Appendix F: Installing the Cairo binaries

If you want to have access to the Cairo binaries, for anything that you could not achieve by purely using Scarb you can install them by following the instructions below.

The first step is to install Cairo. We will download Cairo manually, using cairo repository or with an installation script. You’ll need an internet connection for the download.


First you will need to have Rust and Git installed.

# Install stable Rust
rustup override set stable && rustup update

Install Git.

Installing Cairo with a Script (Installer by Fran)


If you wish to install a specific release of Cairo rather than the latest head, set the CAIRO_GIT_TAG environment variable (e.g. export CAIRO_GIT_TAG=v2.2.0).

curl -L | bash

After installing, follow these instructions to set up your shell environment.


rm -fr ~/.cairo
curl -L | bash


Cairo is installed within $CAIRO_ROOT (default: ~/.cairo). To uninstall, just remove it:

rm -fr ~/.cairo

then remove these three lines from .bashrc:

export PATH="$HOME/.cairo/target/release:$PATH"

and finally, restart your shell:

exec $SHELL

Set up your shell environment for Cairo

  • Define environment variable CAIRO_ROOT to point to the path where Cairo will store its data. $HOME/.cairo is the default. If you installed Cairo via Git checkout, we recommend to set it to the same location as where you cloned it.
  • Add the cairo-* executables to your PATH if it's not already there

The below setup should work for the vast majority of users for common use cases.

  • For bash:

    Stock Bash startup files vary widely between distributions in which of them source which, under what circumstances, in what order and what additional configuration they perform. As such, the most reliable way to get Cairo in all environments is to append Cairo configuration commands to both .bashrc (for interactive shells) and the profile file that Bash would use (for login shells).

    First, add the commands to ~/.bashrc by running the following in your terminal:

    echo 'export CAIRO_ROOT="$HOME/.cairo"' >> ~/.bashrc
    echo 'command -v cairo-compile >/dev/null || export PATH="$CAIRO_ROOT/target/release:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc

    Then, if you have ~/.profile, ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login, add the commands there as well. If you have none of these, add them to ~/.profile.

    • to add to ~/.profile:

      echo 'export CAIRO_ROOT="$HOME/.cairo"' >> ~/.profile
      echo 'command -v cairo-compile >/dev/null || export PATH="$CAIRO_ROOT/target/release:$PATH"' >> ~/.profile
    • to add to ~/.bash_profile:

      echo 'export CAIRO_ROOT="$HOME/.cairo"' >> ~/.bash_profile
      echo 'command -v cairo-compile >/dev/null || export PATH="$CAIRO_ROOT/target/release:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
  • For Zsh:

    echo 'export CAIRO_ROOT="$HOME/.cairo"' >> ~/.zshrc
    echo 'command -v cairo-compile >/dev/null || export PATH="$CAIRO_ROOT/target/release:$PATH"' >> ~/.zshrc

    If you wish to get Cairo in non-interactive login shells as well, also add the commands to ~/.zprofile or ~/.zlogin.

  • For Fish shell:

    If you have Fish 3.2.0 or newer, execute this interactively:

    set -Ux CAIRO_ROOT $HOME/.cairo
    fish_add_path $CAIRO_ROOT/target/release

    Otherwise, execute the snippet below:

    set -Ux CAIRO_ROOT $HOME/.cairo
    set -U fish_user_paths $CAIRO_ROOT/target/release $fish_user_paths

In MacOS, you might also want to install Fig which provides alternative shell completions for many command line tools with an IDE-like popup interface in the terminal window. (Note that their completions are independent from Cairo's codebase so they might be slightly out of sync for bleeding-edge interface changes.)

Restart your shell

for the PATH changes to take effect.

exec "$SHELL"

Installing Cairo Manually (Guide by Abdel)

Step 1: Install Cairo 1.0

If you are using an x86 Linux system and can use the release binary, download Cairo here:

For everyone else, we recommend compiling Cairo from source as follows:

# Start by defining environment variable CAIRO_ROOT
export CAIRO_ROOT="${HOME}/.cairo"

# Create .cairo folder if it doesn't exist yet

# Clone the Cairo compiler in $CAIRO_ROOT (default root)
cd $CAIRO_ROOT && git clone .

# OPTIONAL/RECOMMENDED: If you want to install a specific version of the compiler
# Fetch all tags (versions)
git fetch --all --tags
# View tags (you can also do this in the cairo compiler repository)
git describe --tags `git rev-list --tags`
# Checkout the version you want
git checkout tags/v2.2.0

# Generate release binaries
cargo build --all --release


NOTE: Keeping Cairo up to date

Now that your Cairo compiler is in a cloned repository, all you will need to do is pull the latest changes and rebuild as follows:

cd $CAIRO_ROOT && git fetch && git pull && cargo build --all --release

Step 2: Add Cairo 1.0 executables to your path

export PATH="$CAIRO_ROOT/target/release:$PATH"

NOTE: If installing from a Linux binary, adapt the destination path accordingly.

Step 3: Setup Language Server

VS Code Extension

  • If you have the previous Cairo 0 extension installed, you can disable/uninstall it.
  • Install the Cairo 1 extension for proper syntax highlighting and code navigation. You can find the link to the extension here, or just search for "Cairo 1.0" in the VS Code marketplace.
  • The extension will work out of the box once you will have Scarb installed.

Cairo Language Server without Scarb

If you don't want to depend on Scarb, you can still use the Cairo Language Server with the compiler binary. From Step 1, the cairo-language-server binary should be built and executing this command will copy its path into your clipboard.

which cairo-language-server | pbcopy

Update the cairo1.languageServerPath of the Cairo 1.0 extension by pasting the path.