Controlled installation of Lean 4 on MacOS #

This document explains a more controlled installation procedure for Lean on MacOS. There is a quicker way described in the main install page but it requires more trust.

If you get stuck, please come to the chat room to ask for assistance.

We'll need to set up Lean, an editor that knows about Lean, and mathlib (the math library).

Rather than installing Lean directly, we'll install a small program called elan which automatically provides the correct version of Lean on a per-project basis. This is recommended for all users.

Installing elan and mathlib supporting tools #

  1. Install Homebrew if you do not already have it installed.

  2. Run brew install elan-init in a terminal window to install elan.

    Note that Homebrew also contains a formula named simply lean, but that it installs a fixed version of Lean, rather than one provisioned with elan as per the above. Using this formula is as mentioned not recommended.

  3. Use elan to install the latest stable version of lean by running elan toolchain install stable. You can also set the newly-installed version to be the default version of lean you get when running outside of a project (discussed below) by running elan default stable.

Installing and configuring an editor #

There are three editors you can use with Lean, VS Code emacs and neovim. This document describes using VS Code which currently has the best support for Lean. For emacs, look at For neovim, look at

  1. Install VS Code.
  2. Launch VS Code.
  3. Click on the extension icon (image of icon) (or (image of icon) in older versions) in the side bar on the left edge of the screen (or press ⇧ Shift⌘ CommandX) and search for leanprover.
  4. Select the lean4 extension (unique name leanprover.lean4).
  5. Click "install" (In old versions of VS Code, you might need to click "reload" afterwards)
  6. Verify Lean is working, for example by saving a file test.lean and entering #eval 1+1. A green line should appear underneath #eval 1+1, and hovering the mouse over it you should see 2 displayed.

Lean Projects #

You can now read instructions about creating and working on Lean projects