Build lyx from source with qt5 on Mac

The stable lyx release looks terrible on retina screen. The on working version 2.2 will support high resolution display but it will not be available in a short time. Building from source is the only option if one cannot bear with the blurry font.

Download the lyx source and install qt5.

$ git clone git://
$ brew install qt5

Some other library may be needed, such as libmagic, automake, autoconf and gettext.

$ brew install libmagic

Create an empty folder build under the directory where you put lyx on. Go to build and run

$../lyx/configure -with-version-suffix=-2.X --enable-qt5 \
 --enable-cxx11 CPPFLAGS=-I/usr/local/opt/qt5/include \


$ ../lyx/
$ ../lyx/configure -with-version-suffix=-2.X --enable-qt5 \
 --with-qt-dir=/usr/local/opt/qt5 \
  --with-qt-includes=/usr/local/opt/qt5/include \
   --with-qt-libraries=/usr/local/opt/qt5/lib --enable-cxx11

--enable-qt5 may not be required if you don’t have both qt4 and qt5 installed. --enable-cxx11 is added to avoid the error of ambiguous next. --with-version-suffix adds a suffix on the App name so you can still keep a stable version lyx.

For the first time, you need to start lyx by running

$ /Applications/

After that it works well. The font looks nice. The math equations are better but still a little blurred.

My system is OS X 10.10.4. The discussion here helps me to figure out options needed by configure.


Lyx 2.2.0 has already released and it supports retina display. So this solution is no longer necessary.