PyVISA is a wrapper around the National Instruments’s VISA library, which you need to download and install in order to use PyVISA (NI-VISA Installation).

PyVISA has no additional dependencies except Python itself. In runs on Python 2.6+ and 3.2+.


PyVISA works with 32- and 64- bit Python and can deal with 32- and 64-bit VISA libraries without any extra configuration. What PyVISA cannot do is open a 32-bit VISA library while running in 64-bit Python (or the other way around).

You need to make sure that the Python and VISA library have the same bitness

You can install it using pip:

$ pip install pyvisa

or using easy_install:

$ easy_install pyvisa

That’s all! You can check that PyVISA is correctly installed by starting up python, and importing PyVISA:

>>> import visa
>>> lib = visa.VisaLibrary()

If you encounter any problem, take a look at the Frequently asked questions.

Getting the code

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

$ git clone git://

Download the tarball:

$ curl -OL

Or, download the zipball:

$ curl -OL

Once you have a copy of the source, you can embed it in your Python package, or install it into your site-packages easily:

$ python install


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