Installing Helix

To install Helix, follow the instructions specific to your operating system. Note that:

  • To get the latest nightly version of Helix, you need to build from source.

  • To take full advantage of Helix, install the language servers for your preferred programming languages. See the wiki for instructions.

Pre-built binaries

Download pre-built binaries from the GitHub Releases page. Add the binary to your system's $PATH to use it from the command line.

Linux, macOS, Windows and OpenBSD packaging status

Packaging status


The following third party repositories are available:


Add the PPA for Helix:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maveonair/helix-editor
sudo apt update
sudo apt install helix


sudo dnf install helix

Arch Linux extra

Releases are available in the extra repository:

sudo pacman -S helix

💡 When installed from the extra repository, run Helix with helix instead of hx.

For example:

helix --health

to check health

Additionally, a helix-git package is available in the AUR, which builds the master branch.


Helix is available in nixpkgs through the helix attribute, the unstable channel usually carries the latest release.

Helix is also available as a flake in the project root. Use nix develop to spin up a reproducible development shell. Outputs are cached for each push to master using Cachix. The flake is configured to automatically make use of this cache assuming the user accepts the new settings on first use.

If you are using a version of Nix without flakes enabled, install Cachix CLI and use cachix use helix to configure Nix to use cached outputs when possible.


Helix is available on Flathub:

flatpak install flathub com.helix_editor.Helix
flatpak run com.helix_editor.Helix


Helix is available on Snapcraft and can be installed with:

snap install --classic helix

This will install Helix as both /snap/bin/helix and /snap/bin/hx, so make sure /snap/bin is in your PATH.


Install Helix using the Linux AppImage format. Download the official Helix AppImage from the latest releases page.

chmod +x helix-*.AppImage # change permission for executable mode
./helix-*.AppImage # run helix


Homebrew Core

brew install helix


port install helix


Install on Windows using Winget, Scoop, Chocolatey or MSYS2.


Windows Package Manager winget command-line tool is by default available on Windows 11 and modern versions of Windows 10 as a part of the App Installer. You can get App Installer from the Microsoft Store. If it's already installed, make sure it is updated with the latest version.

winget install Helix.Helix


scoop install helix


choco install helix


For 64-bit Windows 8.1 or above:

pacman -S mingw-w64-ucrt-x86_64-helix

Building from source


Clone the Helix GitHub repository into a directory of your choice. The examples in this documentation assume installation into either ~/src/ on Linux and macOS, or %userprofile%\src\ on Windows.

If you are using the musl-libc standard library instead of glibc the following environment variable must be set during the build to ensure tree-sitter grammars can be loaded correctly:

RUSTFLAGS="-C target-feature=-crt-static"
  1. Clone the repository:

    git clone
    cd helix
  2. Compile from source:

    cargo install --path helix-term --locked

    This command will create the hx executable and construct the tree-sitter grammars in the local runtime folder.

💡 If you do not want to fetch or build grammars, set an environment variable HELIX_DISABLE_AUTO_GRAMMAR_BUILD

💡 Tree-sitter grammars can be fetched and compiled if not pre-packaged. Fetch grammars with hx --grammar fetch and compile them with hx --grammar build. This will install them in the runtime directory within the user's helix config directory (more details below).

Configuring Helix's runtime files

Linux and macOS

The runtime directory is one below the Helix source, so either export a HELIX_RUNTIME environment variable to point to that directory and add it to your ~/.bashrc or equivalent:

export HELIX_RUNTIME=~/src/helix/runtime

Or, create a symbolic link:

ln -Ts $PWD/runtime ~/.config/helix/runtime

If the above command fails to create a symbolic link because the file exists either move ~/.config/helix/runtime to a new location or delete it, then run the symlink command above again.


Either set the HELIX_RUNTIME environment variable to point to the runtime files using the Windows setting (search for Edit environment variables for your account) or use the setx command in Cmd:

setx HELIX_RUNTIME "%userprofile%\source\repos\helix\runtime"

💡 %userprofile% resolves to your user directory like C:\Users\Your-Name\ for example.

Or, create a symlink in %appdata%\helix\ that links to the source code directory:

PowerShellNew-Item -ItemType Junction -Target "runtime" -Path "$Env:AppData\helix\runtime"
Cmdcd %appdata%\helix
mklink /D runtime "%userprofile%\src\helix\runtime"

💡 On Windows, creating a symbolic link may require running PowerShell or Cmd as an administrator.

Multiple runtime directories

When Helix finds multiple runtime directories it will search through them for files in the following order:

  1. runtime/ sibling directory to $CARGO_MANIFEST_DIR directory (this is intended for developing and testing helix only).
  2. runtime/ subdirectory of OS-dependent helix user config directory.
  4. Distribution-specific fallback directory (set at compile time—not run time— with the HELIX_DEFAULT_RUNTIME environment variable)
  5. runtime/ subdirectory of path to Helix executable.

This order also sets the priority for selecting which file will be used if multiple runtime directories have files with the same name.

Note to packagers

If you are making a package of Helix for end users, to provide a good out of the box experience, you should set the HELIX_DEFAULT_RUNTIME environment variable at build time (before invoking cargo build) to a directory which will store the final runtime files after installation. For example, say you want to package the runtime into /usr/lib/helix/runtime. The rough steps a build script could follow are:

  1. export HELIX_DEFAULT_RUNTIME=/usr/lib/helix/runtime
  2. cargo build --profile opt --locked --path helix-term
  3. cp -r runtime $BUILD_DIR/usr/lib/helix/
  4. cp target/opt/hx $BUILD_DIR/usr/bin/hx

This way the resulting hx binary will always look for its runtime directory in /usr/lib/helix/runtime if the user has no custom runtime in ~/.config/helix or HELIX_RUNTIME.

Validating the installation

To make sure everything is set up as expected you should run the Helix health check:

hx --health

For more information on the health check results refer to Health check.

Configure the desktop shortcut

If your desktop environment supports the XDG desktop menu you can configure Helix to show up in the application menu by copying the provided .desktop and icon files to their correct folders:

cp contrib/Helix.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
cp contrib/helix.png ~/.icons # or ~/.local/share/icons

To use another terminal than the system default, you can modify the .desktop file. For example, to use kitty:

sed -i "s|Exec=hx %F|Exec=kitty hx %F|g" ~/.local/share/applications/Helix.desktop
sed -i "s|Terminal=true|Terminal=false|g" ~/.local/share/applications/Helix.desktop