Grr… Mac OS X and ctags

Another day, another software problem. This time, I’m taking the advice of Zed Shaw and attempting to use gvim for my text editing. I’m currently using Textmate, but I change my editor about as often as I workout (aka every two months). Enough rambling, gvim has support for this cool thing called ctags. I haven’t investigated it enough yet, but it’s apparently used to allow you to jump to the definition of a function, class, or what-have-you very easliy. Sounds cool right?

Unfortunately, the version of ctags that ships with Mac OS X is a piece of crap. Looking at the man page it’s only version 3.0 from 1993. That’s 13 years ago for those of you not into math. Anyway, the fix is simple (that’s in bold for those of you from google). Just install Darwin Port and then enter

sudo port install ctags

That’ll get you up and good with a modern version.

P.S. – If you really want to install this by source and do not know how, let me know. I can easily do another write up on how that’s done.


  1. andy said,

    October 24, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

    Just a note, if you hadn’t seen it already, that Gerd Knops put together a bundle for using ctags with TextMate as well. Check it out here:

  2. Jeff Says » ctags on OS X said,

    December 27, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

    [...] A good tags file is essential when developing with emacs. My tags setup (see Adam’s dot files) didn’t work out of the box on my Mac. It turns out that the included ctags is ancient. The simple fix is to install a newer version of ctags with Darwin Ports. sudo port install ctags [...]

  3. Mitch Yang said,

    February 7, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

    Do you have a good script to tag all the files in different directories? If so, can you drop me a note?


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