I'm using ArcGIS 10 and would like to use various additional libraries that are not included in the delivered version of ArcGIS (esp. numpy and matplotlib). First I tried to install them manually as described here: http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/users/installing.html

But because this seem not to work

I tried various different mailing lists and forums but so far it seems that this problem cannot be solved; see also my post here: matplotlib does not work in ArcGIS 10 and Eclipse (Python)

I'm wondering if it may work if I just install the distribution PYTHON(X,Y) which has all packages I need for development. (see http://www.pythonxy.com/)

Does anyone have experience and knows if I can just install another distribution simply on top of the existing version installed by ArcGIS 10 without loosing my ArcGIS Python functionalities. Maybe someone did even try this and installed the PYTHON(X,Y) distribution to use with ArcGIS already? What version would be best? The newest one runs with Python 2.6.6.

  • Did you see this thread? gis.stackexchange.com/questions/8324/… – user681 Jul 9 '11 at 13:35
  • Thanks, but it seems that the Numpy 1.5.0. Version is a problem in any case - in another forum I got pretty much the same hint that ArcGIS just works with Numpy 1.3.0.. So it seems that this will not work either. I may have to look for another solution to get matplotlib run in ArcGIS – Werner Jul 9 '11 at 21:38
  • As an aside, we never did pursue a solution to the thread that Dan mentions above. The project I was working on got put on hold and the need to use arcpy on that server is no longer there. However, I am interested to hear if someone finds a workable solution for future reference. – Jason Jul 10 '11 at 14:15
  • @Werner I merged your two separate accounts so that people can recognize that "Werner" the replier and "Werner" the questioner are one and the same. Because that reply was really a pair of comments, I moved it as a comment after @Dan's reply. – whuber Jul 11 '11 at 16:31

The safest thing is to use the ArcGIS installation whenever you want to use arcpy. But, installing other libraries into the ArcGIS installation can get hairy.

One solution is to use virtualenv. This way, you install all of the libraries you want but it doesn't put anything in the ArcGIS installation. It creates a virtual Python environment into which you install everything you want. It can then create links to your Python installation to use those binaries and libraries.

You can certainly install other Python installations alongside the ArcGIS one. If you want to use arcpy from it, you should use the same version (though, you can be guaranteed that everything will work right). You'll have to be careful with your environment paths and variables. virtualenv can useful in this situation, too.


ArcGIS 10 depends on a specific version of NumPy, so it's a little dangerous to install (X,Y) on top of it. This page has a large selection of Python libraries with Windows intallers, it may be safer to just install the ones you need on an as-needed basis.

  • thanks for the tip, this is indeed a quite nice source I didn't know about. Unfortunatly the matplotlib version here doesn't work either. Even if I just run a simple script I always get the message: No module named pyplot Thats the reason why I thought to try something different. – Werner Jul 9 '11 at 21:05

Just install eclipse and use Arcpy there. Create any scripts you like, with any libraries on your system, then load the new scripts through the Python window; U se numpy and a lot of other libraries not installed with ArcGIS and this method works well for me.


  • Well I git the idea with Ecplise as well esp. cause I am editing my scripts in Eclipse. But this is another issue I posted somewhere else: eclipse.org/forums/index.php/m/691535/#msg_691535 sourceforge.net/projects/pydev/forums/forum/293649/topic/… Seems that my attempts to work with matplotlib were not really successful so far. – Werner Jul 12 '11 at 12:20

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