Installing Gramps for macOS computers

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Before upgrading your distribution

Use your earlier version of Gramps to backup your Family Trees to the hardy and portable XML format1.

Application package

The application package is the recommended way of installing Gramps on macOS.

First read the before installation instructions.

Tested for compatibility with Apple macOS/Mac OS X versions 10.13 (High Sierra) through 14 (Sonoma). Help determining your Operating System version can be found in the HT201260 Apple Support article.

After download: Double-click the .dmg file to mount the disk (note: your browser may do this for you automatically). Next, drag the Gramps application to your application folder and double-click to launch it. (For Apple Mac OS X, alternatively, you can click and hold on the disk icon at the top of the window of the mounted disk, and then option-drag to the Applications folder. This will create a new folder containing all the files, including the README and NEWS.)

Normally, when you try to load your old Family Tree you can allow it to be upgraded if necessary, and it will be opened. Should this fail for any reason, Create a new Family Tree and Import the back-up into this new Tree.

Adding additional Spell Checking languages on macOS


Gramps uses a different spell checker than the one provided by Mac OS X, with different spelling dictionary requirements. We can't easily provide dictionaries for all of the supported languages in the bundle, but they're easily downloaded from's website. Download the language you want and save it, then navigate to the download in Finder. Most browsers have a downloads window that offers "Show in Finder" in its context menu. Change the file extension from oxt to zip, then from the context menu select Open with... Archive Utility to decompress it. In the decompressed folder or perhaps in a subfolder you'll find the dictionary files in pairs, foo.aff and foo.dic. Some languages have more than one pair with a README file to explain why. Select a pair and copy it to /Library/Dictionaries (you'll have to authenticate with an administrator id and password), and if 'foo' isn't already a language or locale code, make it one. For example, the French package includes several pairs with names like fr-moderne.aff and fr-moderne.dic. The spell checker doesn't recognize those names, so when you copy them to /Library/Dictionaries you must rename them to fr.aff and fr.dic or fr_FR.aff and fr_FR.dic. You can have more than one dictionary pair installed if you use several languages, but one must match the language you use for Gramps or spell checking won't be enabled at all.


MacPorts is a package manager for Apple Mac.

Why use the version from MacPorts? Certain plugins or add-ons require additional supporting software in order to operate. With MacPorts, you can install such software easily (most of the time; there could be exceptions). With the official .dmg installer, installing such additional software is more difficult or impossible.

The Prequisites Checker can identify if any add-ons have been installed that require such additional software.


The macOS application bundle can also be installed via the Homebrew package manager as a cask. Note that this is not a Homebrew build, it is a repackaging of the same provided in the above dmg. It does not depend on or use any of the Homebrew-built libraries.

Homebrew is an open-source package manager for macOS (and Linux).



Backup to Gramps XML format when updating. Although Gramps reads and writes GEDCOM 5.5.1 format fluently (because it is the de facto format for genealogical data interchange), never depend on such a rudimentary format for archiving your research. GEDCOM cannot store all the intricacies found in Gramps data. Always backup with the more robust Gramps XML format.

Menubar - "Family Trees > Make Backup..."

You will find a Make Backup... option in the Family Trees menu of recent Gramps versions. Alternately, use Export... in the same menu but deselect the privacy and filtering options in the Exporter Assistant to avoid omission of any data.

See: How to make a backup

See also

Installing Gramps for Desktops

Installation instructions specific to the different OSes are on the Linux 32x32.png, Windows 32x32.png,Macos 200x200.png and Bsd daemon.png pages.

GitHub Gramps for Desktops Releases

Wiki pages

Installing Gramps Web for online collaboration

Gramps Web is a frontend for a hosted instance of Gramps