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The latest version of this topic can be found at Pseudotargets.

A pseudotarget is a label used in place of a filename in a dependency line. It is interpreted as a file that does not exist, and so is out-of-date. NMAKE assumes a pseudotarget's timestamp is the most recent of all its dependents. If it has no dependents, the current time is assumed. If a pseudotarget is used as a target, its commands are always executed. A pseudotarget used as a dependent must also appear as a target in another dependency. However, that dependency does not need to have a commands block.

Pseudotarget names follow the filename syntax rules for targets. However, if the name does not have an extension (that is, does not contain a period), it can exceed the 8-character limit for filenames and can be up to 256 characters long.