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Visual Studio

Visual Studio is the official Windows development environment from Microsoft.

The Community editions are free for open source development and have all the features needed for building and developing Blender. Professional editions work fine as well.

Generating the Project

A Visual Studio project is automatically created as part of the process of building Blender on Windows.

Those instructions will generate both the project and compile Blender in one command. To generate just the project, the following command can be used instead:

cd C:\blender-git\blender
make full nobuild

If you want to customize your build (i.e. select a Visual Studio version, platform architecture, of Blender feature set), you can get a list of customizable options by typing:

make help

Once the batch file finishes it should tell you where the project files have been written, for example:

-- Build files have been written to: c:/blender-git/build_windows_Full_x64_vc14_Release


In the build folder, find a Blender.sln find which you can open with the Visual Studio IDE.

Then in the Solution Explorer, find the INSTALL target, right click and select "Build". This will both compile Blender, and install all the required files to the Blender output folder.

Once the install target has been built once, you can now work with the code as usual in Visual Studio. Build > Build Solution can be used to rebuild after making changes.


If you skip the INSTALL step, Blender will fail to start. You don't have to run this for every build, but it should be run after big changes like make update, switching branches or changing from release to debug configuration.


Visual Studio has built-in support for formatting and automatically uses the .clang-format file.

However, the version of clang-format shipped with Visual Studio might not understand all the directives inside .clang-format file. You might want to point VS to Blender's clang-format. Under Tools -> Options -> C/C++ -> Code Style -> Formatting -> General, check "Use custom path to clang-format.exe", and point it to lib\windows_x64\llvm\bin\clang-format.exe

It is recommended to format on save, to avoid forgetting.