Installing GTK+3

For the most update-to-date information on how to install GTK3, I recommend referring to’s Linux, Mac, or Windows installation guides.

  1. What do we need to install?
    1. Glade
    2. Devhelp
  2. Linux
    1. Fedora Linux
    2. Ubuntu Linux
    3. Arch Linux
  3. Mac
    1. Install Homebrew
    2. Install the XCode commandline tools
    3. Install GTK+3 with Homebrew
  4. Download the shell script
  5. Execute the script in Terminal
  6. Windows
    1. Step 1: Install MSYS2
    2. Step 2: Install GTK+3 and Glade from MSYS2 (And DevHelp?)

What do we need to install?

To compile a GTK+3 program, we need to install the GTK3 libraries.

However, there are two other optional installs that could really help us out:


Glade Screenshot

A visual editor that allows us to create apps much faster. We’ll be using it later in this course.


Devhelp Screenshot

An offline documentation viewer for GTK3 and other various libraries. Super helpful as it also contains tutorials for you to follow along with.


Below are commands to run on various Linux distributions to get the proper packages required.

Fedora Linux

sudo dnf install gtk3 gtk3-devel

Ubuntu Linux

sudo apt install libgtk-3-dev

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gtk3


There seems to be various instructions for setting up GTK+3 on Mac. One way is described in Gnome’s wiki entry.

I personally think the best way is through Homebrew.

Install Homebrew

Homebrew is a popular package manager for Mac OS X.

Here is how you install it.

Install the XCode commandline tools

Open up your terminal and run xcode-select --install to get the commandline tools.

Install GTK+3 with Homebrew

Run this command to install GTK+3 via Homebrew: brew install gtk+3

Download the shell script

Gnome developers created a Mac OS X install script. Download it here.

Execute the script in Terminal

Open up your Terminal and cd into the directory the script is downloaded in. (ex. cd Downloads/)

To execute the script, run this command: sh


Step 1: Install MSYS2

First, you need to install MSYS2.

There are various ways to compile GTK3 code on a Windows machine, but the easiest way (that’s even recommended by is via MSYS2.

When you open the program, you’ll notice that it’s just a command prompt similar to CMD.exe - which you’re probably familiar with already.

The big difference is that MSYS2 provides a bunch of Linux features and tools that would otherwise be difficult to set up on Windows. It even gives you a package manager!

Step 2: Install GTK+3 and Glade from MSYS2 (And DevHelp?)

First we need to get the GTK3 library as well as some tools to make compilation possible. Open MSYS2 and run the following command:

pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-gtk3 mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain base-devel.

To install Glade, run the following command:

pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-glade

Lastly, to install Devhelp, run the following:

pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-devhelp

These commands should be enough, but if you run into trouble later, refer to this StackOverFlow answer.

I hope this has helped you get up and running! In the next section, we’ll compile an example app.

Leave a comment