CLion 2021.2 Help

Run/debug configurations

CLion uses run/debug configurations to run, debug, and test your code. Each configuration is a named set of startup properties that define what to execute and what parameters and environment should be used.

When you create a new configuration for a specific kind of executable context, you create it from one of the dedicated configuration templates, which implement the startup logic, define the list of parameters and their default values. The list of available templates is predefined in the installation and can only be extended via plugins. However, you can edit default values of parameters in each template to streamline the creation of new configurations.

If the Navigation bar is visible (View | Appearance | Navigation Bar), you can access all available run/debug configurations from the selector on the toolbar.

Run/debug configurations can be created as:

  • Temporary — created every time you run/debug a test, test suite, fixture, or a main() entry use the gutter icons Icons actions execute/ Icons run configurations test state run run.

    The maximum number of temporary configurations is 5. The older ones are automatically deleted when new ones are added. If necessary, you can increase this limit in Settings/Preferences | Advanced Settings | IDE | Temporary Run/Debug configurations limit.

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

So whenever you run/debug or test your code, CLion either uses an existing permanent run/debug configuration or creates a new temporary one.

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

Permanent and temporary configurations have different icons

Create permanent run/debug configurations

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

Save a temporary configuration as permanent

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

    Saving a temporary configuration using the configuration switcher
  • Alternatively, select a temporary configuration in the Run/debug configurations dialog and click Save on the toolbar.

    saving a temporary configuration

CLion provides run/debug configuration templates for different languages, tools, and frameworks. The list of available templates varies depending on the installed and enabled plugins.

Create a run/debug configuration from a template

  1. Open the Run/Debug Configuration dialog in one of the following ways:

    • Select Run | Edit Configurations from the main menu.

    • With the Navigation bar visible (View | Appearance | Navigation Bar), choose Edit Configurations from the run/debug configuration selector.

    • Press Alt+Shift+F10 and then press 0.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configuration dialog, click Icons general add 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 the configuration to run at the same time. If this option is disabled, attempting to re-run the configuration 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 the 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.

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

  2. Select the run/debug configuration you want to share, enable the Store as project file option, and specify the location where the configuration 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
  3. (Optional) If the .idea directory is added to VCS ignored files, the .idea/runConfigurations subfolder will be ignored, too. If you use Git for your project, you can share .idea/runConfigurations only and leave .idea ignored by modifying .gitignore as follows:

    /.idea/* !/.idea/runConfigurations

Run/debug configuration templates

Each type of run/debug configuration is a template that you can edit, so the next time you create a new configuration of that type, its parameters already have the desired values.

Configure the default values for a template

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

  2. In the left-hand pane of the run/debug configuration dialog, click Edit configuration templates.

    Editing a configuration template
  3. In the Run/Debug Configuration Templates dialog that opens, select a configuration type.

  4. Specify the desired default parameters and click OK to save the template.

    Editing a configuration template

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.

  4. Use the Load variables from file field to point CLion to a script that configures the environment. This option is available for CMake, Makefile, Gradle Native, Custom Build, and test configurations (Boost.Test, Catch, Google Test, Doctest, CTest).

    Loading environment variables from a file

    Use the following syntax for setting variables in your script:

    set VAR=value
    export VAR=value

    Note that the environment created by script is applied only to a single launch of the corresponding configuration and takes precedence over custom values.

    The specified script will be run after all the Before launch steps. Running the script prior to building the configuration is not supported at the moment (CPP-11768).

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 group of test configurations. You can configure this behavior with a compound run/debug configuration.

Create a compound run/debug configuration

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, click the Add button or press Alt+Insert, then select Compound.

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

    cmake profile for a configuration included in compound

  5. 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. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

  2. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, 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
  3. Specify the folder name in the text field to the right or accept the default name.

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

  5. 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.

Last modified: 27 September 2021