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
*** IMPORTANT NOTE ***
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
"firstname.lastname@example.org". 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
- 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
- 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
$ osascript -e 'tell application "Emacs"
to open location "mailto:email@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
* 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
* 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
If you want to use the icon bundled with Emacs 25, then copy
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
j. make && make install.
k. open /Applications/Emacs.app (or MACAPPDIR/Emacs.app) if
`--enable-mac-app' was specified. Otherwise, open