A common error you may encounter when using Python is modulenotfounderror: no module named ‘matplotlib’. This error occurs when Python cannot detect the Matplotlib library in your current environment. This tutorial goes through the exact steps to troubleshoot this error for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Table of contents
- ModuleNotFoundError: no module named ‘matplotlib’
- What is ModuleNotFoundError?
- What is Matplotlib?
- How to Install Matplotlib on Windows Operating System
- How to Install Matplotlib on Mac Operating System
- How to Install Matplotlib on Linux Operating Systems
- Check Matplotlib Version
- Installing Matplotlib Using Anaconda
- Importing matplotlib.pyplot
ModuleNotFoundError: no module named ‘matplotlib’
What is ModuleNotFoundError?
The ModuleNotFoundError occurs when the module you want to use is not present in your Python environment. There are several causes of the modulenotfounderror:
The module’s name is incorrect, in which case you have to check the name of the module you tried to import. Let’s try to import the re module with a double e to see what happens:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- ModuleNotFoundError Traceback (most recent call last) 1 import ree ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'ree'
To solve this error, ensure the module name is correct. Let’s look at the revised code:
import re print(re.__version__)
You may want to import a local module file, but the module is not in the same directory. Let’s look at an example package with a script and a local module to import. Let’s look at the following steps to perform from your terminal:
mkdir example_package cd example_package mkdir folder_1 cd folder_1 vi module.py
Note that we use Vim to create the module.py file in this example. You can use your preferred file editor, such as Emacs or Atom. In module.py, we will import the re module and define a simple function that prints the re version:
import re def print_re_version(): print(re.__version__)
Close the module.py, then complete the following commands from your terminal:
cd ../ vi script.py
Inside script.py, we will try to import the module we created.
import module if __name__ == '__main__': mod.print_re_version()
Let’s run python script.py from the terminal to see what happens:
Traceback (most recent call last): File "script.py", line 1, in <module> import module ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'module'
To solve this error, we need to point to the correct path to module.py, which is inside folder_1. Let’s look at the revised code:
import folder_1.module as mod if __name__ == '__main__': mod.print_re_version()
When we run python script.py, we will get the following result:
Lastly, you can encounter the modulenotfounderror when you import a module that is not installed in your Python environment.
What is Matplotlib?
Matplotlib is a data visualization and graphical plotting library for Python. Matplotlib is an open-source alternative to MATLAB. Pyplot is a Matplotlib module, which provides a MATLAB-like interface. You can use pyplot to create various plots, including line, histogram, scatter, 3D, image, contour, and polar.
The simplest way to install Matplotlib is to use the package manager for Python called pip. The following installation instructions are for the major Python version 3.
How to Install Matplotlib on Windows Operating System
First, you need to download and install Python on your PC. Ensure you select the install launcher for all users and Add Python to PATH checkboxes. The latter ensures the interpreter is in the execution path. Pip is automatically on Windows for Python versions 2.7.9+ and 3.4+.
You can check your Python version with the following command:
You can install pip on Windows by downloading the installation package, opening the command line and launching the installer. You can install pip via the CMD prompt by running the following command.
You may need to run the command prompt as administrator. Check whether the installation has been successful by typing.
To install matplotlib with pip, run the following command from the command prompt.
pip3 install matplotlib
How to Install Matplotlib on Mac Operating System
Open a terminal by pressing command (⌘) + Space Bar to open the Spotlight search. Type in terminal and press enter. To get pip, first ensure you have installed Python3:
Download pip by running the following curl command:
curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py
The curl command allows you to specify a direct download link. Using the -o option sets the name of the downloaded file.
Install pip by running:
From the terminal, use pip3 to install Matplotlib:
pip3 install matplotlib
How to Install Matplotlib on Linux Operating Systems
All major Linux distributions have Python installed by default. However, you will need to install pip. You can install pip from the terminal, but the installation instructions depend on the Linux distribution you are using. You will need root privileges to install pip. Open a terminal and use the commands relevant to your Linux distribution to install pip.
Installing pip for Ubuntu, Debian, and Linux Mint
sudo apt install python-pip3
Installing pip for CentOS 8 (and newer), Fedora, and Red Hat
sudo dnf install python-pip3
Installing pip for CentOS 6 and 7, and older versions of Red Hat
sudo yum install epel-release sudo yum install python-pip3
Installing pip for Arch Linux and Manjaro
sudo pacman -S python-pip
Installing pip for OpenSUSE
sudo zypper python3-pip
Once you have installed pip, you can install Matplotlib using:
pip3 install matplotlib
Check Matplotlib Version
Once you have successfully installed Matplotlib, you can use two methods to check the version of Matplotlib. First, you can use pip show from your terminal. Remember that the name of the package is Matplotlib.
pip show matplotlib
Name: matplotlib Version: 3.3.4 Summary: Python plotting package Home-page: https://matplotlib.org
Second, within your python program, you can import Matlotlib and then reference the __version__ attribute:
import matplotlib print(matplotlib.__version__)
Installing Matplotlib Using Anaconda
Anaconda is a distribution of Python and R for scientific computing and data science. You can install Anaconda by going to the installation instructions. Once you have installed Anaconda, you can install Matplotlib using the following command:
conda install -c conda-forge matplotlib
You can import the Pyplot API to create plots using the following lines in your program
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
It is common to abbreviate the pyplot import to plt.
Congratulations on reading to the end of this tutorial. The modulenotfounderror occurs if you misspell the module name, incorrectly point to the module path or do not have the module installed in your Python environment. If you do not have the module installed in your Python environment, you can use pip to install the package. However, you must ensure you have pip installed on your system. You can also install Anaconda on your system and use the conda install command to install Matplotlib.
Go to the online courses page on Python to learn more about Python for data science and machine learning.
Have fun and happy researching!
Suf is a research scientist at Moogsoft, specializing in Natural Language Processing and Complex Networks. Previously he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Data Science working on adaptations of cutting-edge physics analysis techniques to data-intensive problems in industry. In another life, he was an experimental particle physicist working on the ATLAS Experiment of the Large Hadron Collider. His passion is to share his experience as an academic moving into industry while continuing to pursue research. Find out more about the creator of the Research Scientist Pod here and sign up to the mailing list here!