ParaView:Build And Install

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This page describes how to build and install ParaView. It covers both the release and the development versions. Also, it covers both Unix-type systems (Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, Mac) as well as Windows.


The ParaView build process requires CMake version 2.4.5 or higher and a working compiler. On Unix-like operating systems, it also requires Make, while on Windows it requires Visual Studio (6, 7, or 7.1).

Building ParaView's user interface requires Trolltech's Qt, version 4.2.2. Qt is dual licensed. To compile ParaView, either the open or commercial version may be used. If you intend to make changes the ParaView's GUI and distribute the results, you must obtain a commercial license. The open source version of Qt is here [1]. Commercial licenses can be purchased directly from TrollTech [2]. For more information on what can be done with the open source version, read this [3].

In order to run ParaView in parallel, MPI [4], [5] is also required.

In order to use scripting, python is required [6].

Download And Install Cmake

CMake is a tool that makes cross-platform building simple. On several systems it will probably be already installed. If it is not, please use the following instructions to install it. If CMake does not exist on the system, and there are no pre-compiled binaries, use the instructions below on how to build it.

Use Binaries

There are several precompiled binaries available at the CMake download page.

On Unix-like operating systems

Let's say on Linux, download the appropriate version and follow these instructions:

cd $HOME
mkdir software
cd software
tar xvfz ../cmake-2.4.5-Linux-i386.tar.gz
  • Now you have the directory $HOME/software/cmake-2.4.5-Linux-i386/bin, and inside there are executables cmake and ccmake.
  • You can also install CMake in the /usr/local or /opt by untaring and copying sub-directories. The rest of the instructions will assume the executables are in your $PATH.

On Windows

On Windows, if you are not administrator

Build Your Own CMake

On Unix-like operating systems

Download the source code

cd $HOME
tar xvfz cmake-2.4.5.tar.gz
mkdir cmake-2.4.5-bin
cd cmake-2.4.5-bin
../cmake-2.4.5/bootstrap --prefix=$HOME/software
make install
  • Again, you can install it in /usr/local or /opt by changing the prefix.

On Windows

To build CMake on windows, a previous version of CMake is required. This can be downloaded from the CMake download page.

Build ParaView

Download ParaView Source Code

If you are trying to build a ParaView release, download it from the release page. For the development version, please follow the instructions below for checking it out from CVS.

Download The Release

You can always download the binaries from ParaView download page. This page contains binaries for several platforms and the source code for the releases.

Checkout Development Version from CVS

On Unix-like operating systems

mkdir $HOME/projects
cd $HOME/projects

cvs login
cvs co ParaView

On Windows

If you have Cygwin or Mingw shell, then use them, and follow the instructions for Unix-like oprating systems. If you are on Windows and do not have Cygwin or Mingw shell, please download a CVS client. We recommend TortoiseCVS, which is a GUI for CVS on Windows.

Configure ParaView With CMake

  • Always use a separate build directory. Do not build in the source directory.

On Unix-like systems

  • Use ccmake (Curses CMake GUI) from the CMake installed location. CCMake is a Curses based GUI for CMake. To run it go to the build directory and specify as an argument the build directory.
mkdir $HOME/projects/ParaView-bin
cd $HOME/projects/ParaView-bin

ccmake $HOME/projects/ParaView

Brpv ccmake.png

About CCMake (Curses CMake GUI)

  • Iterative process
    • Select values, run configure (c key)
    • Set the settings, run configure, set the settings, run configure, etc.
  • Repeat until all values are set and the generate option is available (g key)
  • Some variables (advanced variables) are not visible right away
  • To see advanced varables, toggle to advanced mode (t key)
  • To set a variable, move the cursor to the variable and press enter
    • If it is a boolean (ON/OFF) it will flip the value
    • If it is string or file, it will allow editing of the string
    • For file and directories, the <tab> key can be used to complete
  • To search for a variable press '/' key, and to repeat the search, press the 'n' key.

On Windows

  • Use CMakeSetup from the CMake install location.
  • Make sure to select the appropriate source and the build directory
  • Also, make sure to pick the appropriate generator (on Visual Studio 6, pick the Visual Studio 6 generator). Some CMake versions will ask you to select the generator the first time you press Configure instead of having a drop-down menu in the main dialog.

Brpv cmakesetup.png

About CMakeSetup (Windows CMake GUI)

  • Iterative process
    • Select values, press the Configure button
    • Set the settings, run configure, set the settings, run configure, etc.
  • Repeat until all values are set and the OK button becomes available.
  • Some variables (advanced variables) are not visible right away
  • To see advanced varables, toggle to advanced mode ("Show Advanced Values" toggle).
  • To set the value of a variable, click on that value.
    • If it is boolean (ON/OFF), a drop-down menu will appear for changing the value.
    • If it is file or directory, an ellipsis button will appear ("...") on the far right of the entry. Clicking this button will bring up the file or directory selection dialog.
    • If it is a string, it will become an editable string.

ParaView Settings

Variable Description
QT_QMAKE_EXECUTABLE Path to Qt's qmake executable (such as /usr/local/Trolltech/Qt-4.2.2/bin/qmake). Cmake uses this to locate the rest of the required Qt executables, headers and libraries.
BUILD_SHARED_LIBS If ON, use shared libraries. This way executables are smaller, but you have to make sure the shared libraries are on every system on the cluster.
VTK_USE_MPI Turn this to ON to enable MPI. Other MPI options will not be available until you turn this on.
MPI_LIBRARY Path to the MPI library (such as /usr/lib/ Should be found by default, but you may have to set it.
MPI_EXTRA_LIBRARY Path to extra MPI library (such as /usr/lib/ If the MPI distribution is MPICH, this may not be found; in this case, it is ok for this variable to be set to MPI_EXTRA_LIBRARY-NOTFOUND.
MPI_INCLUDE_PATH Path to MPI includes (such as /usr/include/mpi). Again, this should be found by default.
PARAVIEW_ENABLE_PYTHON Makes python client scripting and the python programmable filter available.
VTK_USE_CARBON For Mac, this is the default. Neither X11 nor COCOA frameworks are supported.

Finish Configuring ParaView

Using CCMake

  • Once all configuration options are set, you should be able to just run <generate> (g key).

Using CMakeSetup

  • Once all configuration options are set, you should be able to just run <generate>, by clicking the "OK" button.

Build ParaView

You can now build ParaView using the appropriate build system.

Using Make

CMake will now generate Make files. These makefiles have all dependencies and all rules to build ParaView on this system. You should not however try to move the build directory to another location on this system or to another system.

Once you have makefiles you should be able to just type:

  • If you are on multi-processor system (let's say 4 processor), you can type:
 make -j 4

Brpv make.png

Using Visual Studio

CMake will now create Visual Studio project files. You should now be able to open the ParaView project (or workspace) file. Make sure to select the appropriate build type (Debug, Release, ...). To build ParaView, simply build the ALL_BUILD target.

Brpv visualstudio71.png

If you run into an error that looks like this:

2>------ Build started: Project: QtChart, Configuration: Debug Win32 ------
2>c:\qt\4.2.2\include\qtcore\../../src/corelib/tools/qmap.h(906) : error C2244: 'QMultiMap<Key,T>::replace' : unable to match function definition to an existing declaration
2>        c:\qt\4.2.2\include\qtcore\../../src/corelib/tools/qmap.h(891) : see declaration of 'QMultiMap<Key,T>::replace'
2>        definition
2>        'QMap<aKey,aT>::iterator QMultiMap<Key,T>::replace(const Key &,const T &)'
2>        existing declarations
2>        'QMap<aKey,aT>::iterator QMultiMap<Key,T>::replace(const Key
&,const T &)'

You must either apply a patch to visual studio [7] to fix its template parsing, or change the qhash.h and qmap.h header files in your Qt instalation directory like so:

//    inline QHash<Key, T>::iterator replace(const Key &key, const T &value);
//    inline QHash<Key, T>::iterator insert(const Key &key, const T &value);
    typedef QHash<Key, T>::iterator iterator;
    inline typename iterator replace(const Key &key, const T &value);
    inline typename iterator insert(const Key &key, const T &value);
//Q_INLINE_TEMPLATE Q_TYPENAME QHash<Key, T>::iterator QMultiHash<Key, T>::replace(const  Key &akey, const T &avalue)
Q_INLINE_TEMPLATE Q_TYPENAME QMultiHash<Key, T>::iterator QMultiHash<Key, T>::replace(const Key &akey, const T &avalue)
//Q_INLINE_TEMPLATE Q_TYPENAME QHash<Key, T>::iterator QMultiHash<Key, T>::replace(const Key &akey, const T &avalue)
Q_INLINE_TEMPLATE Q_TYPENAME QMultiHash<Key, T>::iterator QMultiHash<Key,T>::replace(const Key &akey, const T &avalue)

Install ParaView

ParaView can be run directly from the build directory. That said, for production environments, it should be installed in some system location.

Using Make

On Unix-like operating systems, the install location is /usr, /usr/local, /opt, or something similar.

To install ParaView, simply run:

 make install

Make sure to have write access to this location. If you do not, it may be necessary to run install as an administrator. For example, on Unix you would do something like:

  <root password>
  make install

Using Visual Studio

On Windows, this location is something like c:\Program Files\ParaView.

To install ParaView, simply run INSTALL target within the build system.


Compiling on the Mac

To compile on the Mac, follow the instructions for Unix. The recommended configuration settings are: VTK_USE_CARBON=ON, BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON, VTK_USE_RPATH=ON

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