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Welcome to this quick guide for those interested in getting started with Dear ImGui using Linux and Windows.

Dear ImGui is a library written in C++ (integrated with C, C#, Java, JavaScript, Rust, Go, etc), that enables programmers to build user interfaces in a quick and simple manner, allowing fast iteration times during development. In the words of its own developers:

“It favors simplicity and productivity toward this goal and lacks certain features commonly found in more high-level libraries (…) is particularly suited to integration in game engines (for tooling), real-time 3D applications, fullscreen applications, embedded applications, or any applications on console platforms where operating system features are non-standard.”

dear imgui linux windows

Quick guide to create a project with Dear ImGui


  • Git knowledge.
  • Programming knowledge (intermediate level).
  • C/C++ knowledge.

Quick overview

Before starting, it could result Antes de iniciar, it may be illustrative to take a look at the main code of the example, as well as the final result it produces:

dear imgui linux windows

// 1. Show the big demo window (Most of the sample code is in ImGui::ShowDemoWindow()! You can browse its code to learn more about Dear ImGui!).
if (show_demo_window)

// 2. Show a simple window that we create ourselves. We use a Begin/End pair to create a named window.
    static float f = 0.0f;
    static int counter = 0;

    ImGui::Begin("Hello, world!");                          // Create a window called "Hello, world!" and append into it.

    ImGui::Text("This is some useful text.");               // Display some text (you can use a format strings too)
    ImGui::Checkbox("Demo Window", &show_demo_window);      // Edit bools storing our window open/close state
    ImGui::Checkbox("Another Window", &show_another_window);

    ImGui::SliderFloat("float", &f, 0.0f, 1.0f);            // Edit 1 float using a slider from 0.0f to 1.0f
    ImGui::ColorEdit3("clear color", (float*)&clear_color); // Edit 3 floats representing a color

    if (ImGui::Button("Button"))                            // Buttons return true when clicked (most widgets return true when edited/activated)
    ImGui::Text("counter = %d", counter);

    ImGui::Text("Application average %.3f ms/frame (%.1f FPS)", 1000.0f / io.Framerate, io.Framerate);

// 3. Show another simple window.
if (show_another_window)
    ImGui::Begin("Another Window", &show_another_window);   // Pass a pointer to our bool variable (the window will have a closing button that will clear the bool when clicked)
    ImGui::Text("Hello from another window!");
    if (ImGui::Button("Close Me"))
        show_another_window = false;

As you can see, it is a simple and compact code, especially compare it against other APIs or libraries to create user interfaces.

Quick start

We will use the official Dear ImGui example glfw-opengl3 as base.

  1. Create a new Git repository.

  2. Inside the repo use the following command to add ImGui as a submodule:

    git submodule add https://github.com/ocornut/imgui.git 
  3. Create a file named main.cpp (link has file contents). This file contains the code that we’ve reviewed previously and additional instructions to create a window with GLFW.


  1. Create a file named Makefile (link has file contents).

  2. Install GLFW Development library, depending on your distribution this may vary, for example:

    • Fedora:

      sudo dnf install glfw-devel     
    • Ubuntu:

      apt-get install libglfw-dev     
  3. Execute make while in the project root. Inside bin/ we will find the compiled executable.


  1. Create a file named imgui-test.vcxproj (link has file contents).

  2. Download GLFW 64-bit pre-compiled binaries for Windows. Open zip file inside the folder glfw-3.3.8.bin.WIN64 and extract contents in the project folder win-libs/glfw (create any missing folders). In the end, it should look like this:

project library folder

Project is configured to run with Visual Studio 2022, in case that you want to use another version, edit imgui-test.vcxproj (searching for vc2022 and replacing it with any of the available versions, as seen in the previous image).

  1. Open the project with Visual Studio and run it.

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