Using OpenCV with gcc and CMake


We assume that you have successfully installed OpenCV in your workstation.

  • The easiest way of using OpenCV in your code is to use CMake. A few advantages (taken from the Wiki):
    1. No need to change anything when porting between Linux and Windows
    2. Can easily be combined with other tools by CMake( i.e. Qt, ITK and VTK )
  • If you are not familiar with CMake, checkout the tutorial on its website.


Create a program using OpenCV

Let’s use a simple program such as DisplayImage.cpp shown below.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <opencv2/opencv.hpp>

using namespace cv;

int main( int argc, char** argv )
  Mat image;
  image = imread( argv[1], 1 );

  if( argc != 2 || ! )
      printf( "No image data \n" );
      return -1;

  namedWindow( "Display Image", CV_WINDOW_AUTOSIZE );
  imshow( "Display Image", image );


  return 0;

Create a CMake file

Now you have to create your CMakeLists.txt file. It should look like this:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8)
project( DisplayImage )
find_package( OpenCV REQUIRED )
add_executable( DisplayImage DisplayImage.cpp )
target_link_libraries( DisplayImage ${OpenCV_LIBS} )

Generate the executable

This part is easy, just proceed as with any other project using CMake:

cd <DisplayImage_directory>
cmake .


By now you should have an executable (called DisplayImage in this case). You just have to run it giving an image location as an argument, i.e.:

./DisplayImage lena.jpg

You should get a nice window as the one shown below:

Display Image - Lena