Dotfiles for macOS
Storing all your configs in a single place makes changing between Macs a breeze.
In this article I'll explain how I store my dotfiles for easy version control and some of the tools I use.
For now it's the bare necessities but it gets the job done.
My dotfiles can be found here (feel free to fork it!)
Symlinking with GNU Stow
Stow is a neat little program that creates symlinks to my home directory from
~/.dotfiles by structuring
files the same way you would in your home directory:
~ /.dotfiles/ - zsh/.zshrc - nvim/.config/nvim
As you can see the directory names (zsh, nvim) are just used to help you organize your dotfiles,
while the content inside is what will get symlinked to your ~ directory.
Zsh saves it's config directly under your home dir,
~/.zshrc, while nvim saves its config
~/.config/nvim which is why we use
.config as the second part of the path.
stow zsh && stow nvim ~ will have these symlinks:
~ / - .zshrc - .config/nvim
This way one can easily edit and version control dotfiles in the
Homebrew and Brewfile
To manage my packages I use Homebrew.
All installed packages can be stored in a
Brewfile, a file with all your brew packages listed.
brew bundle dump --describe will create a Brewfile. The
describe flag adds a short comment over
each line describing what the package does.
brew bundle to install all packages.
By having a
.Brewfile in your ~ directory it will be used as a global file,
which is convenient so you can run
bundle dump anywhere with the
Some apps I have in my Brewfile and recommend are:
- Rectangle, my favorite window manager for macOS
- iTerm, terminal emulator
Visual Studio Code
For VS Code it seems like the easiest option simply is to use the Settings Sync feature in VS Code. I would prefer a config file that you could dump all settings and extensions into, but couldn't find an easy way to do this.
In the README I have a simple script you can run from a brand new Mac:
# Installs git xcode-select --install git clone https://github.com/HermanNygaard/dotfiles.git ~/.dotfiles cd ~/.dotfiles; source setup.sh
Here is the
setup.sh script, which installs all Brew packages as well as ohmyzsh:
echo ">>>>>Installing homebrew" /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)" </dev/null ## /dev/null skips pressing enter for the installation brew bundle --file=~/.dotfiles/homebrew/.Brewfile sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
As my time was fairly limited when setting this up I still have some things left I want to look into:
- Create a simple script to run stow on all my directories in the setup script
- Native MacOS settings
- iTerm settings