Section summary

This section details the various ways of installing Mayavi.

If you already have Mayavi up and running, you can skip this section.

By itself Mayavi is not a difficult package to install but its dependencies are unfortunately rather heavy. Fortunately, many of these dependencies are now available as wheels on PyPI. The two critical dependencies are,

  1. VTK
  2. A GUI toolkit, either PyQt4, PySide, PyQt5 or wxPython.

The latest VTK wheels are available on all the major platforms (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), but only for 64 bit machines. Python 3.x is fully supported on all these operating systems and Python 2.7.x on MacOS and Linux. If you are out of luck, and your platform is not supported then you will need to install VTK yourself using your particular distribution as discussed in the General Build and Installation instructions

On Python 3.x you will need to install PyQt5 and wheels are available for this. On 2.7.x you have more options, and can use PySide, PyQt4, and wxPython. These can be installed from pip or from your package manager.

Currently, Mayavi itself should work with the new wxPython 4.x. However, traitsui, pyface, and other ETS packages do not yet support it so the UI will not work correctly. Older versions should work. PyQt/PySide should work largely out of the box. PySide2 is still young so YMMV.

Installing with pip

pip is the PyPA recommended tool for installing Python packages from PyPI. The latest version of Mayavi available on PyPI can be found here.

Required python packages can be automatically fetched and installed with pip.

Latest stable release

As of the latest release, i.e. 4.6.0 and above, if you are using Python 3.x and are on a 64 bit machine, installation via pip is the easiest and is as follows:

$ pip install mayavi

$ pip install PyQt5

Thats it!

If you are unable to do this, read the documentation above and find a way to install VTK and a suitable UI toolkit and then repeat the above.

If you are interested in the jupyter notebook support as well, do the following (after ensuring that you have jupyter installed of course):

$ jupyter nbextension install --py mayavi --user
$ jupyter nbextension enable --py mayavi --user

Bleeding edge

If you want to install the latest version of Mayavi from github, you can simply do the following:

$ git clone
$ cd mayavi
$ pip install -r requirements.txt
$ pip install PyQt5  # replace this with any supported toolkit
$ python install  # or develop

Add the jupyter nbextensions using the instructions in the section above and you should be good to go.

Mayavi depends on several packages that are part of ETS. Sometimes it is possible that the in-development mayavi version may depend on some feature of an unreleased component. The ETS packages that Mayavi depends on are apptools, traits_, traitsui, pyface, and envisage_. In case one of these are required these can also be installed via git. They are all relatively easy to install packages.

Installing ready-made distributions

Windows:Under Windows the best way to install Mayavi is to install a full Python distribution, such as Enthought Canopy, Pythonxy, or Anaconda. Note that for Pythonxy, you need to check in ‘ETS’ in the installer, when selecting components. If you want to reduce the disk space used by Pythonxy, you can uncheck other components.
MacOSX:The full Python distribution Enthought Canopy (that includes Mayavi) or Anaconda are also available for MacOSX.
Ubuntu or Debian:
 Mayavi is packaged in Debian and Ubuntu and can be installed via apt.
RedHat EL3 and EL4:
 The full Python distribution Enthought Canopy (that includes Mayavi) is also available for RHEL3 and 4.

EDM is Enthought’s freely available python environment manager. It allows new python users to create light-weight and custom python environments. A major advantage of EDM is its robust state-of-the-art management of package dependencies, with support for resolving conflicts and ensuring consistent package version sets. It can be downloaded from edmInstaller.

EDM provides Python 2.7.x as well as Python 3.x runtimes. Python 2.7 is the default version. After installing EDM, mayavi can be easily installed from the terminal by using edm:

$ edm install mayavi pyqt

This will install mayavi along with ‘pyqt’. After this, you can start a shell with the default python version by running:

$ edm shell

This should set Mayavi for the default python 2.7.

For python 3.6.x, you can install it by running:

$ edm environments create –version 3.6 py3

Where ‘py3’ is the name of the environment. You may change this name to something else if you wish. Once you create the environment, you can activate it as follows:

$ edm shell -e py3

You can now install mayavi as follows:

$ edm install mayavi pyqt

Note that ‘pyqt’ needs to be installed explicitly for python 3.6 as well as for python 2.7.

Conda is an open source package management environment management system for installing multiple versions of software packages and their dependencies. Conda is included in Anaconda and Miniconda.

Miniconda is a small “bootstrap” version that includes conda, python, and the packages they depend on. Depending on your operating system, you can download the MinicondaInstaller

After installing conda you need to run the following from command line:

$ conda create -n pyconda python=3.5 pyqt=4
$ source activate pyconda
$ conda install -c menpo mayavi

You should be all set with this. As of Mayavi 4.6.0 you can also use pyqt=5.

Installing with Conda-forge

Conda-forge is a community-led conda channel of installable packages. For more information on conda-forge, you can vist their their website.

Follow these steps to install using conda-forge:

First, clone the environment or build one from scratch:

$ conda create --name pyforge --clone root
$ conda create --name pyforge python=2.7

Then add the conda-forge channel:

$ conda config --add channels conda-forge

Activate the ‘pyforge’ environment:

$ source activate pyforge

You will need to install these dependencies for Mayavi:

$ conda install vtk
$ conda install pyqt=4

Finally, Mayavi can be installed as:

$ conda install mayavi

Testing your installation

The easiest way to test if your installation is OK is to run the mayavi2 application like so:


To get more help on the command try this:

mayavi2 -h

mayavi2 is the mayavi application. On some platforms like win32 you will need to double click on the mayavi2.exe program found in your PythonXY\Scripts folder. Make sure this directory is in your path.


Mayavi can be used in a variety of other ways but the mayavi2 application is the easiest to start with.

If you have the source tarball of mayavi or have checked out the sources from the github repository, you can run the examples in mayavi*/examples. There are plenty of example scripts illustrating various features. Tests are available in the mayavi*/tests sub-directory.

Test suite

The basic test suites for tvtk and mayavi can be run using nose:

nosetests -v tvtk/tests
nosetests -v mayavi

The integration tests can be run as:

cd integrationtests/mayavi


If you are having trouble with the installation you may want to check the Getting help page for more details on how you can search for information or email the mailing list.