Setup

Setting Up Your QMK Environment

Before you can build keymaps, you need to install some software and set up your build environment. This only has to be done once no matter how many keyboards you plan to compile firmware for.

1. Prerequisites

There are a few pieces of software you'll need to get started.

  • Text editor

    • You’ll need a program that can edit and save plain text files. The default editor that comes with many OS's does not save plain text files, so you'll need to make sure that whatever editor you chose does.

  • Toolbox (optional)

    • A graphical program for Windows and macOS that allows you to both program and debug your custom keyboard

?> If you haven't worked with the Linux/Unix command line before, there are a few basic concepts and commands you should learn. These resources will teach you enough to be able to work with QMK.

2. Prepare Your Build Environment :id=set-up-your-environment

We've tried to make QMK as easy to set up as possible. You only have to prepare your Linux or Unix environment, then let QMK install the rest.

Windows

QMK maintains a Bundle of MSYS2, the CLI and all necessary dependencies. It also provides a handy QMK MSYS terminal shortcut to boot you directly into the correct environment.

Prerequisites

You will need to install QMK MSYS. The latest release is available here.

Alternatively, if you'd like to manually install MSYS2, the following section will walk you through the process.

Manual Install ?> Ignore the following steps if you use `QMK MSYS`. #### Prerequisites You will need to install MSYS2, Git and Python. Follow the installation instructions on https://www.msys2.org. Once MSYS2 is installed, close any open MSYS terminals and open a new MinGW 64-bit terminal. !> **NOTE:** The MinGW 64-bit terminal is *not* the same as the MSYS terminal that opens when installation is completed. Your prompt should say "MINGW64" in purple text, rather than "MSYS". See [this page](https://www.msys2.org/wiki/MSYS2-introduction/#subsystems) for more information on the differences. Then run the following command: pacman --needed --noconfirm --disable-download-timeout -S git mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain mingw-w64-x86_64-python3-pip #### Installation Install the QMK CLI by running: python3 -m pip install qmk

macOS

QMK maintains a Homebrew tap and formula which will automatically install the CLI and all necessary dependencies.

Prerequisites

You will need to install Homebrew. Follow the instructions on https://brew.sh.

Installation

Install the QMK CLI by running:

brew install qmk/qmk/qmk

Linux/WSL

?> Note for WSL users: By default, the installation process will clone the QMK repository into your WSL home directory, but if you have cloned manually, ensure that it is located inside the WSL instance instead of the Windows filesystem (ie. not in /mnt), as accessing it is currently extremely slow.

Prerequisites

You will need to install Git and Python. It's very likely that you already have both, but if not, one of the following commands should install them:

  • Debian / Ubuntu / Devuan: sudo apt install -y git python3-pip

  • Fedora / Red Hat / CentOS: sudo yum -y install git python3-pip

  • Arch / Manjaro: sudo pacman --needed --noconfirm -S git python-pip libffi

  • Void: sudo xbps-install -y git python3-pip

  • Solus: sudo eopkg -y install git python3

  • Sabayon: sudo equo install dev-vcs/git dev-python/pip

  • Gentoo: sudo emerge dev-vcs/git dev-python/pip

Installation

Install the QMK CLI by running:

python3 -m pip install --user qmk

Community Packages

These packages are maintained by community members, so may not be up to date or completely functional. If you encounter problems, please report them to their respective maintainers.

On Arch-based distros you can install the CLI from the official repositories (NOTE: at the time of writing this package marks some dependencies as optional that should not be):

sudo pacman -S qmk

You can also try the qmk-git package from AUR:

yay -S qmk-git

FreeBSD

Installation

Install the FreeBSD package for QMK CLI by running:

pkg install -g "py*-qmk"

NOTE: remember to follow the instructions printed at the end of installation (use pkg info -Dg "py*-qmk" to show them again).

3. Run QMK Setup :id=set-up-qmk

Windows

After installing QMK you can set it up with this command:

qmk setup

In most situations you will want to answer y to all of the prompts.

macOS

After installing QMK you can set it up with this command:

qmk setup

In most situations you will want to answer y to all of the prompts.

Linux/WSL

After installing QMK you can set it up with this command:

qmk setup

In most situations you will want to answer y to all of the prompts.

?>Note on Debian, Ubuntu and their derivatives: It's possible, that you will get an error saying something like: bash: qmk: command not found. This is due to a bug Debian introduced with their Bash 4.4 release, which removed $HOME/.local/bin from the PATH. This bug was later fixed on Debian and Ubuntu. Sadly, Ubuntu reitroduced this bug and is yet to fix it. Luckily, the fix is easy. Run this as your user: echo 'PATH="$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH"' >> $HOME/.bashrc && source $HOME/.bashrc

FreeBSD

After installing QMK you can set it up with this command:

qmk setup

In most situations you will want to answer y to all of the prompts.

?> The qmk home folder can be specified at setup with qmk setup -H <path>, and modified afterwards using the cli configuration and the variable user.qmk_home. For all available options run qmk setup --help.

?> If you already know how to use GitHub, we recommend that you follow these instructions and use qmk setup <github_username>/qmk_firmware to clone your personal fork. If you don't know what that means you can safely ignore this message.

4. Test Your Build Environment

Now that your QMK build environment is set up, you can build a firmware for your keyboard. Start by trying to build the keyboard's default keymap. You should be able to do that with a command in this format:

qmk compile -kb <keyboard> -km default

For example, to build a firmware for a Clueboard 66% you would use:

qmk compile -kb clueboard/66/rev3 -km default

When it is done you should have a lot of output that ends similar to this:

Linking: .build/clueboard_66_rev3_default.elf [OK]
Creating load file for flashing: .build/clueboard_66_rev3_default.hex [OK]
Copying clueboard_66_rev3_default.hex to qmk_firmware folder [OK]
Checking file size of clueboard_66_rev3_default.hex [OK]
* The firmware size is fine - 26356/28672 (2316 bytes free)

5. Configure Your Build Environment (Optional)

You can configure your build environment to set the defaults and make working with QMK less tedious. Let's do that now!

Most people new to QMK only have 1 keyboard. You can set this keyboard as your default with the qmk config command. For example, to set your default keyboard to clueboard/66/rev4:

qmk config user.keyboard=clueboard/66/rev4

You can also set your default keymap name. Most people use their GitHub username here, and we recommend that you do too.

qmk config user.keymap=<github_username>

After this you can leave those arguments off and compile your keyboard like this:

qmk compile

Creating Your Keymap

You are now ready to create your own personal keymap! Move on to Building Your First Firmware for that.