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c

How do I automate finding unused #include directives?

Typically when writing new code you discover that you are missing a #include because the file doesn’t compile. Simple enough, you add the required #include. But later you refactor the code somehow and now a couple of #include directives are no longer needed. How do I discover which ones are no longer needed?

Of course I can manually remove some or all #include lines and add them back until the file compiles again, but this isn’t really feasible in a large project with thousands of files. Are there any tools available that will help automating task?

You can use PC-Lint/FlexeLint to do that.

Unusually there isn’t a free OS version of the tool available.

You can remove #includes by passing by reference instead of passing by value and forward declaring. This is because the compiler doesn’t need to know the size of the object at compile time. This will require a large amount of manual work on your behalf however. The good thing is it will reduce your compile times.