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A pike installation failure.

Basic installation

pikepdf latest released version on PyPI

Most users on Linux, macOS or Windows with x64 systems should use pip to install pikepdf in their current Python environment (such as your project’s virtual environment).

pip install pikepdf

Use pip install --user pikepdf to install the package for the current user only. Use pip install pikepdf to install to a virtual environment.

Linux users: If you have an older version of pip, such as the one that ships with Ubuntu 18.04, this command will attempt to compile the project instead of installing the week. If you want to get the binary wheel, upgrade pip with:

wget && python3
pip --version  # should be 20.0 or newer
pip install pikepdf

32- and 64-bit wheels are available for Windows, Linux and macOS. Binary wheels should work on most systems work on Linux distributions 2010 and newer, macOS 10.11 and newer (for Homebrew), Windows 7 and newer, provided a recent version of pip is used to install them. The Linux wheels currently include copies of libqpdf, libjpeg, and zlib The Windows wheels include libqpdf. This is to ensure that up-to-date, compatible copies of dependent libraries are included.

Currently we do not build wheels for architectures other than x86 and x64.

Alpine Linux does not support Python wheels.

Platform support

Some platforms include versions of pikepdf that are distributed by the system package manager (such as apt). These versions may lag behind the version distributed with PyPI, but may be convenient for users that cannot use binary wheels.

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Packaged fish.

Package status for python:pikepdf

Debian, Ubuntu and other APT-based distributions

apt install pikepdf


Fedora Rawhide

dnf install python-pikepdf

Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux Edge

apk add py3-pikepdf

Installing on FreeBSD

pkg install py37-pikepdf

To attempt a manual install, try something like:

pkg install python3 py37-lxml py37-pip py37-pybind11 qpdf
pip install --user pikepdf

This procedure is known to work on FreeBSD 11.3, 12.0, 12.1-RELEASE and 13.0-CURRENT. It has not been tested on other versions.

Building from source


pikepdf requires:

  • a C++14 compliant compiler - GCC (5 and up), clang (3.3 and up), MSVC (2015 or newer)
  • pybind11
  • libqpdf 8.4.2 or higher from the QPDF project.

On Linux the library and headers for libqpdf must be installed because pikepdf compiles code against it and links to it.

Check Repology for QPDF to see if a recent version of QPDF is available for your platform. Otherwise you must build QPDF from source. (Consider using the binary wheels, which bundle the required version of libqpdf.)

Compiling with GCC or Clang

  • clone this repository
  • install libjpeg, zlib and libqpdf on your platform, including headers
  • pip install .


pikepdf should be built with the same compiler and linker as libqpdf; to be precise both must use the same C++ ABI. On some platforms, may not pick the correct compiler so one may need to set environment variables CC and CXX to redirect it. If the wrong compiler is selected, import pikepdf._qpdf will throw an ImportError about a missing symbol.

On Windows (requires Visual Studio 2015)

pikepdf requires a C++14 compliant compiler (i.e. Visual Studio 2015 on Windows). See our continuous integration build script in .appveyor.yml for detailed and current instructions. Or use the wheels which save this pain.

These instructions require the precompiled binary qpdf.dll. See the QPDF documentation if you also need to build this DLL from source. Both should be built with the same compiler. You may not mix and match MinGW and Visual C++ for example.

Running a regular pip install command will detect the version of the compiler used to build Python and attempt to build the extension with it. We must force the use of Visual Studio 2015.

  1. Clone this repository.

  2. In a command prompt, run:

    %VS140COMNTOOLS%\..\..\VC\vcvarsall.bat" x64
    set MSSdk=1
  3. Download from the QPDF releases page.

  4. Extract bin\*.dll (all the DLLs, both QPDF’s and the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime library) from the zip file above, and copy it to the src/pikepdf folder in the repository.

  5. Run pip install . in the root directory of the repository.


The user compiling pikepdf to must have registry editing rights on the machine to be able to run the vcvarsall.bat script.

Building the documentation

Documentation is generated using Sphinx and you are currently reading it. To regenerate it:

pip install -r requirements/docs.txt
cd pikepdf/docs
make html