From Get docs
Cmake/docs/3.21/command/ctest test


Perform the CTest Test Step as a Dashboard Client.

ctest_test([BUILD <build-dir>] [APPEND]
           [START <start-number>]
           [END <end-number>]
           [STRIDE <stride-number>]
           [EXCLUDE <exclude-regex>]
           [INCLUDE <include-regex>]
           [EXCLUDE_LABEL <label-exclude-regex>]
           [INCLUDE_LABEL <label-include-regex>]
           [EXCLUDE_FIXTURE <regex>]
           [EXCLUDE_FIXTURE_SETUP <regex>]
           [EXCLUDE_FIXTURE_CLEANUP <regex>]
           [PARALLEL_LEVEL <level>]
           [RESOURCE_SPEC_FILE <file>]
           [TEST_LOAD <threshold>]
           [STOP_TIME <time-of-day>]
           [RETURN_VALUE <result-var>]
           [CAPTURE_CMAKE_ERROR <result-var>]
           [REPEAT <mode>:<n>]
           [OUTPUT_JUNIT <file>]

Run tests in the project build tree and store results in Test.xml for submission with the ctest_submit() command.

The options are:

BUILD <build-dir>

Specify the top-level build directory. If not given, the CTEST_BINARY_DIRECTORY variable is used.


Mark Test.xml for append to results previously submitted to a dashboard server since the last ctest_start() call. Append semantics are defined by the dashboard server in use. This does not cause results to be appended to a .xml file produced by a previous call to this command.

START <start-number>

Specify the beginning of a range of test numbers.

END <end-number>

Specify the end of a range of test numbers.

STRIDE <stride-number>

Specify the stride by which to step across a range of test numbers.

EXCLUDE <exclude-regex>

Specify a regular expression matching test names to exclude.

INCLUDE <include-regex>

Specify a regular expression matching test names to include. Tests not matching this expression are excluded.

EXCLUDE_LABEL <label-exclude-regex>

Specify a regular expression matching test labels to exclude.

INCLUDE_LABEL <label-include-regex>

Specify a regular expression matching test labels to include. Tests not matching this expression are excluded.


New in version 3.7.

If a test in the set of tests to be executed requires a particular fixture, that fixture's setup and cleanup tests would normally be added to the test set automatically. This option prevents adding setup or cleanup tests for fixtures matching the <regex>. Note that all other fixture behavior is retained, including test dependencies and skipping tests that have fixture setup tests that fail.


New in version 3.7.

Same as EXCLUDE_FIXTURE except only matching setup tests are excluded.


New in version 3.7.

Same as EXCLUDE_FIXTURE except only matching cleanup tests are excluded.


Specify a positive number representing the number of tests to be run in parallel.


New in version 3.16.

Specify a resource specification file. See Resource Allocation for more information.

TEST_LOAD <threshold>

New in version 3.4.

While running tests in parallel, try not to start tests when they may cause the CPU load to pass above a given threshold. If not specified the CTEST_TEST_LOAD variable will be checked, and then the --test-load command-line argument to ctest(1). See also the TestLoad setting in the CTest Test Step.

REPEAT <mode>:<n>

New in version 3.17.

Run tests repeatedly based on the given <mode> up to <n> times. The modes are:


Require each test to run <n> times without failing in order to pass. This is useful in finding sporadic failures in test cases.


Allow each test to run up to <n> times in order to pass. Repeats tests if they fail for any reason. This is useful in tolerating sporadic failures in test cases.


Allow each test to run up to <n> times in order to pass. Repeats tests only if they timeout. This is useful in tolerating sporadic timeouts in test cases on busy machines.


Launch tests in a random order. This may be useful for detecting implicit test dependencies.


New in version 3.18.

Stop the execution of the tests once one has failed.

STOP_TIME <time-of-day>

Specify a time of day at which the tests should all stop running.

RETURN_VALUE <result-var>

Store in the <result-var> variable 0 if all tests passed. Store non-zero if anything went wrong.


New in version 3.7.

Store in the <result-var> variable -1 if there are any errors running the command and prevent ctest from returning non-zero if an error occurs.


New in version 3.21.

Write test results to <file> in JUnit XML format. If <file> is a relative path it will be placed in the build directory. If <file>> already exists it will be overwritten. Note that the resulting JUnit XML file is not uploaded to CDash because it would be redundant with CTest's Test.xml file.


New in version 3.3.

Suppress any CTest-specific non-error messages that would have otherwise been printed to the console. Output from the underlying test command is not affected. Summary info detailing the percentage of passing tests is also unaffected by the QUIET option.


Additional Test Measurements

CTest can parse the output of your tests for extra measurements to report to CDash.

When run as a Dashboard Client, CTest will include these custom measurements in the Test.xml file that gets uploaded to CDash.

Check the CDash test measurement documentation for more information on the types of test measurements that CDash recognizes.

The following example demonstrates how to output a variety of custom test measurements.

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurement type=\"numeric/double\" name=\"score\">28.3</DartMeasurement>"
  << std::endl;

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurement type=\"text/string\" name=\"color\">red</DartMeasurement>"
  << std::endl;

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurement type=\"text/link\" name=\"CMake URL\">https://cmake.org</DartMeasurement>"
  << std::endl;

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurement type=\"text/preformatted\" name=\"Console Output\">" <<
  "line 1.\n" <<
  "  \033[31;1m line 2. Bold red, and indented!\033[0;0ml\n" <<
  "line 3. Not bold or indented...\n" <<
  "</DartMeasurement>" << std::endl;

Image Measurements

The following example demonstrates how to upload test images to CDash.

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurementFile type=\"image/jpg\" name=\"TestImage\">" <<
  "/dir/to/test_img.jpg</DartMeasurementFile>" << std::endl;

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurementFile type=\"image/gif\" name=\"ValidImage\">" <<
  "/dir/to/valid_img.gif</DartMeasurementFile>" << std::endl;

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurementFile type=\"image/png\" name=\"AlgoResult\"> <<
  << std::endl;

Images will be displayed together in an interactive comparison mode on CDash if they are provided with two or more of the following names.

  • TestImage
  • ValidImage
  • BaselineImage
  • DifferenceImage2

By convention, TestImage is the image generated by your test, and ValidImage (or BaselineImage) is basis of comparison used to determine if the test passed or failed.

If another image name is used it will be displayed by CDash as a static image separate from the interactive comparison UI.

Attached Files

The following example demonstrates how to upload non-image files to CDash.

std::cout <<
  "<DartMeasurementFile type=\"file\" name=\"MyTestInputData\">" <<
  "/dir/to/data.csv</DartMeasurementFile>" << std::endl;

If the name of the file to upload is known at configure time, you can use the ATTACHED_FILES or ATTACHED_FILES_ON_FAIL test properties instead.

Custom Details

The following example demonstrates how to specify a custom value for the Test Details field displayed on CDash.

std::cout <<
  "<CTestDetails>My Custom Details Value</CTestDetails>" << std::endl;

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