Compiling Emacs on Mac OS X

This comes up on the emacs mailing list at least once a month. How to compile Emacs on Mac OS X ?


To build emacs on Mac OS X, all you need is to install developer tools, if not already installed. This comes with your installation disks or can be downloaded from Apple Developer Connection.

Getting Latest Source

OS X comes with CVS, or use your preferred SCM to download the latest source.

git clone --depth 1 git://
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:[email protected]:/sources/emacs co emacs


First you need to run the configure script,

./configure --with-ns

This will configure emacs so that in the end you will get a stand alone application just like any other OS X application.

Next step is actually building the thing,

make install

After these steps you will have in the nextstep/ folder. Just copy it to your /Applications folder and you are set.