GCC looks in several different places for headers. On a normal Unix
system, if you do not instruct it otherwise, it will look for headers
/usr/local/include /usr/lib/gcc-lib/target/version/include /usr/target/include /usr/include
For C++ programs, it will also look in
first. In the above, target is the canonical name of the system
GCC was configured to compile code for; often but not always the same as
the canonical name of the system it runs on. version is the
version of GCC in use.
You can add to this list with the
option. All the directories named by
-I are searched, in
left-to-right order, before the default directories. The only
exception is when
dir is already searched by default. In
this case, the option is ignored and the search order for system
directories remains unchanged.
Duplicate directories are removed from the quote and bracket search chains before the two chains are merged to make the final search chain. Thus, it is possible for a directory to occur twice in the final search chain if it was specified in both the quote and bracket chains.
You can prevent GCC from searching any of the default directories with
-nostdinc option. This is useful when you are compiling an
operating system kernel or some other program that does not use the
standard C library facilities, or the standard C library itself.
-I options are not ignored as described above when
-nostdinc is in effect.
GCC looks for headers requested with
first in the directory containing the current file, then in the same
places it would have looked for a header requested with angle brackets.
For example, if
#include "types.h", GCC looks for
types.h first in
/usr/include/sys, then in its usual search path.
#line (see Line Control) does not change GCC's idea of the
directory containing the current file.
You may put
-I- at any point in your list of
This has two effects. First, directories appearing before the
-I- in the list are searched only for headers requested with
quote marks. Directories after
-I- are searched for all
headers. Second, the directory containing the current file is not
searched for anything, unless it happens to be one of the directories
named by an
-I. -I- is not the same as no
-I options at all, and does
not cause the same behavior for
<> includes that
includes get with no special options.
-I. searches the
compiler's current working directory for header files. That may or may
not be the same as the directory containing the current file.
If you need to look for headers in a directory named
There are several more ways to adjust the header search path. They are generally less useful. See Invocation.