Assuming a single source file named main.cpp, the command to compile and link an non-optimized executable is as follows (Compiling without optimization is useful for initial development and debugging, although [-Og](<>) is officially recommended for newer GCC versions).

g++ -o app -Wall main.cpp -O0

To produce an optimized executable for use in production, use one of the [-O](<>) options (see: [-O1](<>), [-O2](<>), [-O3](<>), [-Os](<>), [-Ofast](<>)):

g++ -o app -Wall -O2 main.cpp

If the -O option is omitted, -O0, which means no optimizations, is used as default (specifying -O without a number resolves to -O1).

Alternatively, use optimization flags from the O groups (or more experimental optimizations) directly. The following example builds with -O2 optimization, plus one flag from the -O3 optimization level:

g++ -o app -Wall -O2 -ftree-partial-pre main.cpp

To produce a platform-specific optimized executable (for use in production on the machine with the same architecture), use:

g++ -o app -Wall -O2 -march=native main.cpp

Either of the above will produce a binary file that can be run with .\\app.exe on Windows and ./app on Linux, Mac OS, etc.

The [-o](<>) flag can also be skipped. In this case, GCC will create default output executable a.exe on Windows and a.out on Unix-like systems. To compile a file without linking it, use the [-c](<>) option:

g++ -o file.o -Wall -c file.cpp

This produces an object file named file.o which can later be linked with other files to produce a binary:

g++ -o app file.o otherfile.o

More about optimization options can be found at Of particular note are -Og (optimization with an emphasis on debugging experience – recommended for the standard edit-compile-debug cycle) and -Ofast (all optimizations, including ones disregarding strict standards compliance).

The [-Wall](<>) flag enables warnings for many common errors and should always be used. To improve code quality it is often encouraged also to use [-Wextra](<>) and other warning flags which are not automatically enabled by -Wall and -Wextra.

If the code expects a specific C++ standard, specify which standard to use by including the [-std=](<>) flag. Supported values correspond to the year of finalization for each version of the ISO C++ standard. As of GCC 6.1.0, valid values for the std= flag are c++98/c++03, c++11, c++14, and c++17/c++1z. Values separated by a forward slash are equivalent.

g++ -std=c++11 <file>

GCC includes some compiler-specific extensions that are disabled when they conflict with a standard specified by the -std= flag. To compile with all extensions enabled, the value gnu++XX may be used, where XX is any of the years used by the c++ values listed above.

The default standard will be used if none is specified. For versions of GCC prior to 6.1.0, the default is -std=gnu++03; in GCC 6.1.0 and greater, the default is -std=gnu++14.