CLion 2020.2 Help

Run/debug configurations

CLion uses run/debug configurations to run, debug, and test applications. Each configuration is a named set of run/debug startup properties.

CLion generates Run/Debug configurations based on configuration templates. Each template has its own customizable settings. When you create a new configuration out of a certain template, it is generated with the template's settings.

There are two types of run/debug configurations:

  • Temporary – created every time you run/debug a test, test suite, fixture, or a main() entry using the gutter icons icons.actions.execute.svg / icons.runConfigurations.testState.run_run.svg.

  • Permanent – created explicitly from a template or by saving a temporary configuration. Permanent configurations remain as part of your project until you remove them.

Permanent configurations have opaque icons while the icons of temporary configurations are semi-transparent.

Permanent and temporary configurations have different icons

Whenever you perform run, debug, or test operations, CLion either uses an existing run/debug configuration or creates a new temporary one.

Change the maximum number of temporary run/debug configurations

By default, only 5 temporary run/debug configurations are allowed per project. When the limit is exceeded, the oldest temporary run/debug configuration is replaced by the new one. To change the limit:

  1. Call Run | Edit Configurations from the menu or press Alt+Shift+F10 then 0.

  2. Select Templates in the left-hand pane. Change the value in Temporary configurations limit field.

    The Temporary configurations limit field

Create permanent run/debug configurations

CLion provides the following ways to create a permanent run/debug configuration:

Save a temporary configuration as permanent

  • Select the temporary configuration in the run/debug configuration switcher and then click Save Configuration.

    Saving a temporary configuration using the configuration switcher

  • Call Run | Edit Configurations from the main menu or press Alt+Shift+F10 then 0. Select the temporary configuration in the list and click Save button:

    saving a temporary configuration

Create a run/debug configuration from a template

  1. Call Run | Edit Configurations from the main menu or press Alt+Shift+F10 then 0.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configuration dialog, click icons.general.add.svg on the toolbar or press Alt+Insert. The list shows the run/debug configuration templates.

    New run/debug configuration
  3. Specify the run/debug configuration name in the Name field. This name will be shown in the list of the available run/debug configurations.

  4. Select Allow parallel run if you want to allow multiple instances of this program to run at the same time. If this option is disabled, attempting to re-run the application will terminate the active session.

  5. Depending on the chosen template, fill up the configuration settings. For example, CMake Application, Custom Build Application, Gradle / Gradle Native Application.

  6. In the Before launch section, define whether you want to perform any specific actions before launching the application, for example, launch an external tool or another build configuration before run. To skip the build stage, remove Build from Before launch list.

  7. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

Share run/debug configurations

If you are working in a team, you might want to share your run/debug configurations so that your teammates could run the application using the same configuration or enable them to remotely attach to the process you are running.

For these purposes, CLion provides a mechanism to store your run/debug configurations as project files and share them through VCS. The same mechanism can also be used when you want to send your configuration as a file to someone else. This saves a lot of time as run/debug configurations sometimes get sophisticated, and keeping them in sync manually would be tedious and error-prone.

  • Go to the properties of the run/debug configuration you want to share (Run | Edit Configurations), enable the Store as project file option, and specify the location where the file will be stored.

    If compatibility with CLion 2019.3 and earlier is required, store the file in the default location.

    Store as project file box

To learn how to use version control systems in CLion, refer to the Version control topic.

Run/debug configuration templates

You can edit the default values for one or more parameters of a particular template. This way, next time when you create a configuration of that type, the corresponding fields will already contain the specified values.

Change general templates settings

  1. On the left pane of the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, select the Templates node.

    General templates settings

  2. Configure the following settings:

    • Generate run configurations for new CMake targets automatically - clear to disable automatic generation of configurations for new targets.

      By default, CLion automatically creates configurations using the data on CMake project targets and executables from your CMakeLists.txt scripts. This works for the most cases with the following limitations:

      • CLion will not create a new default configuration if the configuration with the same target already exists.

      • CLion will not create a new default configuration if the same configuration has already being created.

      • An old configuration which was created manually will be replaced with the new one created automatically if they have the same name.

    • Delete run configurations for missing CMake targets automatically - clear to disable automatic deletion of the configurations for missing or obsolete targets. This also applies to the configurations created automatically.

    • Confirm rerun with process termination - clear to enable silent start of a new process. By default, CLion prompts for your confirmation for launching a new process if the other process is running.

    • If necessary, change the maximum number of temporary configurations in the Temporary configurations limit field.

Configure the default values for a template

  • In the left-hand pane of the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, expand the Templates node and select the desired configuration type. The corresponding configuration template appears in the right-hand pane.

    Editing a configuration template

    Specify the desired parameters and click Apply to save the template.

Compound run/debug configurations

Suppose you would like to launch multiple run/debug configurations simultaneously. For example, you may want to run several configurations of different types or a sequence of several test configurations. You can configure this behavior with a compound run/debug configuration.

When you run or debug your code using a compound configuration, you actually launch a sequence of configurations in the order they are listed.

Create a compound run/debug configuration

  1. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, click icons.general.add.png or press Alt+Insert, then select Compound.

    compound run/debug configuration

  2. Specify the run/debug configuration name in the Name field. This name will be shown in the list of the available run/debug configurations.

  3. To include a new run/debug configuration into the compound configuration (and choose the desired CMake profile for it), click Add icons.general.add.png and select the desired one from the list. Then select the preferred CMake profile:

    cmake profile for a configuration included in compound

  4. Apply the changes.

Run/debug configuration folders

When there are many run/debug configurations of the same type, you can group them in folders so they become easier to distinguish visually.

Once grouped, the run/debug configurations appear in the list under the corresponding folders.

Grouped run configurations

Create a folder for run/debug configurations

  1. In the Run/Debug Configurations, select a configuration type and click the New Folder icon on the toolbar. A new empty folder for the selected type is created.

    Adding a configuration folder
  2. Specify the folder name in the text field to the right or accept the default name.

  3. Select the desired run/debug configurations and move them under the target folder.

  4. Apply the changes. If a folder is empty, it will not be saved.

When you no longer need a folder, you can delete it Delete. The run/debug configurations grouped under this folder will be moved under the root of the corresponding run/debug configuration type.

Environment variables and program arguments

You can influence the runtime behavior of your app by adding program arguments and environment variables to run/debug configurations.

Add program arguments

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations or choose Edit Configurations from the run/debug configurations selector on the toolbar.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog that opens, select a configuration where you want to pass the arguments.

  3. Type the arguments in the Program arguments field. The arguments should be separated with spaces.

    Click the Expand field icon to expand the text field, so you can view and edit the whole list of arguments.

Add environment variables

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations or choose Edit Configurations from the run/debug configurations selector on the toolbar.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, select a configuration where you want to add the environment variables.

  3. Type the variable name and value: <name>=<value>. If you add several variables, they should be separated with semicolons.

    Alternatively, click the Environment
variables icon and add the variable name and value to the User environment variables list.

    adding environment variables

    In the dialog that opens, you can also see the list of available system environment variables. Clear the Include system environment variables checkbox if you don't want to use the system environment variables for the selected run/debug configuration. For CMake projects, see CMake environment.

Services tool window

You can manage multiple run/debug configurations in the Services tool window. For example, you can start, pause, and stop several applications, track their status, and examine application-specific details.

  1. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, select Templates from the list on the left.

  2. In the right-hand pane, expand the Configurations available in Services section.

  3. Click the Add button and select the configuration type.

    adding configurations to Sevices
    • You can add or remove multiple configuration types one by one.

    • The Services tool window only displays the configuration types for which you have created one or more configurations. If you add a type for which no configuration exists yet, it will not be displayed.

  4. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

    The selected configurations will appear in the Services tool window. To open or hide it, select View | Tool Windows | Services from the main menu.

Last modified: 11 September 2020