How to activate C++ 11 in CMake


When I try to run a CMake generated makefile to compile my program, I get the error that

range based for loops are not supported in C++ 98 mode.

I tried adding add_definitions(-std=c++0x) to my CMakeLists.txt, but it did not help.

I tried this too:


When I do g++ --version, I get:

g++ (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.6.1-9ubuntu3) 4.6.1

I have also tried SET(CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS "-std=c++0x"), which also does not work.

I do not understand how I can activate C++ 11 features using CMake.

Best Solution

CMake 3.1 introduced the CMAKE_CXX_STANDARD variable that you can use. If you know that you will always have CMake 3.1 or later available, you can just write this in your top-level CMakeLists.txt file, or put it right before any new target is defined:


If you need to support older versions of CMake, here is a macro I came up with that you can use:

      set (CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS "${CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS} -std=gnu++11")
    endif ()
  else ()
  endif ()

The macro only supports GCC right now, but it should be straight-forward to expand it to other compilers.

Then you could write use_cxx11() at the top of any CMakeLists.txt file that defines a target that uses C++11.

CMake issue #15943 for clang users targeting macOS

If you are using CMake and clang to target macOS there is a bug that can cause the CMAKE_CXX_STANDARD feature to simply not work (not add any compiler flags). Make sure that you do one of the following things:

  • Use cmake_minimum_required to require CMake 3.0 or later, or

  • Set policy CMP0025 to NEW with the following code at the top of your CMakeLists.txt file before the project command:

      # Fix behavior of CMAKE_CXX_STANDARD when targeting macOS.
      if (POLICY CMP0025)
        cmake_policy(SET CMP0025 NEW)
      endif ()
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