How to debug engine code / get symbols

Hi, I’m new to Unreal Engine and would like to know how to debug the engine code.

I can debug my project’s game code with no problem by attaching the Visual Studio debugger to it, but when I try to put a breakpoint in an engine file (example: Engine\Source\Runtime\Engine\Private\Character.cpp), it says that no symbols have been loaded for that document.

I’ve been searching online for answers, but everything I found doesn’t seem to apply. It seems that in previous versions of the Epic Games Launcher, you could actually manually download the symbols of the Unreal Engine, but the option isn’t there now, with 4.14.3… As far as I remember, there was no option to add symbols when I installed the Engine.

What am I missing and what should I do? Do I need to reinstall/redownload Unreal Engine and do something special to get the symbols? Do I need to manually build the symbols myself? If so, how do I do it?


PDB files are not included with engine, they simply too big, VS has function to get them remotely but not sure if Epic setup something like this.

Most straight forward way to get those files is simply by compiling engine from source, they will be generated in progress, considering you want to debug it is better to have debug build of engine and your modules either way instead of development build which launcher installs, it ensures that all VS debug tools will work properly.

I believe the download has an option for DLing the PDB files.

Hi ItBurn,

If you are using the Binary Engine that is installed by the Launcher, you can download the debugging symbols for the Engine. To do this, go to the Library section of the Unreal Engine tab in the Launcher, and locate the card for the Engine version you need debugging symbols for. Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Launch button on the card and select Options. Here, you will see an option to download the “Editor symbols for debugging.” It is a sizable download, so it may take some time to download.



It works! I never thought to go in the library tab… All screenshots I saw prior to yours were for older versions of the engine, so I just thought that the interface changed. I was using the button in the Unreal Engine tab and there’s no “Options” under the arrow… Thanks.

This is a supporting answer for artists who need more of a “hold my hand” walkthrough :smiley:

1 Like