Package Development

Learn how to customize the theme to fit your needs and instantly preview local changes.

This is a living document which means it is work in progress, not completed yet and can change at any time while the project is still in development major version zero 0.y.z!

This page documents how to develop the theme package — from requirements to the APM development workflow steps.


Download and install Atom, or Atom Beta to use the latest development state, with a minimal version of 1.13.0 or higher.



Clone the Nord Atom Syntax repository from GitHub to your local system.

git clone

To get the project without Git download the project as .zip archive file from the GitHub repository or click on the download button below and extract the archive to your local system afterwards.

Screenshot showing the GitHub repository web UI to download the project repository
Download the project repository from GitHub.

Both methods will use the develop branch to work with the latest development state.

Register As Development Package

To make the theme available within Atom, the package repository must be registered as development package.
Open a terminal, switch to the cloned/extracted repository directory and run APM's dev command to register the package:

apm dev

This automatically links Nord Atom Syntax's package directory into Atom's dev/packages directory in your Atom configuration folder .atom that is by default located in your home directory at ~/.atom/dev/packages/<package-name>.

Afterwards restart Atom to check that the Nord Atom Syntax theme has been registered successfully as development package. Go to the Packages panes of the Settings view and ensure the Nord Atom Syntax package is listed in the Development Packages section.

Screenshot showing the settings view with successfully registered Nord Atom Syntax development theme package
The Settings view with successfully registered Nord Atom Syntax development theme package.


Dev Mode

Start Atom in the „Dev Mode“ using the --dev/-d CLI flag to detect and load all registered development packages as well as enabling more debugging utilities. This enables auto reload („hot reload“) to immediately see saved changes of any of the package's source code files.

atom --dev

Add the cloned/extracted repository as new project folder and set Nord Atom as active syntax theme like documented in the installation & activation guide.

The theme's source code can now be modified and saved changes will immediately apply to the currently running Atom instance.

Development theme packages changes are immediately applied on save when running in Atom's „Dev Mode“.