I want to use pdf-tools to anotate pdf files using org-mode or viewing pdf outputs of my tex files which I hope it wil support syntex. I am following the official help to build for windows. I want to comprehensively tell my situation before and after the steps I've taken.

  1. I have cygwin, Imagemagick, git before being introduced to pdf-tools
  2. Emacs: I have a windows built not a cygwin built. I downloaded the 200 MB version of emacs 26.

Now following what Official help requires:

If using the GNU binaries for Windows, support for PNG and zlib must first be installed by copying the appropriate dlls into emacs’ bin/ directory. Most third-party binaries come with this already done.

I check the bin folder of emacs and these files were there: zlib.dll, libjpeg-8.dll, libpng16-16.dll. I tested to see if I can open PNG or JPEG files in emacs and I could. Then I installed msys2. Then I clicked start button typed msys and chose MSYS2 MinGW 64bit. Then I followed all the steps below:

$ pacman -Syu
$ pacman -S base-devel  
$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain  
$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-zlib
$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-libpng
$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-poppler
$ pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-imagemagick

For this step Install PDF tools in Emacs, but do not try to compile the server. Instead, get a separate copy of the source somewhere else. I went to Emacs folder and right-click on lib folder and clicked GITBash here, and then entered git clone https://github.com/politza/pdf-tools and this created a folder named PDF-Tools in lib folder with the size about 4MB. I don't know how to effect the next two steps, i.e.:

Open mingw64 shell (Note: You must use mingw64.exe and not msys2.exe)

Compile pdf-tools $ cd /path/to/pdf-tools $ make -s

I don't know where my mingw64.exe is located. Would you please help me. Thanks in advance.

P.S. I tried this command make install-server-deps on cygwin and also MSYS2 MinGW 64bit but both of them returned this: -bash: make: command not found.


1 Answer 1


It's in your msys64 folder (default: c:/msys64/). Put the bin directory of mingw64 in user path. Delete what you have in lib and then install pdf-tools Options/manage Emacs packages. Close Emacs. Reopen and activate package: M-x pdf-tools-install RET. This worked for me. Building the PDF Tools server succeeded :)

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