The first thing to try is a clean install and see if that helps. If not, the best way to test your install is by running a script, rather than working interactively from a python shell or an integrated development environment such as IDLE which add additional complexities. Open up a UNIX shell or a DOS command prompt and cd into a directory containing a minimal example in a file. Something like simple_plot.py for example:
from pylab import * plot([1,2,3]) show()
and run it with:
python simple_plot.py --verbose-helpful
This will give you additional information about which backends matplotlib is loading, version information, and more. At this point you might want to make sure you understand matplotlib’s configuration process, governed by the matplotlibrc configuration file which contains instructions within and the concept of the matplotlib backend.
If you are still having trouble, see Getting help.
Occasionally, problems with matplotlib can be solved with a clean installation of the package.
The process for removing an installation of matplotlib depends on how matplotlib was originally installed on your system. Follow the steps below that goes with your original installation method to cleanly remove matplotlib from your system.
python setup.py clean
does not properly clean the build directory, and does nothing to the install directory. To cleanly rebuild:
Clone the main source using one of:
git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:matplotlib/matplotlib.git
git clone git://github.com/matplotlib/matplotlib.git
and build and install as usual with:
> cd matplotlib > python setup.py install
If you are on debian/ubuntu, you can get all the dependencies required to build matplotlib with:
sudo apt-get build-dep python-matplotlib
If you are on Fedora/RedHat, you can get all the dependencies required to build matplotlib by first installing yum-builddep and then running:
su -c "yum-builddep python-matplotlib"
This does not build matplotlib, but it does get all of the build dependencies, which will make building from source easier.
If you want to be able to follow the development branch as it changes just replace the last step with (make sure you have setuptools installed):
> python setup.py develop
This creates links in the right places and installs the command line script to the appropriate places.
Mac OSX users please see the Building on OSX guide.
Windows users please see the Building on Windows guide.
Then, if you want to update your matplotlib at any time, just do:
> git pull
When you run git pull, if the output shows that only Python files have been updated, you are all set. If C files have changed, you need to run the python setup.py develop command again to compile them.
There is more information on using git in the developer docs.
Because most Linux distributions use some sort of package manager, we do not provide a pre-built binary for the Linux platform. Instead, we recommend that you use the “Add Software” method for your system to install matplotlib. This will guarantee that everything that is needed for matplotlib will be installed as well.
If, for some reason, you can not use the package manager, Linux usually comes with at least a basic build system. Follow the instructions found above for how to build and install matplotlib.
Apple ships OS X with its own Python, in /usr/bin/python, and its own copy of matplotlib. Unfortunately, the way Apple currently installs its own copies of numpy, scipy and matplotlib means that these packages are difficult to upgrade (see system python packages). For that reason we strongly suggest that you install a fresh version of Python and use that as the basis for installing libraries such as numpy and matplotlib. One convenient way to install matplotlib with other useful Python software is to use one of the excellent Python scientific software collections that are now available:
These collections include Python itself and a wide range of libraries; if you need a library that is not available from the collection, you can install it yourself using standard methods such as pip. Continuum and Enthought offer their own installation support for these collections; see the Ananconda and Canopy web pages for more information.
Other options for a fresh Python install are the standard installer from python.org, or installing Python using a general OSX package management system such as homebrew or macports. Power users on OSX will likely want one of homebrew or macports on their system to install open source software packages, but it is perfectly possible to use these systems with another source for your Python binary, such as Anaconda, Canopy or Python.org Python.
If you are using recent Python from http://www.python.org, Macports or Homebrew, then you can use the standard pip installer to install matplotlib binaries in the form of wheels.
Install pip following the standard pip install instructions. For the impatient, open a new Terminal.app window and:
curl -O https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
Then (Python 2.7):
or (Python 3):
You can now install matplotlib and all its dependencies with:
pip install matplotlib
For Python 2.7:
sudo port install py27-pip sudo pip-2.7 install matplotlib
For Python 3.4:
sudo port install py34-pip sudo pip-3.4 install matplotlib
For Python 2.7:
pip2 install matplotlib
For Python 3.4:
pip3 install matplotlib
You might also want to install IPython; we recommend you install IPython with the IPython notebook option, like this:
matplotlib also has a disk image (.dmg) installer, which contains a typical Installer.app package to install matplotlib. You should use binary wheels instead of the disk image installer if you can, because:
If you still want to use the disk image installer, read on.
Before installing via the disk image installer, be sure that all of the packages were compiled for the same version of python. Often, the download site for NumPy and matplotlib will display a supposed ‘current’ version of the package, but you may need to choose a different package from the full list that was built for your combination of python and OSX.
The disk image installer will have a .dmg extension, and will have a name like matplotlib-1.4.0-py2.7-macosx10.6.dmg. The name of the installer depends on the versions of python and matplotlib it was built for, and the version of OSX that the matching Python.org installer was built for. For example, if the mathing Python.org Python installer was built for OSX 10.6 or greater, the dmg file will end in -macosx10.6.dmg. You need to download this disk image file, open the disk image file by double clicking, and find the new matplotlib disk image icon on your desktop. Double click on that icon to show the contents of the image. Then double-click on the .mpkg icon, which will have a name like matplotlib-1.4.0-py2.7-macosx10.6.mpkg, it will run the Installer.app, prompt you for a password if you need system-wide installation privileges, and install to a directory like /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/site-packages (exact path depends on your Python version).
The new version of matplotlib should now be on your Python “path”. Check this with one of these commands at the Terminal.app command line:
python2.7 -c 'import matplotlib; print matplotlib.__version__, matplotlib.__file__'
(Python 2.7) or:
python3.4 -c 'import matplotlib; print(matplotlib.__version__, matplotlib.__file__)'
(Python 3.4). You should see something like this:
where 1.4.0 is the matplotlib version you just installed, and the path following depends on whether you are using Python.org Python, Homebrew or Macports. If you see another version, or you get an error like this:
Traceback (most recent call last): File "<string>", line 1, in <module> ImportError: No module named matplotlib
then check that the Python binary is the one you expected by doing one of these commands in Terminal.app:
If you get the result /usr/bin/python2.7, then you are getting the Python installed with OSX, which is probably not what you want. Try closing and restarting Terminal.app before running the check again. If that doesn’t fix the problem, depending on which Python you wanted to use, consider reinstalling Python.org Python, or check your homebrew or macports setup. Remember that the disk image installer only works for Python.org Python, and will not get picked up by other Pythons. If all these fail, please let us know: see Getting help.
We recommend you use one of the excellent python collections which include Python itself and a wide range of libraries including matplotlib:
Python (X, Y) is Windows-only, whereas Anaconda and Canopy are cross-platform.
If you have already installed Python and numpy, you can use one of the matplotlib binary installers for windows – you can get these from the download site. Chose the files with an .exe extension that match your version of Python (eg py2.7 if you installed Python 2.7). If you haven’t already installed Python, you can get the official version from the Python web site.