Package requirements

The only mandatory requirement for VisPy is the numpy package.

Backend requirements

VisPy requires at least one toolkit for opening a window and creates an OpenGL context. This can be done using one Qt, GLFW,SDL2, Wx, or Pyglet. You can also use a Jupyter notebook (version 3+) with WebGL for some visualizations although it is not fully functional at this time.


You only need to have one of these packages, no need to install them all!

Hardware requirements

VisPy makes heavy use of the graphic card installed on your system. More precisely, VisPy uses the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) through shaders. VisPy thus requires a fairly recent video card (~ less than 12 years old) as well as an up-to-date video driver such that vispy can access the programmable pipeline (as opposed to the fixed pipeline).

To get information on your system, you can type:

>>> print(vispy.sys_info())

The results of the above command and is long list of information related to your system and video driver. The OpenGL version must be at least 2.1.


On linux systems the xrandr command is used to determine the screen’s DPI. On certain (virtual) displays it reports screen dimensions of 0mm x 0mm. In this case users may attempt to fix their screen resolution or download the xdpyinfo (xorg-xdpyinfo) utility as an alternative to xrandr. A default DPI of 96 is used otherwise.

Installation options

Before installing VisPy you should ensure a working version of python is installed on your computer, including all of the requirements included in the Backend Requirements section above. A simple way to install most of these requirements is to install the Anaconda scientific python distribution from Continuum Analytics. Anaconda will install most of the VisPy dependencies for you. If your computer is low on hard disk space, or you would like a minimal python installation, you may install the Miniconda package also from Continuum Analytics. Once Anaconda is installed, create a conda python environment.

Next, install the following VisPy dependencies directly through pip or the Anaconda package installer.

$ conda install numpy pyqt

Once the python dependencies have been installed, install the latest proprietary drivers for your computer’s GPU. Generally these drivers may be downloaded from the GPU manufacturer’s website.

To install the latest release version, you can do:

$ pip install --upgrade vispy

If you want to run the latest development version, you can clone the repository to your local machine and install with develop to enable easy updates to latest master:

$ git clone git://  # creates "vispy" folder
$ cd vispy
$ python develop

To run the latest development version without cloning the repository, you can also use this line:

$ pip install git+

Testing installation

It is strongly advised to run the vispy test suite right after installation to check if everything is ok. To do this, just type:

>>> import vispy
>>> vispy.test()

Please note that the test suite may be unstable on some systems. Any potential instability in the test suite does not necessarily imply instability in the working state of the provided VisPy examples.