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Polyscope supports Python 2 and 3 on Linux, macOS, and Windows. At runtime, your environment must support OpenGL >= 3.3 core, and have the ability to open windows in a display. This includes nearly all modern desktop/laptop computers, but not all headless servers and virtual machines.

Installing from PyPi

python -m pip install polyscope
Using python -m pip install rather than just pip install helps when your system has multiple version of Python installed, ensuring the correct pip is used. Just be sure python refers to the install of Python you intend to use.

Ideally, this install will resolve to a precompiled wheel for your platform—see troubleshooting if not. Otherwise, the setup script will compile the Polyscope C++ library from source, which may take a few minutes, and requires a suitable C++ toolchain (see building from source).


On common platforms, pip should always be able to install from a binary .whl file. If it fails to select a binary wheel, it will try to compile from source, leading to long install times or compilation errors if your toolchain is not configured.

Here are some common fixes:

  • Ensure you’re targeting the latest Polyscope python -m pip install polyscope --upgrade
  • Very old versions of pip may not be able to use the precompiled wheels. Upgrade pip with python -m pip install pip --upgrade.
  • Precompiled wheels are available on pip for Python 2.7 and 3.5-3.8 (aka most common versions), check yours with python --version, and update your Python install if needed.

Source installs with PyPI

Despite our best efforts, the precompiled binaries still may not work on some platforms. You can intentionally instruct pip to build the library from source using:

python -m pip install polyscope --no-binary polyscope
This may take a few minutes, and requires a suitable C++ toolchain (see building from source).

Installing from Conda

conda install -c conda-forge polyscope


The Conda package currently only supports Python 3.

Remember that that you can always use pip in conjuction with conda, like python -m pip install polyscope.

Installing manually

To manually download the sources:

git clone --recursive
cd polyscope-py

Polyscope can then by installed with pip as

python -m pip install .

Or manually installed with the setup script using

python install

Building from source

If a pre-compiled wheel is not available, the setup scripts (either run automatically via pip or manually with will need to compile the underlying C++ library. Your system must have a suitable C++ compiler available to build Polyscope, as well as build tools like CMake installed. The Polyscope C++ repository has a few more details about compiling. Polyscope is a 3D graphics program, so it may be difficult to build on servers without graphics support, or extremely old machines. In particular, OpenGL >= 3.3 core is a strict requirement.

Development builds

To compile Polyscope locally without (e.g., if you are developing the library) use

git clone --recursive
cd polyscope-py
mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..
make -j4

this will generate a file something like (the particular name depends on your platform), which contains the low-level bindings to C++ Polyscope. This is a pybind11 build; it can be further customized using any pybind11 CMake options, for instance to choose which version of Python is used.

The actual Polyscope python library lives in src/polyscope, which is a wrapper around these low-level bindings. You are now ready to import polyscope, so long as both the compiled bindings and src/polyscope can be found on your PYTHONPATH.