Building Qt5 with Visual Studio 2012 / Visual Studio 2013, and integrating with the IDE

This method is tested to work on Visual Studio 2013. Pre-built binaries using Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 are available here, including OpenGL versions.

Step 1: The Setup

  1. Download and install RapidEE here. RapidEE is a windows environment variables editor. It is extremely useful for the rest of this process (and just in general).

  2. Install the DirectX 11 SDK. It is now part of the Windows 8 SDK, so you first have to install the DirectX 10 SDK, which you can get here (but see warning in next sentence). If you have the Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package installed, and you probably do (it is automatically installed along with VS 2010), follow the steps outlined here to assist with the DirectX 10 installation. Once you have the DirectX 10 SDK installed, download and install the Windows 8 SDK here, which contains the DirectX 11 SDK. Yes, this is a pain, but unless you know you have the DirectX 11 SDK, the Qt build will fail.

  3. Install Python for Windows (I’ve heard 2.6+, working with 3.3) from or Anaconda Python.

  4. Install Perl for Windows from ActiveState.

Step 2: Gitting (and building) Qt5 (yes, that means Git)

  1. Follow the installation guide for Windows at the qt-project website.


    To summarize the details from the above link and from the following notes (PLEASE SEE FOLLOWING NOTES if you have any errors; they might be answered):

    • Uninstall Avast (if you have this installed) to avoid build errors. Yes, that literally means uninstall it. Remove it 100% from your system. Deactivating it will not work. See detailed notes below.

    • Note for the first steps: DO NOT use SmartGit for the first git pull, below (unless you really know what you’re doing), as SmartGit’s defaults will pull everything, and that’s not what you want.

    • Git for Windows must be installed.

    • Decide where you want to put the Qt installation, and cd to the directory that will contain the new installation from any Command Prompt window. (Because the process is so fragile and error-prone, I personally put it directly in C:, but this is likely not necessary).

    • From the above directory, execute:

      git clone git:// qt5

      This is fast. Once complete, you should be on the ‘stable’ branch, but you can always run git checkout stable after cding into the newly-created qt5 directory, just to be sure. Using git checkout 5.4.1 is confirmed to work with VS2013 64-bit.

    • Close out of your current command prompt window (if it’s not a Visual Studio command prompt window) before proceeding to the next step. This is to make sure you’re using the Visual Studio command prompt window in the next steps.

    • Next run the 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit VS Tools command prompt (depending on whether you’re building Qt5 as 32- or 64-bit). To access this, you must find it through the Start menu – go to Program Files -> [Microsoft] Visual Studio 2012/2013 -> Visual Studio Tools, and you’ll see it in there with a funny name; the name should include the phrase Native Tools; the 32-bit version will have x86 in the name and the 64-bit version will have x64 in the name.

    • cd into the newly-created qt5 directory from the step above.

    • From within the Visual Studio command prompt, the remainder of the Qt submodules must be downloaded:

      perl ./init-repository --no-webkit

      It takes kind of a while to execute this step, because it has to download a lot, but it’s not too terrible on a decent connection.

    • Then download any remaining OPTIONAL submodules that init-repository does not download – SmartGit works well only starting at this stage (see comments below).

    • Once the download of Qt is complete, the following command prepares the build environment (it should also be executed using the [32|64] VS Native Tools Command Prompt):

      configure -developer-build -opensource -confirm-license -mp -nomake examples -nomake tests -debug-and-release -c++11 -no-warnings-are-errors -platform win32-msvc2012.

      Notes on this command line: the c++11 option might not be necessary with the VS2012 compiler, but works with VS2013; the -no-warnings-are-errors is necessary in case you get errors on a 64-bit automatic build of ANGLE; -platform is automatically set to win32-msvc2012, so by default the 32-bit build of Qt is used, and -platform probably does not need to be supplied at the command line (EVEN if you have previous versions of VS installed). For VS2013, use -platform win32-msvc2013.

      It takes a few minutes to execute this step, but it’s not so bad.

    • Finally, the command to actually build Qt on the system (also run within the VS Native Tools Command Prompt) is simply:


      Expect to wait hours for the build to complete. If you specified an output folder with -prefix (see notes below), then use nmake install, otherwise that’s it.


General Notes

In case you’re confused from the above-linked documentation, just an FYI that the ANGLE library will be used (by default) instead of OpenGL, and that’s why you had to install DirectX 11, above.

Make sure that you use the VS Native Tools Command Prompt to run all commands from the above link (that is, perl .\init-repository --no-webkit, configure, and nmake). You will use the [32|64] bit command prompt (x86 or x64), depending on whether you are building Qt as 32-bit or 64-bit. If you install perl with the Command Prompt open (make sure it is in the PATH), you will need to restart the Command Prompt for perl to be recognized as a command.

When running “init-repository” (from the steps in the above link), it’s not clear from the documentation, but you must execute this via perl; i.e. perl ./init-repository --no-webkit. The configure and nmake commands, however, are called directly.

One very useful option to pass to configure is -mp, which causes Qt to build on multiple cores in parallel, significantly speeding up the (long) build time.

To specify an output folder add the -prefix [outfolder] to the configure command. For example, use -prefix %CD%\output\x64\vc12 would be a suitable output (sub)folder for a 64-bit Visual Studio 2013 (12.0) build.

Unicode Support (ICU)

If you want Unicode support (via ICU), pay special attention to the instructions noted within the link above. In summary, ICU must be built from scratch in VS 2012, as the only prebuilt ICU binaries for Windows are for VS 2010. Building in VS 2012 is painless – simply locate the ICU solution (.sln) in <icuroot>\icu\source\allinone, and build in both Debug and Release mode (either in 32-bit or 64-bit mode, depending on which mode you’re building Qt in – DO NOT build in the other bitness, because ICU will overwrite the output folder with the binaries). (The Qt build process will properly locate the debug vs. release build of ICU.) It should build without errors. Then, add the path to <icuroot>\lib as a string entry in a (probably) NEW Windows environment variable called “LIB” (you can use Rapid EE for this; make LIB an “expandable string” in RapidEE even though there’s only 1 entry), and also add the path to <icuroot>\include as a string entry in a (probably) NEW Windows environment variable called “INCLUDE”. (Note: Adding these paths to the PATH variable will not work.) After Qt is built, you can remove all of these entries you’ve just added. Also, do add the runtime path to the ICU dll’s (<icuroot>\bin) to the environment’s PATH variable, or the Qt build process (specifically, when uic.exe runs) will give a deceptive and misleading error. Finally, on the configure command line (below), be sure to add -icu as an additional command-line parameter.

ICU Failure:

Currently, there seems to be a bug building Qt5 with the VS2012 compiler WHEN ICU IS ENABLED. Specifically, qtbase\src\corelib\codecs\qtextcodec.cpp Line 688 (Qt5 v5.02) fails to return a codec for codec name “US-ASCII” (the codec is NULL), causing “lrelease.exe” to crash when trying to dereference the codec later (I have lost track of that file/line number, but it is an obvious dereference of the NULL codec variable). Unfortunately, this means that to my knowledge, WebKit cannot be built with (at least the) 32-bit build of Qt5 with the VS2012 compiler, because WebKit requires ICU.

If anyone is able to build Qt5 with the VS2012 compiler with ICU enabled, please update this Wiki saying so.

ICU Clarification:

If you have ICU in your path, Qt will automatically built it. In other words, the flag “-icu” is there implicitly. However, this causes an error with “lrelease.exe” as mentioned above. So the way around this would be to add the flag, -no-icu to the configure command

Additional Submodules

If you want submodules in addition to the default submodules, you can use SmartGit (or command line) after you complete the init-repository command. SmartGit is perhaps easiest, because you do not need to copy the path to the command line, but can use the user interface directly.

WARNING: DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE OPTIONAL qlalr SUBMODULE, as it will not build in combination with the overall Qt build, and is not necessary for users of Qt, but is only used for internal Qt development.

WARNING: A shell command line, followed by perl .\init-repository --no-webkit, must be used (NOT SmartGit); these steps will properly only download the default Qt submodules. You must not use SmartGit to clone and download the Git files from git:// because SmartGit does not currently handle the submodules properly. Instead, open a standard Windows shell command prompt (using any command-prompt application, not necessarily the VS Tools command prompt), and (assuming Git is properly installed on the system; a SmartGit installation might or might not do this automatically; if it does not, go to Git for Windows and install directly) type git clone git:// directly from the command line; perhaps follow that with git checkout stable (I’m not sure if this branch is checked out by default); then follow that with the command line perl .\init-repository --no-webkit to pull down the DEFAULT repositories (except WebKit, which requires ICU and ICU seemingly cannot be built in 32-bit Qt5 with VS2012; see comments).

The steps for downloading all necessary Qt source files therefore are:
1. Use a Windows command line to execute the initial git clone git://;
2. Execute perl .\init-repository --no-webkit from within a VS Tools 2012 Command Prompt; and then optionally
3. Use SmartGit (from above link) (or equivalent) to “open an existing project” (choose the Qt5 root folder) and do a Pull from within SmartGit to download any non-default repositories (but do not download qlalr). That’s it; you have all necessary and optional Qt files (including submodules) on your system.

If anybody discovers other optional submodules that fail to build and/or are for internal use only (besides qlalr), please update this Wiki to specify them.

In general, the default submodules obtained via perl .\init-repository --no-webkit are sufficient. If you know, or later find out, that you other (non-default) modules, you can always add them later.

General Problems

If at some point you get the error saying that the command “python” (or anything similar) is not recognized, just check that the folder containing python.exe (or the appropriate .exe) is part of the path variable. If it is not, add it (use RapidEE as noted above for convenience) and try what you were doing again. If it is there, make sure you have restarted your command prompt AFTER the addition of the command to the path.

Two other path-related issues are important to note (quoted from the documentation associated with the link above): “Make sure the perl executable is found in the path before the perl executable provided by msysgit, since the latter is outdated“; and “You might not be able to build if sh.exe is in your PATH (for example due to a git or msys installation). Such an error is indicated by qt5-srcqtbasebinqmake.exe: command not found and alike. In this case, make sure that sh.exe is not in your path. You will have to re-configure if your installation is already configured.

During the process, you may encounter an error using nmake on a file. If you do, just go into that directory and force build the problem file. Then begin the nmake process on Qt5 again.

Specific Problems

WARNING: You may need to disable antivirus software AND SANDBOXING during the Qt nmake process (and, to be safe, throughout this entire process). Internally, Qt executes a number of executables that antivirus programs can interfere with (sometimes silently). In particular, if you have any sandboxing software, be SURE to disable sandboxing.

WARNING: AVAST! Sandbox users: Avast Sandbox has a bug in which even when you disable Avast’s auto-sandbox, the sandbox will NOT turn off and it will silently sandbox all resource files automatically created by Qt’s rcc program during Qt’s build process. The Qt build ALWAYS fails for any user who has installed the Avast autosandbox feature, EVEN WITH AUTO-SANDBOXING TURNED OFF. THE ONLY WAY TO OVERCOME THIS ISSUE IS TO COMPLETELY UNINSTALL AVAST! FROM YOUR SYSTEM before building Qt. You can reinstall Avast! after the Qt build is complete.

The compilation of Qt5 can take a long time (hours, even with the -mp multithreading option). Patience.

Step 3: Integrating Qt5 with Visual Studio 2012

  1. Download and install the Visual Studio Qt5 addin. It is in the “Other Downloads” section near the bottom of the page, and will not work with Visual Studio Express.

  2. Open Visual Studio 2012, and go to Qt Options (It’s under “Qt5” on the top menu bar).

  3. In the Qt Versions tab, check to see if Qt5 is already there. If it is not, click add, choose a version name (probably a name such as 5.x.x), and navigate to the folder containing qmake.exe (usually C:\Qt\qt5\qtbase).

  4. Exit the Qt Options dialog.

  5. Create a new Visual Studio Project. When you see the New Project dialog, you should see the Qt5 Projects Template option.

  6. Once you have your new Qt Project, right click on it and select “Convert to QMake generated project”. Build the project, then right click on it again and select “Convert project to Qt Add-in project”. Build again, then run. You should now have a working Qt Project.

Add Qt5 to an existing Visual Studio 2012 VC++ project

This section may or may not work for you. If you run into problems or have additional/better solutions, please leave a comment or edit the appropriate step.

  1. Right-click on your project in VS, and choose “unload project”. Right click on the project again, and select “edit [project name].vcxproj”. This opens the project file so you can add Qt5 to it.

  2. Go down to the Global PropertyGroup, and add or change the <Keyword> to Qt4VSv1.0.

  3. Reload the project, then right-click and select “Convert project to Qt Add-in project”

  4. Wait for the conversion to finish (it does not take more than a couple seconds), then choose Qt5>Project Settings. Go to the Modules tab, and check the modules you would like your project to rely on (the basic ones are Core, Widgets, and GUI).

  5. Following the steps here, add the directory $(QTDIR)\include.


    If at any time you are including windows.h, you need to #define NOMINMAX before doing so to prevent conflict with qdatetime.h.

    Once the above steps are done, you can make your project usable by Qt Creator by selecting Qt5>Create basic .pro file.

ENDING NOTES: If you have a question related to the information contained in this guide, please post it as a new question (not an answer here), and the answer or a link to the answer may get added.

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