List of Tools

To view the usage information of the tools, run /? on the tool via the command line.

Name Description


Preprocesses and compiles WiX source files into object files (.wixobj). For more information on compiling, see Compiler. For more information on preprocessing, see Preprocessor.


Links and binds one or more .wixobj files and creates a Windows Installer database (.msi or .msm). When necessary, Light will also create cabinets and embed streams into the Windows Installer database it creates. For more information on linking, see Linker.


Combines multiple .wixobj files into libraries that can be consumed by Light. For more information, see Librarian.


Converts a Windows Installer database into a set of WiX source files. This tool is very useful for getting all your authoring into a WiX source file when you have an existing Windows Installer database. However, you will then need to tweak this file to accomodate different languages and breaking things into fragments.


Generates WiX authoring from various input formats. It is used for harvesting files, Visual Studio projects and Internet Information Server web sites, "harvesting" these files into components and generating Windows Installer XML Source files (.wxs). Heat is good to use when you begin authoring your first Windows Installer package for a product.


Inscribes an installer database with information about the digital certificates its external cabs are signed with. For more information, see Insignia.


Converts an .msm into a component group in a WiX source file.


Performs a diff to generate a transform (.wixmst or .mst) for XML outputs (.wixout or .wixpdb) or .msi files.


Runs validation checks on .msi or .msm files.


Takes an XML output patch file (.wixmsp) and one or more XML transform files (.wixmst) and produces an .msp file.


Enforces standards on WiX source files. WixCop can also be used to assist in converting a set of WiX source files created using an older version of WiX to the latest version of WiX. For more information, see WixCop.


Runs validations on a set of XML files and the expected output file. Takes a set of WiX source files and an expected MSI as the input and outputs Pass/Fail.

Lux and Nit

Author and run declarative unit tests for custom actions. For more information, see Unit-testing custom actions with Lux.

Response files

All WiX command-line tools support response files, which are text files that contain command-line switches and arguments. Anything you can put on a WiX tool command line can instead go into a response file. Response files are useful when you have command lines that are too long for your command shell. For example, you might want to generate a response file that contains command-line switches and the files that you want to compile with candle.exe:

-nologo -wx

and issue a command like:

candle @listOfFiles.txt

Specify a response file with the @ character, followed immediately by the pathname of the response file, with no whitespace in-between. Response files can appear at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of command line arguments.