The PkgConfigDeps is the dependencies generator for pkg-config. Generates pkg-config files named <PKG-NAME>.pc containing a valid pkg-config file syntax.

This generator can be used by name in conanfiles:
class Pkg(ConanFile):
    generators = "PkgConfigDeps"

And it can also be fully instantiated in the conanfile generate() method:

from conan import ConanFile
from import PkgConfigDeps

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"
    requires = "zlib/1.2.11"

    def generate(self):
        pc = PkgConfigDeps(self)

Generated files

pkg-config format files named <PKG-NAME>.pc, containing a valid pkg-config file syntax. The prefix variable is automatically adjusted to the package_folder:


Name: zlib
Description: Conan package: zlib
Version: 1.2.11
Libs: -L"${libdir}" -lz -F Frameworks
Cflags: -I"${includedir}"



By default, the *.pc files will be named following these rules:

  • For packages, it uses the package name, e.g., package zlib/1.2.11 -> zlib.pc.
  • For components, the package name + hyphen + component name, e.g., openssl/3.0.0 with self.cpp_info.components["crypto"] -> openssl-crypto.pc.

You can change that default behavior with the pkg_config_name and pkg_config_aliases properties. See Properties section below.

If a recipe uses components, the files generated will be <[PKG-NAME]-[COMP-NAME]>.pc with their corresponding flags and require relations.

Additionally, a <PKG-NAME>.pc is generated to maintain compatibility for consumers with recipes that start supporting components. This <PKG-NAME>.pc file declares all the components of the package as requires while the rest of the fields will be empty, relying on the propagation of flags coming from the components <[PKG-NAME]-[COMP-NAME]>.pc files.


class PkgConfigDeps(conanfile)

Get all the .pc files content


Save all the *.pc files



When you have a build-require, by default, the *.pc files are not generated. But you can activate it using the build_context_activated attribute:

tool_requires = ["my_tool/0.0.1"]
def generate(self):
    pc = PkgConfigDeps(self)
    # generate the *.pc file for the tool require
    pc.build_context_activated = ["my_tool"]


When you have the same package as a build-require and as a regular require it will cause a conflict in the generator because the file names of the *.pc files will collide as well as the names, requires names, etc.

For example, this is a typical situation with some requirements (capnproto, protobuf…) that contain a tool used to generate source code at build time (so it is a build_require), but also providing a library to link to the final application, so you also have a regular require. Solving this conflict is specially important when we are cross-building because the tool (that will run in the building machine) belongs to a different binary package than the library, that will “run” in the host machine.

You can use the build_context_suffix attribute to specify a suffix for a requirement, so the files/requires/names of the requirement in the build context (tool require) will be renamed:

tool_requires = ["my_tool/0.0.1"]
requires = ["my_tool/0.0.1"]
def generate(self):
    pc = PkgConfigDeps(self)
    # generate the *.pc file for the tool require
    pc.build_context_activated = ["my_tool"]
    # disambiguate the files, requires, names, etc
    pc.build_context_suffix = {"my_tool": "_BUILD"}


The following properties affect the PkgConfigDeps generator:

  • pkg_config_name property will define the name of the generated *.pc file (xxxxx.pc)
  • pkg_config_aliases property sets some aliases of any package/component name for pkg_config generator. This property only accepts list-like Python objects.
  • pkg_config_custom_content property will add user defined content to the .pc files created by this generator as freeform variables. That content can be a string or a dict-like Python object. Notice that the variables declared here will overwrite those ones already defined by Conan. Click here for more information about the type of variables in a *.pc file.
  • system_package_version: property sets a custom version to be used in the Version field belonging to the created *.pc file for the package.
  • component_version property sets a custom version to be used in the Version field belonging to the created *.pc file for that component (takes precedence over the system_package_version property).

These properties can be defined at global cpp_info level or at component level.


def package_info(self):
    custom_content = {"datadir": "${prefix}/share"}  # or "datadir=${prefix}/share"
    self.cpp_info.set_property("pkg_config_custom_content", custom_content)
    self.cpp_info.set_property("pkg_config_name", "myname")
    self.cpp_info.components["mycomponent"].set_property("pkg_config_name", "componentname")
    self.cpp_info.components["mycomponent"].set_property("pkg_config_aliases", ["alias1", "alias2"])
    self.cpp_info.components["mycomponent"].set_property("component_version", "1.14.12")