1. Mitsuharu Yamamoto
  2. emacs-mac


1. What's this?

This is "Mac port" addition to GNU Emacs 25.  This provides a native
GUI support for Mac OS X 10.6 - macOS 10.12.  Note that Emacs 23 and
later already contain the official GUI support via the NS (Cocoa)
port.  So if it is good enough for you, then you don't need to try


  If you find a bug, then please try to reproduce it with some
  official builds such as X11 or NS (Cocoa).  If it turns out to be
  specific to the Mac port, then please report it to
  "mituharu+bug-gnu-emacs-mac@math.s.chiba-u.ac.jp".  Otherwise (i.e.,
  it is also reproducible with official ones), report it using M-x
  report-emacs-bug *USING THE OFFICIAL BUILD* as such.

The Mac port is a descendant of the following ports for Mac OS X:

  * Carbon port for Emacs 22 (aka "Carbon Emacs", don't confuse it
    with "Carbon Emacs Package"): this is a part of the official GNU
    Emacs 22 distribution and provides native GUI support for Mac OS.
    It has been used in almost all the Emacs 22 distributions/packages
    for Mac OS X with its native GUI.

    The Carbon port was initiated by Andrew Choi, using his Mac OS 8/9
    port as a basis.  He had been the maintainer of Mac OS port of GNU
    Emacs and participated in the development until late 2003.

    The Mac port inherits mostly the same features with the Carbon
    port including the following, all of which were added after 2004:

    - C-g handling
      You can quit (while t) and (shell-command "sleep 100").
      No bogus menu bar activation while these evaluations.

    - Emulation of `select' without periodic polling
      It doesn't use CPU time while the Lisp interpreter is idle and
      waiting for some events to come, even with subprocesses or
      network connections.

    - Graceful termination
      If you try logout/shutdown/reboot while leaving a file-visiting
      buffer modified and unsaved, a popup window appears for
      confirmation.  If you cancel the termination of Emacs (including
      C-g or ESC), the whole logout/shutdown/reboot process is also
      canceled immediately (i.e., you will see a "canceled" dialog
      immediately rather than a "timed out" one afterward).  If you
      don't have unsaved buffers, shell buffers, etc., you won't see
      unnecessary confirmation.

    - Apple event handling
      One can define Apple event handlers at the Lisp level.
      Actually, graceful termination above is an instance of
      Lisp-level Apple event handling.  Another example is "Get URL"
      handler that enables us to invoke the mailer you customized with
      `mail-user-agent', e.g.,

	$ osascript -e 'tell application "Emacs"
			to open location "mailto:foo@example.com"'

      If you set Emacs as the default mailer via Mail.app preference,
      the Emacs mailer will set up a draft buffer when you click a
      mailto: link in a Web browser.

    - DictionaryService support
      You can look up a word under the mouse pointer in the selected
      window by typing Command-Control-D (or double/single-tapping a
      trackpad with three fingers on Mac OS X 10.7/10.8, resp.).

  * Carbon+AppKit port for Emacs 22.3: this is a port of the Carbon
    port above.  The two ports differ in the GUI implementation basis:
    the Carbon port uses Carbon HIToolbox, but the Carbon+AppKit port
    uses the Cocoa Application Kit framework (AppKit).  The
    Carbon+AppKit port inherits the code of the non-GUI part of the
    Carbon port, such as drawing, font and image handling.  So in this
    sense, the Carbon+AppKit port can be regarded as a variant of the
    Carbon port.  Obviously, this is not a backport of the
    Cocoa/GNUstep port (aka "Emacs.app" or the NS port).

    The Mac port also inherits the features of the Carbon+AppKit port
    including the following:

    - Resolution independence (10.4 - 10.6, 10.5 recommended)
      Scaling works in Framework-Scaled Mode as opposed to (blurry)
      Magnified Mode for the Carbon port.
      Note: this type of resolution independence is deprecated on Mac
      OS X 10.7.

    - 64-bit (10.5 and later)
      You can build and run a 64-bit binary with GUI support by
      specifying CC="gcc -arch x86_64" or CC="gcc -arch ppc64" on

    - Some minor visual enhancements
      * Aligned key bindings in menus
      * Progress indicator (corresponding to hourglass) in the title bar
      * Unusable items in the font panel are hidden
	Try Options -> Show/Hide -> Font Panel from the menu bar or
	M-x mac-font-panel-mode RET.
      * Update display while the resize control (or the slider in the
	font panel) is being dragged

Being a port of Emacs 25, the Mac port also supports the following
Emacs 23 features besides those inherited from the above ancestors:

  * The `fullscreen' frame parameter, with all values supported:
    `fullboth', `fullwidth', `fullheight', and `maximized'.  The
    fullboth frames, which don't have the title bar, still allow us to
    access the menu bar, the Dock, and the tool bars.  The menu bar
    can also be activated via `menu-bar-open', `Control-F2' (if full
    keyboard access enabled), or `Command-Shift-/' (on Mac OS X 10.5
    and later) even for fullboth frames where the menu bar is usually
    hidden.  Changing fonts or internal-border-width in fullscreen
    frames does not clutter display.  On multiple monitor
    environments, one can move fullscreen frames to another monitor by
    setting the `left' and `top' frame parameters accordingly.
    Attaching/detaching external monitors should work even with
    fullscreen frames.
  * The `sticky' frame parameter, which allows us to keep particular
    frames visible for all Spaces on Mac OS X 10.5 and later.
  * The function `system-move-file-to-trash', which can be specified
    as a value of `delete-by-moving-to-trash'.
  * SVG image display.  This can be done via the WebKit framework, so
    you don't need librsvg.
  * Multi-page TIFF images.
  * The function `x-select-font' that provides modal font selection
    dialog in a compatible way with GTK+ and W32 ones.  Note that a
    nonmodal counterpart has been available since Emacs 22 Carbon port
    via `mac-font-panel-mode'.
  * Unicode character display including non-BMP ones.
  * Complex Text Layout and text shaping.  They are implemented using
    the Core Text or NS Text layout engine, so you don't need libotf.
  * Glyph selection with variation selectors.  Most of Adobe-Japan1
    ideographic glyphs are accessible via IVSes (Ideographic Variation
    Sequences) even for the OS-bundled Hiragino fonts, which do not
    contain the UVS subtable in their cmap table as of Mac OS X 10.6.

It also supports the following Emacs 24-25 features that are not
supported on all the standard platforms/ports:

  * Can be compiled with the ImageMagick support.  Even without the
    ImageMagick library, the Mac port provides a fallback using the
    Image I/O framework so you can scale and rotate images.
  * The variable `tool-bar-style' works like in GTK+.  The values
    `both-horiz', `text-image-horiz' are synonymous with `both'.
  * Horizontal scroll bar support.

In addition to the standard Emacs 25 features, the Mac port includes
the following Mac-specific ones:

  * Pixel-based mouse wheel smooth scroll for newer mice/trackpads.
  * Gesture event handling for newer trackpads.  By default, pinch
    out/in are bound to text size scaling.  With the shift key, they
    turn on/off fullscreen status of the frame.
  * Apple event sending with (a)synchronous reply handling.  ODB
    Editor Suite support is added as an example.  (Only tested with
    QuickCursor.  Add "<string>org.gnu.Emacs</string>" to the elements
    of QCEditInChoices in QuickCursor.app/Contents/Info.plist.  On
    QuickCursor 2.0, you need to kill the buffer after saving it in
    order to reflect the changes to the original text area.)
  * "Click in the scroll bar to: Jump to the spot that's clicked"
    setting in the System Preferences is supported.  Pressing the
    option key while clicking toggles this behavior temporarily.
  * Change of text smoothing threshold setting in the Appearance pane
    of the System Preferences is reflected immediately.
  * Several keyboard shortcuts (notably those for Keyboard Navigation)
    listed in System Preferences just work like other applications.
  * When the clipboard has both textual and image data, yank inserts
    the former and push both into the kill ring so the latter can be
    inserted with yank-pop afterwards.
  * Use non-integral x positions for displaying antialiased
    proportional fonts.  You can see the difference by putting the box
    cursor over Helvetica 12pt `I', whose ideal width is 3.33398 but
    displayed with the rounded width 3, for example.
  * Emacs info nodes are accessible via search field in the Help menu
    on Mac OS X 10.6 and later.
  * Menu item "Open Selected File in Emacs" is shown in Services or
    context menu of other applications by default on Mac OS X 10.6
    and later when absolute pathname-like text is selected.
  * Reverse conversion in Kotoeri works even without selection.
    Hitting Eisu/Kana key on JIS keyboard (or Control-Shift-;/J/K on
    US keyboard) twice also works.
  * New function `mac-file-alias-p', which is parallel to
  * Experimental support for accessibility with respect to the custom
    view for Emacs frames.  It is required to support "Text to Speech"
    on Mac OS X 10.7.  Still there are several glitches.
  * Can display color bitmap fonts such as Apple Color Emoji, if
    compiled and executed on Mac OS X 10.7 or later.  Also supports
    display of some combinations of regional indicator symbols, such
    as U+1F1EF followed by U+1F1F5, as national flags.  Variation
    Selectors 15 (text-style) and 16 (emoji-style) are also supported.
    On OS X 10.10.3 and later, emoji modifiers for skin tones (U+1F3FB
    - U+1F3FF) are supported as well.
  * New function `mac-start-animation', which provides animation
    effects on Mac OS 10.5 and later via Core Animation.  You can see
    the default animations with buffer switching by horizontal
    swiping/flicking, exiting from the splash screen by typing "q",
    and the "About Emacs" and "Preferences..." menu items in the
    application menu (labeled "Emacs") in the menu bar.
  * High-resolution image display support for Retina displays.
    Dynamic resolution change is also supported.  For bitmap formats,
    high-resolution data can be specified either by the "@2x" file
    name convention, the ":data-2x" property, or multi-image TIFF.
    Shrinking a large image with the "imagemagick" (or Mac-specific
    "image-io") image type also works but gives a non-optimal result
    on dynamic resolution change.  For vector formats, images are
    automatically re-rendered according to the resolution of the
    frame.  DocView mode and LaTeX fragment preview in Org mode are
    modified so they can take advantage of this feature.

As Quickdraw-style font rendering is considered obsolete as of Mac OS
X 10.5, the variable `mac-allow-anti-aliasing', which was supported in
the preceding ports (under a somewhat inappropriate name), is no
longer supported in the Mac port.  If you want to control
anti-aliasing, then you can set it with either from the Appearance
pane of the System Preferences, or the `AppleAntiAliasingThreshold'
Preference that can be set with the `defaults' command.
Alternatively, you can specify nil or t for the `:antialias' property
of a font-spec to control anti-aliasing per font.

The Mac port doesn't support multi-tty with GUI.  The developer has no
idea how to detach Emacs as a GUI application from Window Server or
Dock without separating a GUI process (not thread) from the main Emacs
(Lisp evaluator) process.  TTY-only multi-tty is supposed to work.

2. Build instructions

  a. If you got this from the git repository, then skip to Step h.

  b. Get the official GNU Emacs 25.X distribution tarball from some
     GNU mirror site if this file is part of
     emacs-25.X-mac-V.W.tar.gz.  Untar the tarball.  Let
     EMACS_SOURCE_TOP be the top directory of the source tree.

  c. Apply the patch `patch-mac' to the source tree.

  d. Copy the subdirectory `mac' to `EMACS_SOURCE_TOP'.

  e. [Optional, recommended for Retina Display]
     If you want to use high resolution versions of some tool bar
     icons and the splash screen image, then download the latest
     `emacs-hires-icons-VERSION_NUMBER.tar.gz' file from
     ftp://ftp.math.s.chiba-u.ac.jp/emacs/ and copy all the files in
     the subdirectory `etc/images' to `EMACS_SOURCE_TOP/etc/images'.

  f. Copy all the files in the `src' subdirectory to

  g. Copy `lisp/term/mac-win.el' to

  h. [Optional]
     If you want to use the icon bundled with Emacs 25, then copy
     to `EMACS_SOURCE_TOP/mac/Emacs.app/Contents/Resources/Emacs.icns'
     by overriding the latter.

  i. Run the configure command (unlike the previous version, the
     "--with-mac" option is now default).  You may also want to
     additionally specify "--enable-mac-app" to install the
     application bundle `Emacs.app' to /Applications.  If you want it
     to install in a different location, specify
     --enable-mac-app=MACAPPDIR.  Data files including Lisp files and
     helper executables are installed into /usr/local by default.  If
     you want to change the destination, give --prefix=PREFIXDIR.  See

     If you want to enable ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) support
     on Mac OS X 10.7 with Xcode 4.2 or later, then specify
     CC="clang -fobjc-arc".

  j. make && make install.

  k. open /Applications/Emacs.app (or MACAPPDIR/Emacs.app) if
     `--enable-mac-app' was specified.  Otherwise, open


				     YAMAMOTO Mitsuharu