Contributing to PyVISA

You can contribute in different ways:

Report issues

You can report any issues with the package, the documentation to the PyVISA issue tracker. Also feel free to submit feature requests, comments or questions. In some cases, platform specific information is required. If you think this is the case, run the following command and paste the output into the issue:


It is useful that you also provide the log output. To obtain it, add the following lines to your code:

import pyvisa

If your issue concern a specific instrument please be sure to indicate the manufacturer and the model.

Contribute code

To contribute fixes, code or documentation to PyVISA, send us a patch, or fork PyVISA in github and submit the changes using a pull request.

You can also get the code from PyPI or GitHub. You can clone the public repository:

$ git clone git://

Once you have a copy of the source, you can embed it in your Python package, or install it in develop mode easily:

$ python develop

Installing in development mode means that any change you make will be immediately reflected when you run pyvisa.

PyVISA uses a number of tools to ensure a consistent code style and quality. The code is checked as part of the CIs system but you may want to run those locally before submitting a patch. You have multiple options to do so:

  • You can install pre-commit (using pip for example) and run:

    $pre-commit install

This will run all the above mentioned tools run when you commit your changes.

  • Install and run each tool independently. You can install all of them using pip and the dev_requirements.txt file. You can a look at the CIs configurations (in .github/workflows/ci.yml). Thoses tools are:

    • black: Code formatting
    • isort: Import sorting
    • flake8: Code quality
    • mypy: Typing

Finally if editing docstring, please note that PyVISA uses Numpy style docstring. In order to build the documentation you will need to install sphinx and sphinx_rtd_theme. Both are listed in dev_requirements.txt.


If you have an old system installation of Python and you don’t want to mess with it, you can try Anaconda. It is a free Python distribution by Continuum Analytics that includes many scientific packages.

Contributing to an existing backend

Backends are the central piece of PyVISA as they provide the low level communication over the different interfaces. There a couple of backends in the wild which can use your help. Look them up in PyPI (try pyvisa in the search box) and see where you can help.

Contributing a new backend

If you think there is a new way that low level communication can be achieved, go for it. You can use any of the existing backends as a template or start a thread in the issue tracker and we will be happy to help you.