NetCOBOL for Windows

Compile COBOL on Windows®

Free your COBOL applications from the mainframe and take advantage of the world’s most popular operating system. NetCOBOL for Windows is a COBOL compiler and development environment that lets you create standalone COBOL applications and/or COBOL components for use with Microsoft® visual tools.

NetCOBOL for Windows runs on Windows 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 R2, Server 2008 and Server 2003 R2. Separate products support the generation of 32-bit and 64-bit code.

Free COBOL Runtimes

Slash costs and ditch time-intensive administrative tasks. With NetCOBOL, there is no extra charge for distributing your applications. NetCOBOL puts you in control of your costs.

NetCOBOL Project Manager

NetCOBOL for Windows includes the NetCOBOL Project Manager. It provides an editor, compiler (NetCOBOL), interactive debugger, execution environment and other supporting tools. NetCOBOL also ships with sample COBOL applications that cover a wide array of NetCOBOL compiler functions. Additional samples can be downloaded from the Download Center.


What’s New? Latest Release – NetCOBOL for Windows v11x64

  • Provides UTF-32 support; encoding from UTF-32 can now be used
  • Support for COBOL Resource Projects, which are used for management of library and descriptor files in NetCOBOL Studio
  • Support for COBOL Solution Projects, which are used for management of multiple projects in NetCOBOL Studio
  • Adds a project configuration conversion capability, which converts to previous version Project Manager projects from NetCOBOL for Windows v10.1 and earlier to NetCOBOL Studio

Other Great Features

  • No COBOL runtime license charges
  • Supports native 32-bit code (NetCOBOL for Windows) and 64-bit code (NetCOBOL for Windows x64)
  • Standards Compliant (Full ANSI Standard COBOL X3.23 1985)
  • Compatible with VS COBOL II, OS/VS COBOL and Micro Focus COBOL
  • Embedded SQL Preprocessor with ODBC support, with USE FOR DEADLOCK procedures for escaping from database deadlock situations
  • Verifies support of Oracle and Pro*COBOL
  • CGI, ISAPI and SAF support subroutines
  • Converts data between COBOL data files and XML
  • Creates and works with COM/DCOM objects
  • COBOL objects invokable from Active Server Pages
  • Provides Web Application Wizard for creating Web applications
  • Full-function GUI COBOL Integrated Development Environment (Edit, Compile, and Debug)
  • Supports multi-threaded execution
  • Provides event logging, trouble-shooting information on abends and just-in-time debugging
  • Supports Unicode application development.
  • Includes the PowerBSORT, PowerCOBOL, PowerFORM and Data Tools utilities.

COBOL Coding Made Easy

NetCOBOL for Windows lets you manage, edit and debug COBOL applications with an easy-to-use interface.


Keep track of your project files, catalog and more.


Edit code line-by-line with an easy-to-use editor.


A comprehensive debugger lets you test and repair your application quickly and easily.


Choosing NetCOBOL for Windows

What are the main benefits of upgrading to NetCOBOL Version 10?

By upgrading to Version 10 you:

  • Obtain the Windows 2008 and x64 compatible version of NetCOBOL for Windows
  • Add the ability to exchange data easily with Excel and similar applications using comma separated values (CSV) files
  • Work with UTF-16 Unicode encoding format
  • Gain the numerous other enhancements described on this page
  • Stay current with our Support team – which can be very important when communicating with support reps as you are both working with the same software

Version 10.1 adds:

  • Fully tested with Windows 7 and Windows Server R2
  • Separate 64-bit code generation with the x64 version
  • Remote development for 64-bit applications provided from the 32-bit product

Why does GT Software not charge for COBOL runtimes when other vendors do?

See the page on our COBOL run-time fee philosophy.

The choice of COBOL vendor is a long-term strategic decision for my company. I’ve only recently heard of NetCOBOL, how can I be sure that NetCOBOL will be around in 5 year’s time?

Fujitsu has been developing COBOL compilers for over 40 years and is the world’s leading vendor of Microsoft Windows-based COBOL compilers and development tools with over 10,000 mainframe, 300,000 midrange, and 80,000 PC sites.

Consider how well the NetCOBOL technology fits in the Windows environment: seamless integration with Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Web development technologies; creation of COM/DCOM objects; and, with NetCOBOL for .NET, fully integrated with the .NET architecture; – all these demonstrate committed design and long-term thinking.

NetCOBOL has a long and successful history of supporting industrial-quality applications. It has the backing of a solid company, Fujitsu, committed to growth in the global market. How many COBOL vendors can you name that have comparable credentials for taking COBOL into the 21st Century?

Isn’t everyone moving on from COBOL? Why are GT Software and Fujitsu apparently putting a lot of effort into COBOL?

The majority of the world’s business applications are still written in COBOL. No one has found a silver-bullet solution for replacing these applications over night, and it does not look likely that this will happen in the next few years. There is therefore a massive investment in both COBOL programs and COBOL programmers that needs to be supported.

COBOL continues to provide the solutions that businesses need. Many companies that have taken excursions into 4 GL’s, C, VB, C++, Java, and other “latest trend” solutions, are realizing that although each of these new developments have their benefits they also have their downside in leaving a legacy that is tough to handle. COBOL is designed for easy maintainability and has been around long enough to be supported by many maintenance tools. It is still the best business-logic language for the long-term.

Why did Fujitsu add object-oriented programming features to COBOL?

Fujitsu implemented support for OO extensions as part of its efforts of supporting the international COBOL standards. Studies show that information hiding and encapsulation are the best tactics for obtaining code reuse. These features are implicit in OO programming and Fujitsu recognizes the importance many of its customers place on being able to gain greater return on their investments by reusing their code. The early support for OO syntax made a big difference to the development of NetCOBOL for .NET which was able to take advantage of many of the OO COBOL constructs to give access to the exceptionally rich .NET framework collection of classes.

What are the resource requirements for NetCOBOL Version 10?

NetCOBOL for Windows will operate on any computer with at least the minimum resources required by the operating system and the following available hard disk space:610 MB to install NetCOBOL Enterprise Edition

Using NetCOBOL for Windows

How quickly can I apply my COBOL knowledge to Windows programming?

Immediately. PowerCOBOL can have you creating GUI’s in minutes and you will find that NetCOBOL comes with all the tools to make you feel very comfortable in the Windows environment.

How do I get started using NetCOBOL?

The NetCOBOL Getting Started Guide – Chapter 1, A Quick Tour, is a good place to start. We recommend that you print out this chapter. This provides step by step instructions on using NetCOBOL.

Can I create software that runs on Window 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows NT?

Versions of NetCOBOL and its predecessor, Fujitsu COBOL, have enabled applications to be created for these versions of Windows. However, as Microsoft has withdrawn support for most of them, and we no longer claim to support them, we would not recommend that you attempt to build applications for those operating systems using NetCOBOL for Windows.

What packaging options are available for NetCOBOL applications? Are there any guidelines for packaging in client/server environments?

The preferred mechanism for deploying NetCOBOL applications is to construct your own installer using any of the commonly available msi-based installation building tools, such as WiX (, InstallShield (, or Visual Studio itself and then to include appropriate Microsoft Merge Modules (sometimes known by their file extension of .msm) for NetCOBOL runtime components into your installer. The Microsoft Merge Modules are available from the Downloads area of this site.

Another alternative is to use NetCOBOL Application Distribution Kits that provide a “wrapper” to help you create an installation package. Note, however, that this technology has been deprecated because it is not supported under Microsoft Windows Vista operating systems. The Application Distribution Kits are also available from the resource area of this site along with a Run-time Installation Guide that provides greater detail about these options.

How much disk space does the NetCOBOL run-time support occupy on the user’s machine?

The space occupied by the NetCOBOL run-time, depends on which components you use in your application as follows:

Regular (or multi-threaded) NetCOBOL run-time
Foundation Class Library run-time
PowerCOBOL run-time
PowerFORM run-time
6.7 Mb
1.9 Mb
6.0 Mb
5.9 Mb

It is also possible to set up the run-time support so that it resides on a LAN server and the Setup on the client’s machine only updates the necessary registry settings. If this is of interest to you, contact us.

Using NetCOBOL for Windows with Data Bases

What databases have been tested with NetCOBOL?

NetCOBOL for Windows Version 10 has been verified with: Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Pervasive.SQL and Symfoware. See the Related Products section of the “NetCOBOL V10 Software Release Guide” in the Online Manuals set for full details.Earlier versions (with essentially identical behavior) were also tested with: Sybase SQL Anywhere and Informix.

Can I access Oracle and other databases with native SQL calls?

Yes. Fujitsu verifies NetCOBOL for Windows with the published operations for the following combinations.

Precompiler Database
Pro*COBOL R8.1.6
Pro*COBOL R1.8.51
Oracle8i Enterprise Edition R8.1.6
Pro*COBOL R8.1.7
Pro*COBOL R1.8.52
Oracle8i Enterprise Edition R8.1.7
Pro*COBOL R9.0.1
Pro*COBOL R1.8.76
Oracle9i Database Enterprise Edition Release1 (R9.0.1)
Pro*COBOL R9.2.0
Pro*COBOL R1.8.77
Oracle9i Database Enterprise Edition Release2 (R9.2.0)
Pro*COBOL R10.1.0 Oracle10g Database Enterprise Edition (R10.1.0)
Pro*COBOL R10. Oracle10g Database Enterprise Edition Release1   (10.2.0)
Pro*COBOL R11. Oracle 11g Database Enterprise Edition (

The built in support for EXEC SQL statements is designed to work with ODBC interfaces. Provided your database supports ODBC you should be able to access it directly from your NetCOBOL program. Using SQL and ODBC is described in “Getting Started” and the “User’s Guide”.

Will other databases work with NetCOBOL?

Any database that can be accessed via ODBC should work.

Can I access SQL databases?

Yes – using any ODBC compatible database or Oracle’s Pro*COBOL.
If you want to bring VSAM data to SQL Server without having to change your COBOL code, consider using NeoData with NetCOBOL for .NET.

Where can I get the ODBC Driver for my database?

The vendor who supplied the database. NetCOBOL does not provide ODBC drivers.

Does NetCOBOL support Btrieve files?

Yes, to work with Btrieve files, specify the BTRV option on the file specification. This is set in the Run-time Environment Setup Tool. For example, INFILE=C:\MYFILE,BTRV

Can I access SQL databases?

Yes – using any ODBC compatible database or Oracle’s Pro*COBOL.
If you want to bring VSAM data to SQL Server without having to change your COBOL code, consider using NeoData with NetCOBOL for .NET.

Migrating from Micro Focus COBOL

I have applications created with Micro Focus COBOL, are there going to be many issues when I convert them to NetCOBOL?

As with any inter-vendor or inter-machine conversion the key question is how closely have you followed standard COBOL? The more vendor-specific syntax and routines you have used, the more issues you are likely to have to deal with. Our staff would be happy to discuss your likely conversion needs with you and, if you are likely to need specialist assistance, put you in touch with companies experienced in helping people make the move from Micro Focus to NetCOBOL. Send an email to initiate the discussion.

Are the Micro Focus Call-by-Name (CBL_) routines supported in NetCOBOL?

NetCOBOL contains support for the Micro Focus CBL_ routines. The documentation for these routines is contained in the CBL Subroutines User’s Guide, provided in Acrobat .PDF format with the product.

How do I find out more about converting my Micro Focus code to NetCOBOL?

Send an email to to initiate a dialog on your Micro Focus conversion needs – let us know the best phone number to use and times to call.

Product Features

What is the difference between PowerCOBOL and NetCOBOL?

PowerCOBOL is a GUI Builder that allows COBOL programmers to create Windows applications. PowerCOBOL uses an event-driven programming model like Visual Basic but all the programming is done in COBOL.

“NetCOBOL” is sometimes used to describe the compiler used to create batch and character mode (DISPLAY/ACCEPT and Screen Section) applications. It is possible to create mixed PowerCOBOL and NetCOBOL applications.

With PowerCOBOL, you can create and use ActiveX controls.

Does NetCOBOL support “make” file functionality (automated compiles and links)?

Yes, The NetCOBOL Project Manager has a simple facility to automate compiles. Please refer to the NetCOBOL User’s Guide – Chapter 6, Project Manager, for more information. Most of the sample programs are built with project files that utilize this facility, so you can also familiarize yourself with it by building and executing the sample programs.

What’s the difference between PowerFORM and Crystal Reports?

Crystal Reports is a tool designed for creating reports from existing data. Its primary goal is to help cope with the situation in which users want reports created in a short time frame. PowerFORM is designed to help create reports from within COBOL applications. Because you write PowerFORM reports in a very similar manner to other COBOL reports, PowerFORM can be a great tool for enhancing the appearance of existing reports, or replacing pre-printed forms with PowerFORM designs.

What are the report printing options under COBOL and PowerFORM?

There are two ways to print reports using NetCOBOL: COBOL syntax and PowerFORM.

With COBOL syntax, fixed pitch and proportional fonts are all printed with a fixed pitch. This may not always look the best when proportional fonts are used.

PowerFORM prints reports in a WYSIWYG format.

Also, you should note that MSLineDraw is the equivalent to a “native DOS” print. Another alternative is to write to a file, and print that. These alternatives should be considered if it appears that Windows print drivers (which COBOL uses) are getting in the way of a simple print that “used to work under DOS”.

What kind of documentation and books are provided?

All the books and manuals are provided in Adobe Acrobat softcopy form on the CD, or in HTML form for some manuals. After you install the softcopy documentation, you can view and search all of the softcopy documentation by selecting Online Documentation in the Fujitsu NetCOBOL V10 group/sub-menu.

Can I search the books?

Yes, you simply use the Adobe Reader Search function.

Can I buy printed manuals?

No. The availability of printed manuals was discontinued after NetCOBOL for Windows Version 6. The Version 10 manuals are formatted for 8.5″ x 11″ pages (with margins set so the text will also fit comfortably on A4 pages) so printing off your own copy of manuals or sections of manuals is possible.