Setup on Linux

This is a brief guide to how you can get novelWriter running on a Linux computer. There are currently no install package of novelWriter for Linux, so it is recommended that you download either the full source or minimal package and extract it to a practical location on your system and run the script.

Running from Source

To run novelWriter from source, download the latest source package from the release page on GitHub or the main website, or if you have git running on your computer, you can also clone the repository.

Step 1: Installing Dependencies

The dependencies of novelWriter are generally available from Linux distro repositories. For Debian and Ubuntu, they can be installed with:

sudo apt install python3-pyqt5 python3-lxml python3-enchant

If you prefer to install dependencies via PyPi, or the repository dependencies are out of date, you can install them with:

pip3 install --user -r requirements.txt

Step 2: Install Package (Optional)

You can install novelWriter to the default location for Python packages using setuptools. This step is optional as you can also just put the novelWriter program folder wherever you like yourself. For instance in /opt/novelWriter, and then run Step 3 to set up icons and launcher.

To install novelWriter to the default location, it requires that you have setuptools installed on your system. If you don’t have it installed, it can usually be installed from your distro’s repository. For Debian and Ubuntu this is achieved with:

sudo apt install python3-setuptools

The package is also available from PyPi:

pip3 install --user setuptools

With setuptools in place, novelWriter can be installed to the user space with:

./ install --user

This should install novelWriter as ~/.local/bin/novelWriter. If you instead want to install for all users, i.e. as /usr/local/bin/novelWriter, run:

sudo ./ install

This is equivalent to what the pip installer does. It puts novelWriter in the location on your system where Python packages are usually kept. This is not really the best suited location for a GUI application like novelWriter, so you may instead copy the entire source to a suiteable location yourself.

Step 3: Create Launcher Icons

Regardless of where you extract or install the source files, you can set up a standard icon and a launcher. To set up this desktop launcher, the needed icons, and the project file association, run the following from inside the novelWriter folder at the installed or final location:

./ xdg-install

By default, this command installs the launcher and icons for the current user only. To install for all users, run the script with the sudo command.


All options of the setup script can be listed with: ./ help.

Uninstalling Icons

The steps taken by the xdg-install step can be reversed by running:

./ xdg-uninstall

This will remove the desktop launcher and icons from the system. As above, whether this is done on the current user, or system wide, depends on whether this command is called with sudo or not.