Installing Fortran locally

Learn how to install Fortran locally to solve Exercism's exercises on your own machine

The Fortran language track requires that you have the following software installed on your system:

  • a modern Fortran compiler
  • the CMake cross-platform build system

Prerequisite: A Modern Fortran Compiler

This language track requires a compiler with Fortran 2003 support. All major compilers released in the last few years should be compatible.

The following will describes installation of GNU Fortran or GFortran. Other fortran compilers are listed here. Intel Fortran is a popular proprietary choice for high performance applications. Most exercises will work with Intel Fortran, but are only tested with GNU Fortran so your mileage may vary.

Prerequisite: CMake

CMake is an open source cross-platform build system that generates build scripts for your native build system (make, Visual Studio, Xcode, etc.). Exercism's Fortran track uses CMake to give you a ready-made build that:

  • compiles the tests
  • compiles your solution
  • links the test executable
  • automatically runs the tests as part of every build
  • fails the build if the any tests fail

Using CMake allows exercism to provide a cross-platform build script that can generate project files for integrated development environments like Visual Studio and Xcode. This allows you to focus on the problem and not worry about setting up a build for each exercise.

Getting a portable build isn't easy and requires access to many kinds of systems. If you encounter any problems with the supplied CMake recipe, please report the issue so we can improve the CMake support.

CMake 2.8.11 or later is required to use the provided build recipe.


Ubuntu 16.04 and later have compatible compilers in the package manager, so installing the necessary compiler can be done with

sudo apt-get install gfortran cmake

For other distributions, you should be able to acquire the compiler through your package manager.


MacOS users can install GCC with Homebrew via

brew install gfortran cmake


With Windows there are a number of options:

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Windows 10 introduces the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). If you have Ubuntu 16.04 or later as the subsystem, open an Ubuntu Bash shell and follow the Linux instructions.

Windows with MingW GNU Fortran

Windows users can get GNU Fortran through MingW. The easiest way is to first install chocolatey and then open an administrator cmd shell and then run:

choco install mingw cmake

This will install MingW (GFortran and GCC) to C:\tools\mingw64 and CMake to C:\Program Files\CMake. Then add the bin directories of these installations to the PATH, ie.:

set PATH=%PATH%;C:\tools\mingw64\bin;C:\Program Files\CMake\bin

Windows with Visual Studio with NMake and Intel Fortran

See Intel Fortran

Intel Fortran

For Intel Fortran you have to first initialize the fortran compiler. On windows with Intel Fortran 2019 and Visual Studio 2017 the command line should be:

"c:\Program Files (x86)\IntelSWTools\compilers_and_libraries_2019\windows\bin\ifortvars.bat" intel64 vs2017

This sources the paths for Intel Fortran and cmake should pick it up correctly. Also, on Windows you should specify the cmake generator NMake for a command line build, eg.

mkdir build
cd build
cmake -G"NMake Makefiles" ..
ctest -V

The commands above will create a build directory (not necessary, but good practice) and build (NMake) the executables and test them (ctest).

For other versions of Intel Fortran you want to search your installation for ifortvars.bat on windows and on linux/macOS Execute the script in a shell without options and a help will explain which options you have. On Linux or MacOS the commands would be:

. /opt/intel/parallel_studio_xe_2016.1.056/compilers_and_libraries_2016/linux/bin/ intel64
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
ctest -V