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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

Special Characters in a Makefile

To use an NMAKE special character as a literal character, place a caret (^) in front of it. NMAKE ignores carets that precede other characters. The special characters are:

: ; # ( ) $ ^ \ { } ! @ —

A caret (^) within a quoted string is treated as a literal caret character. A caret at the end of a line inserts a literal newline character in a string or macro.

In macros, a backslash (\) followed by a newline character is replaced by a space.

In commands, a percent symbol (%) is a file specifier. To represent % literally in a command, specify a double percent sign (%%) in place of a single one. In other situations, NMAKE interprets a single % literally, but it always interprets a double %% as a single %. Therefore, to represent a literal %%, specify either three percent signs, %%%, or four percent signs, %%%%.

To use the dollar sign ($) as a literal character in a command, specify two dollar signs ($$). This method can also be used in other situations where ^$ works.

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