/ Notes On Compiling SQLite On Windows 11

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build SQLite from canonical source on a new Windows 11 PC, as of 2023-11-01:

  1. Install Microsoft Visual Studio. The free "community edition" will work fine. Do a standard install for C++ development. SQLite only needs the "cl" compiler and the "nmake" build tool.

  2. Under the "Start" menu, find "All Apps" then go to "Visual Studio 20XX" and find "x64 Native Tools Command Prompt for VS 20XX". Pin that application to your task bar, as you will use it a lot. Bring up an instance of this command prompt and do all of the subsequent steps in that "x64 Native Tools" command prompt. (Or use "x86" if you want a 32-bit build.) The subsequent steps will not work in a vanilla DOS prompt. Nor will they work in PowerShell.

  3. Install TCL development libraries. This note assumes that you will install the TCL development libraries in the "c:\Tcl" directory. Make adjustments if you want TCL installed somewhere else. SQLite needs both the "tclsh.exe" command-line tool as part of the build process, and the "tcl86.lib" library in order to run tests. You will need TCL version 8.6 or later.

    1. Get the TCL source archive, perhaps from https://www.tcl.tk/software/tcltk/download.html.
    2. Untar or unzip the source archive. CD into the "win/" subfolder of the source tree.
    3. Run: nmake /f makefile.vc release
    4. Run: nmake /f makefile.vc INSTALLDIR=c:\Tcl install
    5. CD to c:\Tcl\lib. In that subfolder make a copy of the "tcl86t.lib" file to the alternative name "tcl86.lib" (omitting the second 't'). Leave the copy in the same directory as the original.
    6. CD to c:\Tcl\bin. Make a copy of the "tclsh86t.exe" file into "tclsh.exe" (without the "86t") in the same directory.
    7. Add c:\Tcl\bin to your %PATH%. To do this, go to Settings and search for "path". Select "edit environment variables for your account" and modify your default PATH accordingly. You will need to close and reopen your command prompts after making this change.

  4. Download the SQLite source tree and unpack it. CD into the toplevel directory of the source tree.

  5. Set the TCLDIR environment variable to point to your TCL installation. Like this:

    • set TCLDIR=c:\Tcl

  6. Run the "Makefile.msc" makefile with an appropriate target. Examples:

    • nmake /f makefile.msc
    • nmake /f makefile.msc sqlite3.c
    • nmake /f makefile.msc devtest
    • nmake /f makefile.msc releasetest
    • nmake /f makefile.msc sqlite3.exe

  7. For a debugging build of the CLI, where the ".treetrace" and ".wheretrace" commands work, add the DEBUG=3 argument to nmake. Like this:

    • nmake /f makefile.msc DEBUG=3 clean sqlite3.exe

32-bit Builds

Doing a 32-bit build is just like doing a 64-bit build with the following minor changes:

  1. Use the "x86 Native Tools Command Prompt" instead of "x64 Native Tools Command Prompt". "x86" instead of "x64".

  2. Use a different installation directory for TCL. The recommended directory is c:\tcl32. Thus you end up with two TCL builds:

    • c:\tcl ← 64-bit (the default)
    • c:\tcl32 ← 32-bit

  3. Ensure that c:\tcl32\bin comes before c:\tcl\bin on your PATH environment variable. You can achieve this using a command like:

    • set PATH=c:\tcl32\bin;%PATH%

Building a DLL

The command the developers use for building the deliverable DLL on the download page is as follows:


That command generates both the sqlite3.dll and sqlite3.def files. The same command works for both 32-bit and 64-bit builds.

Statically Linking The TCL Library

Some utility programs associated with SQLite need to be linked with TCL in order to function. The sqlite3_analyzer.exe program is an example. You can build as described above, and then enter:

nmake /f Makefile.msc sqlite3_analyzer.exe

And you will end up with a working executable. However, that executable will depend on having the "tcl86.dll" library somewhere on your %PATH%. Use the following steps to build an executable that has the TCL library statically linked so that it does not depend on separate DLL:

  1. Use the appropriate "Command Prompt" window - either x86 or x64, depending on whether you want a 32-bit or 64-bit executable.

  2. Untar the TCL source tarball into a fresh directory. CD into the "win/" subfolder.

  3. Run: nmake /f makefile.vc OPTS=nothreads,static shell

  4. CD into the "Release*" subfolder that is created (note the wildcard - the full name of the directory might vary). There you will find the "tcl86s.lib" file. Copy this file into the same directory that you put the "tcl86.lib" on your initial installation. (In this document, that directory is "C:\Tcl32\lib" for 32-bit builds and "C:\Tcl\lib" for 64-bit builds.)

  5. CD into your SQLite source code directory and build the desired utility program, but add the following extra arguments to the nmake command line:

      CCOPTS="-DSTATIC_BUILD" LIBTCL="tcl86s.lib netapi32.lib user32.lib"

    So, for example, to build a statically linked version of sqlite3_analyzer.exe, you might type:

      nmake /f Makefile.msc CCOPTS="-DSTATIC_BUILD" LIBTCL="tcl86s.lib netapi32.lib user32.lib" sqlite3_analyzer.exe

  6. After your executable is built, you can verify that it does not depend on the TCL DLL by running:

      dumpbin /dependents sqlite3_analyzer.exe