Peter's keyboard firmware (QMK)
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Installing Build Tools

This page describes setting up the build environment for QMK. These instructions cover AVR processors (such as the atmega32u4.)


To ensure you are always up to date, you can just run sudo util/ That should always install all the dependencies needed. This will run apt-get upgrade.

You can also install things manually, but this documentation might not be always up to date with all requirements.

The current requirements are the following, but not all might be needed depending on what you do. Also note that some systems might not have all the dependencies available as packages, or they might be named differently.


Install the dependencies with your favorite package manager.

Debian/Ubuntu example:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gcc unzip wget zip gcc-avr binutils-avr avr-libc dfu-programmer dfu-util gcc-arm-none-eabi binutils-arm-none-eabi libnewlib-arm-none-eabi


If you’re on NixOS, or have Nix installed on Linux or macOS, run nix-shell from the repository root to get a build environment.

By default, this will download compilers for both AVR and ARM. If you don’t need both, disable the avr or arm arguments, e.g.:

nix-shell --arg arm false


If you’re using homebrew, you can use the following commands:

brew tap osx-cross/avr
brew tap PX4/homebrew-px4
brew update
brew install avr-gcc
brew install dfu-programmer
brew install gcc-arm-none-eabi

This is the recommended method. If you don’t have homebrew, install it! It’s very much worth it for anyone who works in the command line. Note that the make and make install portion during the homebrew installation of avr-libc can take over 20 minutes and exhibit high CPU usage.

The best environment to use, for Windows Vista through any later version (tested on 7 and 10,) is msys2.

  • Install msys2 by downloading and following the instructions here:
  • Open the “MSYS2 MingGW 64-bit” shortcut
  • Navigate to your qmk checkout. For example, if it’s in the root of your c drive:
    • $ cd /c/qmk_firmware
  • Run util/ and follow the prompts

Windows 10 (deprecated)

These are the old instructions for Windows 10. We recommend you use MSYS2 as outlined above.

Creators Update

If you have Windows 10 with Creators Update or later, you can build and flash the firmware directly. Before the Creators Update, only building was possible. If you don’t have it yet or if are unsure, follow these instructions.

Windows Subsystem for Linux

In addition to the Creators Update, you need Windows 10 Subystem for Linux, so install it following these instructions. If you already have the Windows 10 Subsystem for Linux from the Anniversary update it’s recommended that you upgrade it to 16.04LTS, because some keyboards don’t compile with the toolchains included in 14.04LTS. Note that you need to know what your are doing if you chose the sudo do-release-upgrade method.


If you already have cloned the repository on your Windows file system you can ignore this section.

You will need to clone the repository to your Windows file system using the normal Git for Windows and not the WSL Git. So if you haven’t installed Git before, download and install it. Then set it up, it’s important that you setup the e-mail and user name, especially if you are planning to contribute.

Once Git is installed, open the Git bash command and change the directory to where you want to clone QMK, note that you have to use forward slashes, and that your c drive is accessed like this /c/path/to/where/you/want/to/go. Then run git clone --recurse-submodules, this will create a new folder qmk_firmware as a subfolder of the current one.

Toolchain setup

The Toolchain setup is done through the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and the process is fully automated. If you want to do everything manually, there are no other instructions than the scripts themselves, but you can always open issues and ask for more information.

  1. Open “Bash On Ubuntu On Windows” from the start menu.
  2. Go to the directory where you cloned qmk_firmware. Note that the paths start with /mnt/ in the WSL, so you have to write for example cd /mnt/c/path/to/qmk_firmware.
  3. Run util/ and follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Close the Bash command window, and re-open it.
  5. You are ready to compile and flash the firmware!

Some important things to keep in mind

  • You can run util/ again to get all the newest updates.
  • Your QMK repository need to be on a Windows file system path, since WSL can’t run executables outside it.
  • The WSL Git is not compatible with the Windows Git, so use the Windows Git Bash or a windows Git GUI for all Git operations
  • You can edit files either inside WSL or normally using Windows, but note that if you edit makefiles or shell scripts, make sure you are using an editor that saves the files with Unix line endings. Otherwise the compilation might not work.

Windows (Vista and later) (Deprecated)

These are the old instructions for Windows Vista and later. We recommend you use MSYS2 as outlined above.

  1. If you have ever installed WinAVR, uninstall it.
  2. Install MHV AVR Tools. Disable smatch, but be sure to leave the option to add the tools to the PATH checked.
  3. If you are going to flash Infinity based keyboards you will need to install dfu-util, refer to the instructions by Input Club.
  4. Install MinGW. During installation, uncheck the option to install a graphical user interface. DO NOT change the default installation folder. The scripts depend on the default location.
  5. Clone this repository. This link will download it as a zip file, which you’ll need to extract. Open the extracted folder in Windows Explorer.
  6. Open the \util folder.
  7. Double-click on the 1-setup-path-win batch script to run it. You’ll need to accept a User Account Control prompt. Press the spacebar to dismiss the success message in the command prompt that pops up.
  8. Right-click on the 2-setup-environment-win batch script, select “Run as administrator”, and accept the User Account Control prompt. This part may take a couple of minutes, and you’ll need to approve a driver installation, but once it finishes, your environment is complete!

If you have trouble and want to ask for help, it is useful to generate a Win_Check_Output.txt file by running Win_Check.bat in the \util folder.


If this is a bit complex for you, Docker might be the turn-key solution you need. After installing Docker, run the following command at the root of the QMK folder to build a keyboard/keymap:

# You'll run this every time you want to build a keymap
# modify the keymap and keyboard assigment to compile what you want
# defaults are ergodox/default

docker run -e keymap=gwen -e keyboard=ergodox_ez --rm -v $('pwd'):/qmk:rw edasque/qmk_firmware

# On windows docker seems to have issue with VOLUME tag in Dockerfile, and $('pwd') won't print a windows compliant path, use full path instead like this
docker run -e keymap=default -e keyboard=ergobox_ez --rm -v D:/Users/Sacapuces/Documents/Repositories/qmk:/qmk:rw edasque/qmk_firmware

This will compile the targeted keyboard/keymap and leave it in your QMK directory for you to flash.


If you have any problems building the firmware, you can try using a tool called Vagrant. It will set up a virtual computer with a known configuration that’s ready-to-go for firmware building. OLKB does NOT host the files for this virtual computer. Details on how to set up Vagrant are in the vagrant guide.