A simple command line tool for embedding usual resources in Windows executables built with Go:

  • A manifest
  • An application icon
  • Version information (the Details tab in file properties)
  • Other icons and cursors

You might want to directly use winres as a library too: github.com/tc-hib/winres


To install the go-winres command, run:

go install github.com/tc-hib/go-winres


Please type go-winres help to get a list of commands and options.

Typical usage would be:

  • Run go-winres init to create a winres directory
  • Modify the contents of winres.json
  • Before go build, run go-winres make

go-winres make creates files named rsrc_windows_*.syso that go build automatically embeds in the executable.

The suffix _windows_amd64 is very important. Thanks to it, go build knows it should not include that object in a Linux or 386 build.

Automatic version from git

The --file-version and --product-version flags can take a special value: git-tag. This will retrieve the current tag with git describe --tags and add it to the file properties of the executable.

Using go generate

You can use a //go:generate comment as well:

//go:generate go-winres make --product-version=git-tag


There are other subcommands:

  • go-winres simply is a simpler make that does not rely on a json file.
  • go-winres extract extracts resources from an exe file or a dll.
  • go-winres patch replaces resources directly in an exe file or a dll. For example, to enhance a 7z self extracting archive, you may change its icon, and add a manifest to make it look better on high DPI screens.

JSON format

The JSON file follows this hierarchy:

  • Resource type (e.g. "RT_GROUP_ICON" or "#42" or "MY_TYPE")
    • Resource name (e.g. "MY_ICON" or "#1")
      • Language ID (e.g. "0409" for en-US)
        • Actual resource: a filename or a json structure

Standard resource types can be found there. But please never use RT_ICON or RT_CURSOR. Use RT_GROUP_ICON and RT_GROUP_CURSOR instead.


    "APP": {
      "0000": [
    "OTHER": {
      "0000": "icon.png"
    "#42": {
      "0409": "icon_EN.ico",
      "040C": "icon_FR.ico"

This example contains 3 icons:

  • "APP"
  • "OTHER"
  • 42

Windows Explorer will display "APP" because it is the first one. Icons are sorted by name in case sensitive ascending order, then by ID.

42 is an ID, not a name, this is why it comes last.

  • "APP" is made of 4 png files.
  • "OTHER" will be generated from one png file. It will be resized to 256×256, 64×64, 48×48, 32×32, and 16×16.
  • 42 is a native icon, it probably already contains several images.

Finally, 42 will display a different icon for french users.

  • "0409" means en-US, which is the default.
  • "040C" means fr-FR.

You can find other language IDs there.

Cursor JSON

    "ARROW": {
      "0000": [
          "image": "arrow_32.png",
          "x": 28,
          "y": 4
          "image": "arrow_48.png",
          "x": 40,
          "y": 6
    "MOVE": {
      "0409": "move_EN.cur",
      "040C": "move_FR.cur"
    "#1": {
      "0000": {
        "image": "cross.png",
        "x": 16,
        "y": 16

This example contains 3 cursors:

  • "ARROW" contains two images (one for higher DPI). It is a json array.
  • "MOVE" uses cur files directly. It is different in French. It is a string.
  • 1 contains one image. It is an object.

When a cursor is made with a png file, you have to provide the coordinates of the “hot spot”, that is, the pixel that clicks.


The manifest should be defined as resource 1 with language 0409.

As a JSON object

    "#1": {
      "0409": {
        "identity": {
          "name": "",
          "version": ""
        "description": "",
        "minimum-os": "win7",
        "execution-level": "as invoker",
        "ui-access": false,
        "auto-elevate": false,
        "dpi-awareness": "system",
        "disable-theming": false,
        "disable-window-filtering": false,
        "high-resolution-scrolling-aware": false,
        "ultra-high-resolution-scrolling-aware": false,
        "long-path-aware": false,
        "printer-driver-isolation": false,
        "gdi-scaling": false,
        "segment-heap": false,
        "use-common-controls-v6": false

All boolean values default to false.

It is recommended to omit identity if your program is a plain application, not meant to be a side-by-side dependency.

Values for "execution-level":

  • "" (default)
  • "highest": elevates to the highest level available to the current user
  • "administrator": require the user to be an administrator and elevate to this level

Values for "minimum-os":

  • "vista"
  • "win7" (default)
  • "win8"
  • "win8.1"
  • "win10"

Values for "dpi-awareness":

  • "unaware"
  • "system" (default)
  • "per monitor"
  • "per monitor v2" (recommended)

As an XML file

    "#1": {
      "0409": "my_manifest.xml"

VersionInfo JSON

Here is an example JSON file containing every standard info field, a French translation, and every possible flag. "0409" and "040C" are language code identifiers (LCID) for en-US and fr-FR respectively.

    "#1": {
      "0000": {
        "fixed": {
          "file_version": "",
          "product_version": "",
          "flags": "Debug,Prerelease,Patched,PrivateBuild,SpecialBuild",
          "timestamp": "2020-12-18T23:00:00+01:00"
        "info": {
          "0409": {
            "Comments": "Comments",
            "CompanyName": "Company",
            "FileDescription": "A description",
            "FileVersion": "",
            "InternalName": "",
            "LegalCopyright": "© You",
            "LegalTrademarks": "",
            "OriginalFilename": "X.EXE",
            "PrivateBuild": "",
            "ProductName": "Product",
            "ProductVersion": " beta",
            "SpecialBuild": ""
          "040C": {
            "Comments": "Commentaire",
            "CompanyName": "Compagnie",
            "FileDescription": "Une description",
            "FileVersion": "",
            "InternalName": "",
            "LegalCopyright": "© Vous",
            "LegalTrademarks": "",
            "OriginalFilename": "X.EXE",
            "PrivateBuild": "",
            "ProductName": "Produit",
            "ProductVersion": " bêta",
            "SpecialBuild": ""


This project is similar to akavel/rsrc and josephspurrier/goversioninfo.

Additional features are:

  • Multilingual resources
  • Multilingual VersionInfo that works in Windows Explorer
  • Explicitly named resources, by ID or by string (so you can use them in runtime)
  • Extracting resources from exe or dll files
  • Replacing resources in exe or dll files
  • Simplified VersionInfo definition
  • Simplified manifest definition
  • Support for custom information in VersionInfo
  • Making an icon or a cursor from a PNG file
  • Embedding custom resources

It might be closer to Microsoft specifications too.


go-winres is not a real resource compiler, which means it won’t help you embed these UI templates:


If you ever need them, you can use one of those tools instead:

  • rc.exe and cvtres.exe from Visual Studio
  • windres from GNU Binary Utilities
  • llvm-rc and llvm-cvtres from LLVM tools

See Resource Compiler for more information.


Many thanks to akavel for his help.

This project uses these very helpful libs: