cmake generator

If you are using CMake to build your project, you can use the cmake generator to define all your requirements information in cmake syntax. It creates a file named conanbuildinfo.cmake that can be imported from your CMakeLists.txt.




When conan install is executed, a file named conanbuildinfo.cmake is created.

We can include conanbuildinfo.cmake in our project’s CMakeLists.txt to manage our requirements. The inclusion of conanbuildinfo.cmake doesn’t alter cmake environment at all, it just provides CONAN_ variables and some useful macros.

Global variables approach

The simplest way to consume it would be to invoke the conan_basic_setup() macro, which will basically set global include directories, libraries directories, definitions, etc. so typically is enough to do:


add_executable(timer timer.cpp)
target_link_libraries(timer ${CONAN_LIBS})

The conan_basic_setup() is split in smaller macros, that should be self explanatory. If you need to do something different, you can just use them individually.


This approach makes all dependencies visible to all CMake targets and may also increase the build times due to unneeded include and library path components. This is particularly relevant if you have multiple targets with different dependencies. In that case, you should consider using the Targets approach.

Targets approach

For modern cmake (>=3.1.2), you can use the following approach:


add_executable(timer timer.cpp)
target_link_libraries(timer CONAN_PKG::Poco)

Using TARGETS as argument, conan_basic_setup() will internally call the macro conan_define_targets() which defines cmake INTERFACE IMPORTED targets, one per package. These targets, named CONAN_PKG::PackageName can be used to link with, instead of using global cmake setup.

See also

Check the CMake generator section to read more.