I've been trying to get asymptote to work on my MacBook Pro running Yosemite. I downloaded asymptote onto the desktop and I tried to install it. I now have a "usr" folder on my desktop (is there a better way to do this? Where is it common to put an asy folder? It seems like there is very little documentation for installing asy on OS X). I created a config.asy file (inside the usr file on my desktop) and wrote inside it,

import settings;

I created a file test.txt with the code

import three;
draw(unit box);

Then I ran the following in the command prompt:

laptop-17364637:usr nphirning$ asy -V test.txt
laptop-17364637:usr nphirning$ 2015-05-09 15:05:45.271 skim[16549:1853625]         
Unsupported: Unsupported Annotation Type

It works if I don't import three, but what's the problem with 3D graphics? Any help with the best way to set up asymptote would also be great.

  • There's a world of pain in trying to install it like that. For OSX you want to install MacTeX, which includes Asymptote and everything else it needs. Install the whole thing - all 2G bytes of it - it's worth it.
    – Thruston
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 22:16
  • Does MacTex include asymptote? If so where does it usually install? I think I've already installed the MacTex fully.
    – nphirning
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 22:17
  • I've never tried to install Asymptote on Yosemite, but on earlier versions of the operating system, I've found that the best thing to do is just to do a full installation of the latest version of MacTeX. After that, at least for me, Asymptote "just works." A config.asy file can be created if you can figure out where to put it, but it's optional. Commented May 9, 2015 at 22:18
  • 1
    The MacTeX installer puts all the executables in /usr/texbin/ -- but you don;t really need to worry about that. Just do a full install and it will create all the paths and links you need.
    – Thruston
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 22:20
  • One more random note: Asymptote files should generally end in .asy, not .txt. Commented May 10, 2015 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


[Converting the comments to an answer]

On a Mac running OSX it's really not a good idea to try to install Asymptote or any other parts of the TeX ecosystem on their own. It's much better to install the full MacTeX distribution. Just do a full install, and it will install Asymptote and every thing else it needs.

The executables will go into /usr/texbin (which is actually a link to /Library/TeX/Distributions/Programs/texbin) but the installer will create this for you automatically (if necessary), and add it to your $PATH.

The only drawback is that the full MacTeX distribution is about 2G bytes in size. (But it's worth it).

After you have completed the install, create your Asymptote file with a .asy extension in your favourite editor and compile it from the command line with the command asy.

  • Use asy -h or texdoc asy for a summary of the options.
  • texdoc asymptote will open the user guide.

If you use texmaker as your editor, it has a menu options for compiling Asymptote source that should "just work" once you have installed a full MacTeX system.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .