Runtime dependencies#

Mandatory dependencies#

When installing through a package manager like pip or conda, the mandatory dependencies are automatically installed. This list is mainly for reference.

Optional dependencies#

The following packages and tools are not required but extend the capabilities of Matplotlib.


Matplotlib figures can be rendered to various user interfaces. See What is a backend? for more details on the optional Matplotlib backends and the capabilities they provide.

  • Tk (>= 8.4, != 8.6.0 or 8.6.1): for the Tk-based backends. Tk is part of most standard Python installations, but it's not part of Python itself and thus may not be present in rare cases.

  • PyQt6 (>= 6.1), PySide6, PyQt5, or PySide2: for the Qt-based backends.

  • PyGObject and pycairo (>= 1.14.0): for the GTK-based backends. If using pip (but not conda or system package manager) PyGObject must be built from source; see pygobject documentation.

  • pycairo (>= 1.14.0) or cairocffi (>= 0.8): for cairo-based backends.

  • wxPython (>= 4): for the wx-based backends. If using pip (but not conda or system package manager) on Linux wxPython wheels must be manually downloaded from

  • Tornado (>= 5): for the WebAgg backend.

  • ipykernel: for the nbagg backend.

  • macOS (>= 10.12): for the macosx backend.


Font handling and rendering#

C libraries#

Matplotlib brings its own copies of the following libraries:

  • Agg: the Anti-Grain Geometry C++ rendering engine

  • ttconv: a TrueType font utility

Additionally, Matplotlib depends on:

  • FreeType (>= 2.3): a font rendering library

  • QHull (>= 2020.2): a library for computing triangulations

By default, Matplotlib downloads and builds its own copies of FreeType (this is necessary to run the test suite, because different versions of FreeType rasterize characters differently) and of Qhull. As an exception, Matplotlib defaults to the system version of FreeType on AIX.

To force Matplotlib to use a copy of FreeType or Qhull already installed in your system, create a mplsetup.cfg file with the following contents:

system_freetype = true
system_qhull = true

before running python -m pip install ..

In this case, you need to install the FreeType and Qhull library and headers. This can be achieved using a package manager, e.g. for FreeType:

# Pick ONE of the following:
sudo apt install libfreetype6-dev  # Debian/Ubuntu
sudo dnf install freetype-devel    # Fedora
brew install freetype              # macOS with Homebrew
conda install freetype             # conda, any OS

(adapt accordingly for Qhull).

On Linux and macOS, it is also recommended to install pkg-config, a helper tool for locating FreeType:

# Pick ONE of the following:
sudo apt install pkg-config  # Debian/Ubuntu
sudo dnf install pkgconf     # Fedora
brew install pkg-config      # macOS with Homebrew
conda install pkg-config     # conda
# Or point the PKG_CONFIG environment variable to the path to pkg-config:
export PKG_CONFIG=...

If not using pkg-config (in particular on Windows), you may need to set the include path (to the library headers) and link path (to the libraries) explicitly, if they are not in standard locations. This can be done using standard environment variables -- on Linux and OSX:

export CFLAGS='-I/directory/containing/ft2build.h'
export LDFLAGS='-L/directory/containing/'

and on Windows:

set CL=/IC:\directory\containing\ft2build.h
set LINK=/LIBPATH:C:\directory\containing\freetype.lib

If you go this route but need to reset and rebuild to change your settings, remember to clear your artifacts before re-building:

git clean -xfd

Minimum pip / manylinux support (linux)#

Matplotlib publishes manylinux wheels which have a minimum version of pip which will recognize the wheels

  • Python 3.8: manylinx2010 / pip >= 19.0

  • Python 3.9+: manylinx2014 / pip >= 19.3

In all cases the required version of pip is embedded in the CPython source.

Dependencies for building Matplotlib#

Setup dependencies#

  • certifi (>= 2020.06.20). Used while downloading the freetype and QHull source during build. This is not a runtime dependency.

  • setuptools_scm (>= 7). Used to update the reported mpl.__version__ based on the current git commit. Also a runtime dependency for editable installs.

  • NumPy (>= 1.19). Also a runtime dependency.

C++ compiler#

Matplotlib requires a C++ compiler that supports C++11.

Dependencies for testing Matplotlib#

This section lists the additional software required for running the tests.



In addition to all of the optional dependencies on the main library, for testing the following will be used if they are installed.

If any of these dependencies are not discovered the tests that rely on them will be skipped by pytest.


When installing Inkscape on Windows, make sure that you select “Add Inkscape to system PATH”, either for all users or current user, or the tests will not find it.

Dependencies for building Matplotlib's documentation#

Python packages#

The additional Python packages required to build the documentation are listed in doc-requirements.txt and can be installed using

pip install -r requirements/doc/doc-requirements.txt

The content of doc-requirements.txt is also shown below:

# Requirements for building docs
# You will first need a matching Matplotlib installation
# e.g (from the Matplotlib root directory)
#     pip install -e .
# Install the documentation requirements with:
#     pip install -r requirements/doc/doc-requirements.txt

Additional external dependencies#


  • a minimal working LaTeX distribution

  • Graphviz

  • the following LaTeX packages (if your OS bundles TeXLive, the "complete" version of the installer, e.g. "texlive-full" or "texlive-all", will often automatically include these packages):

Optional, but recommended:

  • Inkscape

  • optipng

  • the font "Humor Sans" (aka the "XKCD" font), or the free alternative Comic Neue

  • the font "Times New Roman"


The documentation will not build without LaTeX and Graphviz. These are not Python packages and must be installed separately. The documentation can be built without Inkscape and optipng, but the build process will raise various warnings. If the build process warns that you are missing fonts, make sure your LaTeX distribution bundles cm-super or install it separately.