As a software interface for graphics hardware, OpenGL renders multidimensional objects into a framebuffer. The Microsoft implementation of OpenGL for the Windows operating system is industry-standard graphics software with which programmers can create high-quality still and animated three-dimensional color images. The version of OpenGL described in this section is 1.1.

For information about OpenGL ES running on Windows, see ANGLE for Windows Store.

Where applicable

OpenGL is built for compatibility across hardware and operating systems. This architecture makes it easy to port OpenGL programs from one system to another. While each operating system has unique requirements, the OpenGL code in many programs can be used as is.

Developer audience

Designed for use by C/C++ programmers, OpenGL requires familiarity with the Windows graphical user interface as well as message-driven architecture.

Run-time requirements

For more information on which operating systems are required for a particular function, see the Requirements section of the documentation for the function.

In this section



General information about how OpenGL works.


Documentation of functions, structures, and other programming elements.


Examples of OpenGL code.


Related topics

DirectX Graphics and Gaming
Still Image
Windows Color System (WCS)
Windows GDI
Windows Image Acquisition
Windows Multimedia
Windows API