The Intel® C++ Compiler compiles C and C++ source files for Intel® 64 and IA-32 architectures.


You must have a version of Microsoft Visual Studio* installed to use the compiler.

The compiler integrates into the following versions of Microsoft Visual Studio*:

  • Visual Studio* 2015

  • Visual Studio* 2013

  • Visual Studio* 2012

  • Visual Studio* 2010

You typically do not need to set the environment variables on Windows* OS, as the compiler command-line window sets these variables for you automatically. But if you need to set the environment variables, run the environment script as described in the edition-specific Getting Started documentation.

Using the Command Line

Follow these steps to invoke the compiler from the command line:

  1. Open a command prompt.

    • Windows 8.x and Windows 10

      Under the Intel System Studio 2016 product group, select a compiler command prompt.

    • Other versions of Windows*

      Open the Start menu and under Intel System Studio 2016 > Compiler and Performance Libraries > Command prompt with Intel Compiler, select a build environment.

  2. Invoke the compiler as follows:

    icl [options... ] inputfile(s) [/link link_options]

    Use the command icl /help to display all available compiler options.

Using Microsoft Visual Studio*

Building a Binary

To use the Intel® compiler:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio*.

  2. Open an existing project or solution.

  3. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Intel C++.

  4. Click OK in the Confirmation dialog box. This configures the solution to use the Intel® C++ Compiler.

    Visual Studio 2010: you can use Project > Properties General > Platform Toolset to select the Intel® C++ Compiler. This method is equivalent to using the Use Intel C++ menu item, except that you can make the selection in individual build configurations.

  5. Select Build > Rebuild Solution.

The results of the compilation display in the Output window.

Setting Compiler Options

  1. Select Project > Properties. The Property Page for your solution appears.

  2. Locate C/C++ in the list and expand the heading.

  3. Step through the available properties to select your configuration.

Switching to the Microsoft Visual Studio* C++ Compiler

If you are using the Intel® C++ Compiler, you can switch to the Visual C++ Compiler at any time by doing the following:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio* and open a solution or project.

  2. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Visual C++.

This action updates the solution file to use the Microsoft Visual Studio C++ compiler. All configurations of affected projects are automatically cleaned unless you select Do not clean project(s). If you choose not to clean projects, you will need to rebuild updated projects to ensure all source files are compiled with the new compiler.

Switching to the Intel compiler

To switch to the Intel compiler:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio*, and open a solution or project.

  2. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Intel C++.

  3. Click OK in the Confirmation dialog box. This configures the solution to use the Intel C++ compiler.

  4. Select Build > Rebuild Solution.

Start Optimizing Your Code

The compiler comes with several options to help you optimize the performance of your application. To help you get started, use the Performance Guide to learn how to optimize your code. The Performance Guide is an interactive tool that provides suggestions for introducing performance improvements in your C++ application.

Note: The Performance Guide requires that you have a properly licensed version of Intel® VTune™ Amplifier, supplied with the Professional Edition, on your system.

To start the Performance Guide, do the following:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio*.

  2. Open or create a Visual Studio solution in the Solution Explorer pane.

  3. Select Tools > Intel Compiler > Start Performance Guide

  4. Follow the instructions in the wizard.

For more information, see the Performance Guide section in the compiler User and Reference Guides.

Documentation and Resources

Document Description


Online Intel® C++ Compiler code samples -

Learn specific compiler optimizations, features, tools, and programming concepts.

Intel® C++ Compiler 16.0 User and Reference Guide Supplement for Intel® System Studio 2016

This document supplement contains information specific to Intel® System Studio.

User and Reference Guide for Intel® C++ Compiler 16.0

The Intel® Compiler documentation contains information on:

  • How to use the command line or Microsoft* Visual Studio*

  • Support for technologies and architectures, including OpenMP*, Intel® Cilk™ Plus, Intel® Many Integrated Core Architecture (Intel® MIC Architecture), and Intel® Graphics Technology

  • Compiler reference material, including options, program structures, class and math libraries, and much more

Web Resources

Other help

You can access general help for compiler options by entering icl /help at the command line.

If you have a supported version of Microsoft Visual Studio installed, you can access the compiler documentation from the Help menu.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.