Building On Windows

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  • Instructions for building modules

These are instructions for building on Windows

The build family of pages:

Instructions in win/build.txt

These instructions for building on Windows are in win/build.txt in the Git repo.
Instructions for building on Windows.

Fuller instructions that include 
   * Portable Settings
   * Building an Installer
can be found on our wiki at

1. MSVC 2017: Download and install Microsoft Visual Studio 2017

2. Git: Download and install Git, for example by installing:

  Git for Windows:
  and optionally GitExtensions:

 download and run the .msi installer.  GitExtensions has a GUI interface, includes Git for
 Windows and has a Git bash command line in the bottom panel of the screen.

3. Python
  We currently depend on Python 2.7.18 during the build.  We are working on a switch to a Python 3.
  At the time of writing, Python 2.7.18 must be on your path.

4. wxWidgets:

 1) Clone wxWidgets and checkout 3.1.3 from the Audacity fork of the 
    wxWidgets project:

    for example, in the git-bash command line
      mkdir ./wxWidgets
      cd ./wxWidgets
      git clone --recurse-submodules
    IF you forgot the --recurse-submodules, you can correct that later by:
      git submodule update --init

  2) Follow instructions for building at

    We (currently) build the 32 bit DLL version, 
    and Audacity is built 32 bit too.

    Set WXWIN environment variable to the appropriate directory where you installed 
    wxWidgets. This will tell CMake where to find wxWidgets later.

    To set WXWIN, click on Settings (the cogwheel icon from the start menu)
    Then in the 'find settings' search box type 'env'.
    Choose 'Edit the system environment variables'
    Then the 'Environment Variables' button 
    Then in system variables, for variable and value,  add (for example)     
        WXWIN         C:\wxWidgets-3.1.3

    You will be building a dll version with MSVC2017 IDE, so...

    In MSVC 2017 open wx_vc15.sln, and select dll, release.
    Then build.

  3) Having got this far, it is well worth trying out building some wxWidgets
    examples to confirm that building has worked OK.

    If you do decide to do this, 

    $ copy  %WXWIN%\include\msvc\wx\setup.h %WXWIN%\include\wx\

    This means that the examples will see setup.h, which they need.

    To run the samples, if you don't put the dll libs on your path, you'll 
    need to copy the .exe file to the directory where the .dll files are 
    ( %WXWIN%\lib\vcc_dll\ ).

    Alternatively there is a 'working directory' setting in 
    and you can set that to the dll release or debug directory.

5. Audacity

 1) Clone Audacity from the Audacity GitHub project.

    for example, in the git-bash command line
      mkdir ./audacity
      cd ./audacity
      git clone

    Audacity itself does not use/need git submodules.

 2) Open the CMake GUI.
     Set the 'Where is the source code' location to where your copy of the git repo is.
     Set the 'Where to build the binaries' to where you want the results.

    Click on configure.
    (notice where it found / did not find wxWidgets if it did not find wxwidgets check 
    that you set WXWIN correctly )

 3) Click on Generate.

 4) Click on Open Project.

    From here on you should be able to use the project.

    Choose Release or Debug.
    Click compile.


These instructions for variations on building aren't in win/build.txt in the Git repo.

Official Full Releases

Official full releases:

  • Have a GitIdent, visible in the about box build information, that says what branch was used in building.
  • Come with translations
  • May be as a zip file
    • No manual provided
  • May be as a windows installer.
    • These come with help files in html format.
  • Are signed.

Fetching The Manual

We have instructions for fetching the manual on another page.

Building the Installer

The Inno setup installer requires certain files in certain places to be able to produce the installer.

 1. Copy msvcp140.dll and vcruntime140.dll from 
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Community\VC\Redist\MSVC\14.14.26405\x86\Microsoft.VC141.CRT
    to \win\release

    The 64 bit version will not work on 32 bit machines.

Now to actually make the installer...

  1. Install the latest Unicode Inno Setup ( 
  2. Open the Inno Setup script:
  3. Click 'Compile'.
Bulb icon  
  • If installing on Windows 8 or 10, you will need to set permissions on the C:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 5\Languages\dummy directory to allow .isl files to be written there.
  • You will also need to obtain the 'unofficial' .isl files yourself and place them in C:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 5\Languages\unofficial. They aren't installed by Inno setup, but you can obtain them from GitHub.

Making the Zip File

Do this step after making and testing the installer.

  Having installed from the installer

  1. Use 7-zip to create a new archive from the installed files excluding:
    - The manual
    - The unins* files
    - FirstTimeInit.txt

Note that the .exe in this zip file and dlls are not code signed. Audacity loads dlls dynamically at run time, possibly unsigned ones, so signing the exe itself is misleading for security. The integrity and security of the zip file is provided by its published checksukm. The situation is different for the installer where the code signature protects the entire bundle.

Signing the Installer

More detailed information on obtaining and verifying the cert is available at Codesigning On Windows

Codesigning uses a USB dongle (smart card reader) and a timestamp server at certum:

signtool sign /n "James Crook" /t /fd sha256 /v <path-to-audacity-git>\win\Output\audacity-win-2.3.0.exe

If you don;t have the path to signtool.exe pre set, you might find it here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\bin\x64\signtool.exe
Bulb icon To test the signing, upload the installer to dropbox and then download it again. Then double-click to open. When you launch Audacity, you now get a warning about having downloaded from the internet, with the identity of the signing key shown.