• CMake >= 3.15
  • Qt 5.15.x or Qt6 >= 6.2
  • Ninja (Other generators might work but are untested)
  • C++17 capable compiler. Minimum VS2019 on Windows.
  • Qt X11Extras module if on Linux/X11
  • Qt Quick and QuickControls2 modules if using the QtQuick support
  • Qt private development headers, for instance, for Qt5:
    • SUSE: libqt5-qtbase-private-headers-devel
    • Ubuntu, debian-based: qtbase5-private-dev
    • Fedora, redhat-based: qt5-qtbase-private-devel
    • others: consult your distro


Although the build system supports many options, you'll mostly use -DKDDockWidgets_QT6=ON, or don't use any option, which defaults to Qt 5.

By default, KDDW will be built with support for both QtWidgets and QtQuick. If you want to save some binary space and compile time, consider passing -DKDDockWidgets_FRONTENDS="qtwidgets" or -DKDDockWidgets_FRONTENDS="qtquick".

Open a terminal capable of building Qt applications (make sure you have cmake, ninja, compiler, Qt, etc in PATH) and run:

cmake -G Ninja -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/path/where/to/install ../path/to/kddockwidgets
cmake --build .
cmake --build . --target install

If you don't have Qt in PATH, then you'll also need -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/<path_to_qt>/5.15/gcc_x64/ (adjust to your case). It's important that this path contains the lib/cmake/ folder, otherwise you'll get errors about Qt not being found.

Feel free to use your favorite IDE instead.

The installation directory defaults to c:\KDAB\KDDockWidgets-<version> on Windows and /usr/local/KDAB/KDDockWidgets-<version> on non-Windows.

Change the installation location by passing the option -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/install/path to CMake.


Now that you've built and installed KDDW, you can use it.

Let's start by building an example:

cd path/to/kddockwidgets/examples/dockwidgets/
cmake -G Ninja -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/where/to/install
cmake --build .

Linking your own app to KDDockWidgets

You can simply inspect the examples to see how it's done. But the gist is:

Edit your CMakeLists.txt:

find_package(KDDockWidgets REQUIRED) // For Qt6, use KDDockWidgets-qt6 instead here.
target_link_libraries(myapp PRIVATE KDAB::kddockwidgets)

Finally, don't forget to build your app with -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/installed/kddw/.

Using with Non-CMake build systems

When consuming KDDW via CMake some details are implicitly setup for you. If you don't use CMake then you'll need to do the following manually:

  • KDDW_FRONTEND_QT needs to be defined.
  • KDDW_FRONTEND_QTWIDGETS needs to be defined, if QtWidgets.
  • KDDW_FRONTEND_QTQUICK needs to be defined, if QtQuick.

The above can be achieved by passing, for example -DKDDW_FRONTEND_QT -DKDDW_FRONTEND_QTWIDGETS to your compiler.

Additionally, the include path needs to be setup. This is usually ${YOUR_KDDW_INSTALL_PREFIX}/include/

And finally, the library needs to be linked against. It's called (Qt5) or (Qt6). On Windows it's called kddockwidgets2.lib or kddockwidgets-qt62.lib, respectively. Note that debug builds are suffixed with d, for example kddockwidgets2d.lib.