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Last Commit
Jun. 16, 2018
Jan. 11, 2017


An awesome iTerm2 backend for Matplotlib, so you can plot directly in your terminal.

The above is achieved with zero modifications to your Python script. For example, the above plots are generated with the following code:

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import networkx as nx

plt.rcParams["font.size"] = 10


ax = plt.subplot(121)
x = np.arange(0,10,0.001)
ax.plot(x, np.sin(np.sinc(x)), 'r', lw=2)
ax.set_title('Nice wiggle')

ax = plt.subplot(122)
plt.tick_params(axis='both', left='off', top='off', right='off', bottom='off', labelleft='off', labeltop='off', labelright='off', labelbottom='off')
G = nx.random_geometric_graph(200, 0.125)
nx.draw_networkx_edges(G, pos, alpha=0.2)
nx.draw_networkx_nodes(G, pos, node_color='r', node_size=12)
ax.set_title('Random graph')

Note: you need to run to display the figure.

Reverse video

If you use a dark background in your terminal, you can enable "reverse video" mode by adding this to your .profile:

export ITERMPLOT=rv

TMUX support

itermplot tries to auto-detect TMUX and behave in a sane way. Vertical split panes do not work well due to a limitation with iTerm2. Luckily, horizontals do though.

Animation support

itermplot supports animation created by matplotlib animation module.

You'll need to install ImageMagick and have it on the path to use the animation support. The simpliest way to see if ImageMagick is installed and valid is to run:

$ convert -version
Version: ImageMagick 7.0.4-4 Q16 x86_64 2017-01-14
Copyright: © 1999-2017 ImageMagick Studio LLC
Features: Cipher DPC HDRI Modules
Delegates (built-in): bzlib freetype jng jpeg ltdl lzma png tiff xml zlib

To enable animation support, you need to specifying the desired number of frames in the output animation. For example, specify it before your script with:


You can also save the resulting gif file by using ITERMPLOT_OUTFILE environment variable:


Currently animation does not support reverse video with ITERMPLOT=rv.

Configure lines

You can configure the number of lines used with the ITERMPLOT_LINES environment variable. For example:


Python 2 and Python 3 support

Now supports Python 2, even if this makes me want to cry 😭


Using pip

Install using pip using the command:

pip3 install itermplot

itermplot is enabled by setting MPLBACKEND in your environment. If you use bash, then this can be accomplished using the command:

export MPLBACKEND="module://itermplot"

Note: you can add the export line above to your .profile file so that itermplot is always enabled in your terminal.


To test your installation you can do the following in your iTerm2 console:

$ python3
Python 3.5.2 (default, Oct 24 2016, 09:14:06)
[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 8.0.0 (clang-800.0.38)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
>>> plt.plot([1,2,3])
[<matplotlib.lines.Line2D object at 0x1041f2e48>]

You should see a plot!


You can disable this backend by unsetting the MPLBACKEND environment variable.


$ python3
Python 3.5.2 (default, Oct 24 2016, 09:14:06)
[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 8.0.0 (clang-800.0.38)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
>>> plt.plot([1,2,3])
[<matplotlib.lines.Line2D object at 0x1106bdcc0>]

To remove the package completely, run:

pip3 uninstall itermplot


This backend is very alpha, so if you have a problem please raise an Issue on GitHub and I will try to fix it.

I also accept (and appreciate!) good patches / pull request. Thanks to garrywu, brenshanny, hbredin, zevlg for their patches so far.

Other cool things

I encourage you to check-out some of my other little projects. Lots more coming as I slowly release them...