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Jan 14, 2019

Zim - A Desktop Wiki Editor

zim banner

Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control.


Zim can be used to:

  • Keep an archive of notes
  • Keep a daily or weekly journal
  • Take notes during meetings or lectures
  • Organize task lists
  • Draft blog entries and emails
  • Do brainstorming

Installing from a Package

Most linux distributions include zim in their package repository. On debian and ubuntu to package is simply called "zim".

Debian/Ubuntu packages and a windows installer can be found via

On Mac OS X, zim can be installed from Homebrew using,

brew install zim

Optionally, you can create a .app wrapper for convenience.

Installing from Source

NOTE: To test zim it is not needed to install. You should be able to run it directly from the source directory by calling ./ (To run a translated version from the source first call ./ build_trans.)

First you should verify you have the dependencies zim needs. To list all dependencies check ./ --requires.

You will at least need the following:

  • Gtk+ >= 3.18
  • python3 >= 3.2
  • python3-gi (also known as pygobject, but make sure to have the "gi" based version)
  • python3-xdg (optional, but recommended)
  • xdg-utils (optional, but recommended)

To verify zim is working properly on your system you can call the test suite using ./ Failures do not have to be critical, but in principle all tests should pass.

Zim can be installed from source using:

./ install

Most plugins have additional requirements. These are listed in the plugin descriptions.


On Ubuntu or other debian derived systems, the following packages should be installed:

  • python3
  • gir1.2-gtk-3.0
  • python3-gi
  • python3-xdg


On windows the "msys" environment can be used to install python3 with Gtk and run zim from source. See for detailed instructions.

Make sure to include the python bindings as well.

Note: after installation the "msys" environment offers a "32" and a "64" bit shell. When you installed the "64" packages for Gtk, they will only run from the "64" shell.

Mac OS X

You can run zim on mac if you have the proper dependencies installed.

If you are using Mac Ports packages installing the following ports should work:

TODO: new instructions for Gtk3 / Python3

If you are using Homebrew package manager, the proper dependencies can be installed using

brew install python gtk+3 pygobject3

Once done, install

brew install zim

Then run from terminal


Or make a wrapper app for Zim so that you can keep it in the launcher and open it as a native Mac OSX app.

Install Paths

If you install in a non-default location you may need to set the PYTHONPATH environment variable in order for zim to find it's python modules. For example, if you installed the modules below "/home/user/lib/zim" you need to set:


Also zim uses the XDG paths to locate data and config files. If you get an error that zim can not find it's data files For example, if you installed the zim data files to "/home/user/share/zim" you need to set the data path like this:



See CONTRIBUTING and PLUGIN_WRITING for information on contributing to the zim source code, translations and documentation.

Copyright and License

Zim is an open source program. This means it can be used and distributed freely under the conditions of the license.

All files in this package, with the exception of those mentioned below are copyrighted by Jaap Karssenberg

Translations are copyrighted by their respective translators. All translations that are entered through the launchpad website are distributed under the BSD license. See the translation files for detailed translator credits.

The following files were included from other sources:

  • zim/inc/ - Copyright 2008 Jose Fonseca
  • zim/inc/ - Copyright 2010, 2011 Patricio Paez
  • From the default Gnome icon theme:
    • pixmaps/task-list.png (was: stock_todo.png)
    • pixmaps/attachment.png (was: mail-attachment.png)
  • From Gtk+ 2.8
    • pixmaps/link.png (was: stock_connect_24.png)
  • pixmaps/calendar.png (was: stock_calendar-view-month.png) Copyright 2007 by Jakub Steiner, released under GPL modifications copyright 2009 by Gabriel Hurley