Installing Trackpy

For Python Novices

Installation is simple on Windows, OSX, and Linux, even for Python novices.

1. Get Scientific Python

To get started with Python on any platform, download and install Anaconda. It comes with the common scientific Python packages built in.

2. Install trackpy

Open a command prompt. On Windows, you can use the “Anaconda Command Prompt” installed by Anaconda or Start > Applications > Command Prompt. On a Mac, look for Applications > Utilities > Terminal. Type these commands:

conda update conda
conda install -c soft-matter trackpy

The above installs trackpy and all its requirements. Our tutorials also use the IPython notebook. To install that as well, type

conda install ipython-notebook

3. Try it out!

Finally, to try it out, type

ipython notebook

This will automatically open a browser tab, ready to interpret Python code. To get started, check out the links to tutorials at the top of this document.

Updating Your Installation

Before updating to a new version of trackpy, be sure to read the release notes for a list of new features and any changes you that may affect your existing analysis code.

Latest Stable Release

The code is under active development. To update to the latest stable release, run this in the command prompt:

conda update -c soft-matter trackpy

Latest Version Under Development

The master branch on github contains the latest tested development code. Changes are thoroughly tested before being merged. If you want to use the latest features it should be safe to rely on the master branch. (The primary contributors do.)

You can easily install a recent build from the soft-matter development channel on conda

conda install -c soft-matter -c soft-matter/channel/dev trackpy

If you plan to edit the code yourself, you should use git and pip as explained below.

More Information for Experienced Python Users


Package for python 2 and python 3 are available for Archlinux on AUR:


We strongly recommend using conda install trackpy, as described above, but pip is also supported.

Essential Dependencies:

You will also need the image- and video-reader PIMS, which is, like trackpy itself, part of the organization.

You can install PIMS from the soft-matter binstar channel using conda:

conda install -c soft-matter pims

or from PyPI using pip:

pip install pims

Or, if you plan to edit the code, you can install both packages manually:

git clone
pip install -e pims

git clone
pip install -e trackpy

Optional Dependencies:

  • PyTables for saving results in an HDF5 file.

    This is included with Anaconda.

  • numba for accelerated feature-finding and linking.

    This is included with Anaconda and Canopy. Installing it any other way is difficult; we recommend sticking with one of these. We support numba versions >=0.13.4 (though 0.13.3 appears to work). We currently test on 0.17.

  • Pillow or PIL for some display routines.

    This is included with Anaconda. We do not support version 3.0.0.

PIMS has its own optional dependencies for reading various formats. You can read what you need for each format here on PIMS’ README.