Registered Extension Number




Ratification Status

Not ratified

Extension and Version Dependencies


Other Extension Metadata

Last Modified Date


IP Status

No known IP claims.

  • Ray Smith, Arm


The VK_EXT_headless_surface extension is an instance extension. It provides a mechanism to create VkSurfaceKHR objects independently of any window system or display device. The presentation operation for a swapchain created from a headless surface is by default a no-op, resulting in no externally-visible result.

Because there is no real presentation target, future extensions can layer on top of the headless surface to introduce arbitrary or customisable sets of restrictions or features. These could include features like saving to a file or restrictions to emulate a particular presentation target.

This functionality is expected to be useful for application and driver development because it allows any platform to expose an arbitrary or customisable set of restrictions and features of a presentation engine. This makes it a useful portable test target for applications targeting a wide range of presentation engines where the actual target presentation engines might be scarce, unavailable or otherwise undesirable or inconvenient to use for general Vulkan application development.

New Commands

New Structures

New Bitmasks

New Enum Constants



  • Extending VkStructureType:


Version History

  • Revision 1, 2019-03-21 (Ray Smith)

    • Initial draft

See Also

Document Notes

For more information, see the Vulkan Specification

This page is a generated document. Fixes and changes should be made to the generator scripts, not directly.

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