How to install matplotlib with pip install?

How to install matplotlib with pip install?

In the rapidly evolving field of technology, data visualization has emerged as a cornerstone for understanding complex datasets and communicating insights effectively. Among the plethora of tools available, Matplotlib stands out as a powerful library in Python, designed for creating static, interactive, and animated visualizations in Python. Its versatility and ease of use make it an indispensable tool for data scientists, researchers, and developers aiming to bring data to life.


Matplotlib is a comprehensive library for creating static, animated, and interactive visualizations in Python. It provides an object-oriented API for embedding plots into applications using general-purpose GUI toolkits like Tkinter, wxPython, Qt, or GTK. Its importance in data visualization cannot be overstated; it offers a means to visualize data in a more accessible and understandable form, enabling data analysts to identify underlying patterns and insights in data.


Before diving into the installation of Matplotlib, there are a couple of prerequisites that need to be addressed to ensure a smooth installation process.

Ensuring Python is installed

Matplotlib requires Python to be installed on your system. To check if Python is installed and identify its version, open your terminal or command prompt and type:

python --version


python3 --version

This command will display the version of Python installed on your system, if any. Matplotlib requires Python 3.6 or above.

Understanding pip

pip is the package installer for Python. It allows you to install and manage additional packages that are not part of the Python standard library. For Matplotlib, pip plays a crucial role as it will be used to install the Matplotlib package. To check if pip is installed, type the following command in your terminal or command prompt:

pip --version

or, for Python 3,

pip3 --version

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Opening the Terminal or Command Prompt

For Windows users, press Win + R, type cmd, and press enter to open the Command Prompt. macOS users can open the Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Linux users can typically open the Terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T.

Checking for Python and pip version

Before installing Matplotlib, ensure your Python and pip versions are up to date. Use the commands mentioned in the prerequisites section to check your versions.

Installing Matplotlib

To install Matplotlib, run the following command in your terminal or command prompt:

pip install matplotlib

This command will download and install the latest version of Matplotlib and its dependencies. If you encounter any issues during the installation, ensure your pip is up to date by running pip install --upgrade pip.

Verifying the Installation

Once the installation is complete, you can verify that Matplotlib has been installed correctly by trying to import it into a Python script:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

If no errors appear, Matplotlib has been successfully installed on your system. You can now proceed to use Matplotlib to create a wide range of visualizations.

Creating a Virtual Environment

To create a virtual environment, you’ll need to have Python installed on your system. Python 3 comes with the venv module pre-installed, which you can use to create virtual environments. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Navigate to your project directory: cd path/to/your/project.
  3. Run the following command: python3 -m venv env.

This command creates a folder named env in your project directory, containing the virtual environment. It includes a copy of the Python interpreter, the standard library, and various supporting files.

Installing Matplotlib within a Virtual Environment

With your virtual environment set up, you can now install Matplotlib within it. Make sure your virtual environment is activated:

  • On Windows, activate it by running: .\env\Scripts\activate.
  • On macOS and Linux, use: source env/bin/activate.

Once activated, your command prompt will change to indicate that you’re now working within the ‘env’ virtual environment. Install Matplotlib by running:

pip install matplotlib

This installs Matplotlib and its dependencies in your virtual environment, leaving your global Python setup unaffected.

Tips and Tricks

Working with Matplotlib and pip offers several advantages, and here are some tips to make the most out of them.

Upgrading Matplotlib

To ensure you have the latest features and bug fixes, it’s a good idea to keep Matplotlib updated. Upgrade Matplotlib to the latest version by running:

pip install --upgrade matplotlib

Uninstalling Matplotlib

If you need to remove Matplotlib from your virtual environment for any reason, you can do so with:

pip uninstall matplotlib

Installing a Specific Version of Matplotlib

Sometimes, project dependencies require a specific version of Matplotlib. Install a specific version by specifying it:

pip install matplotlib==3.3.4

Replace 3.3.4 with the desired version.


Q: Can I use Matplotlib with Jupyter notebooks?
A: Yes, Matplotlib integrates well with Jupyter notebooks. Use the %matplotlib inline magic command to display plots inline.

Q: How do I resolve version compatibility issues with Matplotlib?
A: Check the project’s requirements and ensure that you’re using compatible versions of Matplotlib and other dependencies. Using virtual environments allows you to tailor dependencies to each project’s needs.

Q: What should I do if I’m having trouble installing Matplotlib on Windows?
A: Ensure you have the latest version of pip and check if you need to install Microsoft C++ Build Tools. Sometimes, installing pre-compiled wheels using pip can bypass compilation issues.

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