Windows installation

Here is explained how to download, compile and use ACADO toolkit with CMake build system in Windows.

MATLAB installation

The instructions below are for building of the C++ library. If you are looking for the instructions on how to install and use the MATLAB interface, please click here.

Installation for usage within Cygwin


  • Go to the Cygwin website, download and execute the setup program. This may require administrator priveleges.

  • Follow the instructions of the installation program. Make sure that you chose an installation path without any spaces (e.g. c:/cygwin).

  • In “select packages” step, select at least the following packages for installation:

    • Devel category: binutils, cmake, (doxygen), gcc4, gcc4-core, gcc4-g++, make, git.

    • Graphics category: gnuplot.

    • X11 category: xinit.

  • Click next and wait for the automatic installation.

  • Start cygwin (a linux terminal will open). To use plotting, you need to open a terminal with the X-server. You can do this directly typing in “run” field:

C:\cygwin\bin\run.exe /usr/bin/bash.exe -l -c /usr/bin/startxwin.exe
  • Type in the terminal:

cp /usr/bin/make.exe /usr/bin/gmake.exe


Please download the toolkit code. Our suggestion is to always clone stable branch:

git clone -b stable ACADOtoolkit

We will refer to the ACADOtoolkit folder as <ACADO_ROOT>.

Go to ACADOtoolkit folder and create a build folder for an out-of-source build:

cd ACADOtoolkit
mkdir build
cd build

Run CMake to generate makefiles and start the building process:

cmake ..

Check whether the installation was successful by running an example:

cd ..
cd examples/getting_started

Now you can proceed to the documentation related page, where you can find out more about tutorials, source code documentation etc.


In case you want to compile ACADO in debug mode, you can run CMake like this:

cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..

Installation for usage with Visual Studio


  • Visual Studio Express Edition can be obtained here. Please always download the latest version.

  • GIT client, called tortoisegit, can be downloaded here.

  • A tool for building the source code, called CMake, can be downloaded from this webpage.

  • Windows binaries for the visualization program Gnuplot can be downloaded here.

  • A tool for generation of API documentation, Doxygen, can be download here.


Gnuplot and Doxygen are optional. ACADO can work without Gnuplot and/or Doxygen, but in this case you will not be able to visualize results and/or generate API documentation.


Now you can download the toolkit code by cloning the GIT repository:

  • Open your file manager and make a folder called “ACADOtoolkit”.

  • Open tortoise git application and fill in the fields as described here:

    • Enter the URL for cloning. Our suggestion is to always check out stable branch

    • Point “Directory” field to the ACADOtoolkit folder.

    • Check the “Branch” field and enter stable.

  • Click “OK” and wait for the code to be downloaded.

After the checkout, you will need to generate a Visual Studio (VS) solution (a set of VS projects). For this purpose:

  • Make a folder called “build” inside “ACADOtoolkit” folder you just created.

  • Start CMake application (from the “Start” menu).

  • “Where is the source code” field: navigate to the folder “ACADOtoolkit”

  • “Where to build the binaries” field: navigate to the folder “ACADOtoolkit/build”

  • Gnuplot related:

    • By default, CMake will search for a Gnuplot executable in folder “C:/gnuplot/bin”.

    • If your Gnuplot installation is not installed there then you have to enter the absolute path of the executable in the “Value” field corresponding to variable “GNUPLOT_EXECUTABLE_PATH” in the CMake window.

  • Click “Configure”. You will be asked to select a version of VS that is installed on your computer – please select exactly the one you have.

    • Gnuplot related: If CMake found the Gnuplot executable you should see a line in the log box (at the bottom of the CMake window) stating: “Looking for Gnuplot executable: found.”. Otherwise, it will state “… not found.”, and in this case return to the previous step.

  • Click “Generate”. This will trigger generation of a VS solution.

OK, now we have generated a VS solution that will build the ACADO toolkit libraries and examples. It is the time to start building ACADO libraries and examples:

  • Please start Visual Studio now (from the “Start” menu).

  • Click “File” -> “Open” and select the ACADO.sln file inside “ACADOtoolkit/build” folder.

  • Click “Debug” -> “Build solution” and wait until libraries and examples are built.

Alternative code download

If for any reason you cannot download the code using GIT or you do not want to use GIT (this is not encouraged!), you can download the code in a zip archive

  1. current code from the stable branch or

  2. current code from the master branch

Those archives are automatically updated after each successfully compiled and tested commit we push to the GIT repository.