I have installed matplotlib (v. 1.0.1) which works with iPython quite good. But if I insert the same script in ArcGIS 10 or Eclipse 3.7.0 (with PyDev) I get always errors. As I consider to use matplotlib to create graphs with ArcGIS Python Scripts developed in Eclipse thats both pretty unfortunate - so far eclipse works quite well for ArcGIS 10.

F.i. I tested this one: http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/examples/api/unicode_minus.html In iPython it works perfect.

In Eclipse I get this error: import matplotlib.pyplot as plt ImportError: No module named pyplot

And in ArcGIS I get this one: Running script Script1... : bad screen distance "640.0" Failed to execute (Script1).

Do I still have something to configure?

I have tested several other things and posted in other forums as well (like ESRI). As there seem to be no solution to the problem maybe someone does have a recommendation about which other tool might be suitable to create graphs while running python with ArcGIS 10. Besides regular pie and column charts I need in particular the possibility to create star plots/ radar charts / amoeba diagram - most likely something like:


  • Could be a pythonpath issue if you have multiple installations of python. Your eclipse may use a different one. This has always been a headache for me. Make sure your eclipse is configured with the "right" /arcgis-shipped python interpreter (you can set up different ones against different installations and libraries).
    – ako
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


I can't be sure, but if you have setuptools, you can use easy_install. It may be as simple as downloading the egg (For some reason I had issues with downloading/installing directly with easy_install) and installing it using your chosen Python interpreter, like so:

C:\Python26\ArcGIS10.0\python.exe -m easy_install C:\Path\To\Egg\matplotlib-1.0.1_r0-py2.6-win32.egg

As long as you have the required dependencies, this should resolve your import error with your specified Python interpreter.

I'm clueless about the "bad screen distance" error.


I could be corrected, but I think your issue is that ESRI installs its own version of python, so you have to install matplotlib to python shipped with ESRI products.

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