesh's absolute (or relative) path. In order to manually set specific build variables, just type:

ccmake .            ## Configure build environment

This opens the CMake configure tool. Change the CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE variable to "Release" in order to prepare build for release configuration. Now, when everything is set up, just type:

make                ## Build OpenMesh

And optionally:

make doc            ## Build OpenMesh's documentation

The mac application bundle will be found under "Build" in the recently created build folder. It automatically contains all needed shared objects (libs, fonts, textures, etc.).

CMake builds both shared and static under MacOS X.

Project OpenMesh, ©  Visual Computing Institute, RWTH Aachen. Documentation generated using doxygen .