From Get docs
Cmake/docs/3.21/command/target link options


New in version 3.13.

Add options to the link step for an executable, shared library or module library target.

target_link_options(<target> [BEFORE]
  [<INTERFACE|PUBLIC|PRIVATE> [items2...] ...])

The named <target> must have been created by a command such as add_executable() or add_library() and must not be an ALIAS target.

This command can be used to add any link options, but alternative commands exist to add libraries (target_link_libraries() or link_libraries()). See documentation of the directory and target LINK_OPTIONS properties.


This command cannot be used to add options for static library targets, since they do not use a linker. To add archiver or MSVC librarian flags, see the STATIC_LIBRARY_OPTIONS target property.

If BEFORE is specified, the content will be prepended to the property instead of being appended.

The INTERFACE, PUBLIC and PRIVATE keywords are required to specify the scope of the following arguments. PRIVATE and PUBLIC items will populate the LINK_OPTIONS property of <target>. PUBLIC and INTERFACE items will populate the INTERFACE_LINK_OPTIONS property of <target>. The following arguments specify link options. Repeated calls for the same <target> append items in the order called.


IMPORTED targets only support INTERFACE items.

Arguments to target_link_options may use "generator expressions" with the syntax $<...>. See the cmake-generator-expressions(7) manual for available expressions. See the cmake-buildsystem(7) manual for more on defining buildsystem properties.

Host And Device Specific Link Options

New in version 3.18: When a device link step is involved, which is controlled by CUDA_SEPARABLE_COMPILATION and CUDA_RESOLVE_DEVICE_SYMBOLS properties and policy CMP0105, the raw options will be delivered to the host and device link steps (wrapped in -Xcompiler or equivalent for device link). Options wrapped with $<DEVICE_LINK:...> generator expression will be used only for the device link step. Options wrapped with $<HOST_LINK:...> generator expression will be used only for the host link step.

Option De-duplication

The final set of options used for a target is constructed by accumulating options from the current target and the usage requirements of its dependencies. The set of options is de-duplicated to avoid repetition.

New in version 3.12: While beneficial for individual options, the de-duplication step can break up option groups. For example, -option A -option B becomes -option A B. One may specify a group of options using shell-like quoting along with a SHELL: prefix. The SHELL: prefix is dropped, and the rest of the option string is parsed using the separate_arguments() UNIX_COMMAND mode. For example, "SHELL:-option A" "SHELL:-option B" becomes -option A -option B.

Handling Compiler Driver Differences

To pass options to the linker tool, each compiler driver has its own syntax. The LINKER: prefix and , separator can be used to specify, in a portable way, options to pass to the linker tool. LINKER: is replaced by the appropriate driver option and , by the appropriate driver separator. The driver prefix and driver separator are given by the values of the CMAKE__LINKER_WRAPPER_FLAG and CMAKE__LINKER_WRAPPER_FLAG_SEP variables.

For example, "LINKER:-z,defs" becomes -Xlinker -z -Xlinker defs for Clang and -Wl,-z,defs for GNU GCC.

The LINKER: prefix can be specified as part of a SHELL: prefix expression.

The LINKER: prefix supports, as an alternative syntax, specification of arguments using the SHELL: prefix and space as separator. The previous example then becomes "LINKER:SHELL:-z defs".


Specifying the SHELL: prefix anywhere other than at the beginning of the LINKER: prefix is not supported.

© 2000–2021 Kitware, Inc. and Contributors
Licensed under the BSD 3-clause License.