Installation instructions

Download a tarball from or clone the Tig repository git://

The latest version is: tig-2.2.2 (md5)

Note: Do not use the tar.gz file for version 2.0 because it will fail to compile due to issue #283 and #337

The quick and simple way to install Tig is:

$ make
$ make install

By default, tig is installed in $HOME/bin. To install tig elsewhere set prefix to the desired path:

$ make prefix=/usr/local
$ sudo make install prefix=/usr/local

Documentation files, such as manpages, are distributed in the release tarballs, and can be installed using:

$ make install-doc

When installing directly from the Tig repository, make install-doc will assume that the documentation tool chain is available and build the documentation locally. In case you do not wish to install the required tools, documentation can be installed from the release branch using:

$ make install-release-doc

Before upgrading, you are advised to read the release notes.

Installation using configure

Optionally, you can use the configure script to detect dependencies:

$ ./configure
$ make
$ make install

If your iconv library is not in the default library and include path, you need to pass the --with-libiconv option to configure to tell it where to look.

If you have installed ncurses with brew, run configure with the following flags to have it properly detected (note this done out of the box if you build without configure):

$ ./configure LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/opt/ncurses/lib CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/opt/ncurses/include

Note, if you are building from the Tig repository, you need to generate configure yourself. First, ensure that autoconf is installed on your system, and then run the following command:

$ make configure

Installation using Homebrew

You can use Homebrew to install Tig on OS X:

$ brew install tig

Note, for older installations of Tig, Homebrew does not automatically update the system-wide tigrc file when upgrading Tig and the behavior was changed in 2015 to install the system-wide tigrc in the /usr/local/share/tig/examples directory so Tig always uses the defaults compiled into the binary.

If you see warnings when starting Tig after upgrading, e.g.:

tig warning: Errors while loading /usr/local/etc/tigrc

It means you either need to manually update /usr/local/etc/tigrc with changes from /usr/local/share/tig/examples rename the file if you never made any changes to it.

$ mv /usr/local/etc/tigrc{,.old}

Installation on Windows

To run on Windows, you will need cygwin. You must then install the packages git, gcc-core, make, libiconv-devel and libncurses-devel. Extract the tarball and install by using configure as explained above.

If you want to install from the sources, then you will also need the automake package (which will also install autoconf). Then run make configure and install by using configure as explained above.

Build configuration

Build settings are read from the file config.make and for certain systems also from contrib/config.make-$kernel. An example of the latter is Mac OS X, where contrib/config.make-Darwin provides out-of-the-box configuration for using the system ncurses library and linking with the iconv library. This makes it easy to configure the build without having to use the configure script. As a side note, configure itself generates a config.make file.

Apart from the different standard make build variables (CC, CFLAGS, etc.) and standard configure variables (prefix, bindir, etc.), build settings can be one of the following flags:

  • NO_SETENV: Define this variable to enable work-around for missing setenv().

  • NO_MKSTEMPS: Define this variable to enable work-around for missing mkstemps().

  • NO_BUILTIN_TIGRC: Reduce the size of the binary by not including a built-in tigrc. The built-in tigrc is used as a fallback when no tigrc is found in the system configuration directory (e.g. /etc).

  • TIG_USER_CONFIG: Allow to customize the tigrc path (default ~/.tigrc).

The following example config.make manually configures Tig to use the ncurses library with wide character support and include the proper ncurses header file (see tig.h for more information):

LDLIBS = -lncursesw

For more examples of build settings, see contrib/config.make and

Tools and packages

The following tools and packages are needed:

Tool Description


Tig is just a frontend for Git.

ncurses or ncursesw

Be sure to have the development files installed. Usually they are available in a separate package ending with -dev.

Ncurses with wide character support (ncursesw) is required to properly handle UTF-8 encoded strings.

Note for packagers: For Tig’s configure script to work as expected you should avoid configuring and building ncurses using --with-shared.


If iconv is not provided by the c library you need to change the Makefile to link it into the binary.

The following tools and packages are optional and mainly needed for creating the configure script and building documentation:

Tool Description


Adds support for completion and history in search and command prompts.


Contains autoreconf for generating configure from

asciidoc (>= 8.4)

Generates HTML and (DocBook) XML from text.


Generates manpages and chunked HTML from XML.

DocBook XSL (>= 1.72.0)

Used by xmlto for building manpages.

DocBook (DSSL/Jade) tools

Generates PDF from XML. Also known as docbook-utils.

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