Our community loves to help each other. Please report installation problems in case you should get stuck.

Choose one of the installation methods below to get started:


Using the Spack Package

A package for openPMD-api is available via the Spack package manager.

# optional:               +python +adios1 -adios2 -hdf5 -mpi
spack install openpmd-api
spack load openpmd-api

Using the Conda Package

A package for openPMD-api is available via the Conda package manager.

# optional:                      OpenMPI support  =*=mpi_openmpi*
# optional:                        MPICH support  =*=mpi_mpich*
conda create -n openpmd -c conda-forge openpmd-api
conda activate openpmd

Using the Brew Package

A package for openPMD-api is available via the Homebrew/Linuxbrew package manager.

brew tap openpmd/openpmd
brew install openpmd-api

Brew ship only the latest release, includes (Open)MPI support and lacks the ADIOS1 backend.


Using the PyPI Package

A package for openPMD-api is available via the Python Package Index (PyPI).

On very old macOS versions (<10.9) or on exotic processor architectures, this install method compiles from source against the found installations of HDF5, ADIOS1, ADIOS2, and/or MPI (in system paths, from other package managers, or loaded via a module system, …).

# we need pip 19 or newer
# optional:                   --user
python3 -m pip install -U pip

# optional:                        --user
python3 -m pip install openpmd-api

If MPI-support shall be enabled, we always have to recompile:

# optional:                                    --user
python3 -m pip install -U pip setuptools wheel
python3 -m pip install -U cmake

# optional:                                                                   --user
openPMD_USE_MPI=ON python3 -m pip install openpmd-api --no-binary openpmd-api

For some exotic architectures and compilers, you might need to disable a compiler feature called link-time/interprocedural optimization if you encounter linking problems:

# optional:                                                --user
python3 -m pip install openpmd-api --no-binary openpmd-api

Additional CMake options can be passed via individual environment variables, which need to be prefixed with openPMD_CMAKE_.


From Source with CMake

You can also install openPMD-api from source with CMake. This requires that you have all dependencies installed on your system. The developer section on build options provides further details on variants of the build.

Linux & OSX

git clone

mkdir openPMD-api-build
cd openPMD-api-build

# optional: for full tests

# for own install prefix append:
# for options append:
#   -DopenPMD_USE_...=...
# e.g. for python support add:
#   -DopenPMD_USE_PYTHON=ON -DPython_EXECUTABLE=$(which python3)
cmake ../openPMD-api

cmake --build .

# optional

# sudo might be required for system paths
cmake --build . --target install


The process is basically similar to Linux & OSX, with just a couple of minor tweaks. Use ps ..\openPMD-api\share\openPMD\download_samples.ps1 to download sample files for tests (optional). Replace the last three commands with

cmake --build . --config Release

# optional
ctest -C Release

# administrative privileges might be required for system paths
cmake --build . --config Release --target install

Post “From Source” Install

If you installed to a non-system path on Linux or OSX, you need to express where your newly installed library can be found.

Adjust the lines below accordingly, e.g. replace $HOME/somepath with your install location prefix in -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=.... CMake will summarize the install paths for you before the build step.

# install prefix         |------------|
# Note that one some systems, /lib might need to be replaced with /lib64.

#                change path to your python MAJOR.MINOR version
export PYTHONPATH=$HOME/somepath/lib/python3.8/site-packages:$PYTHONPATH

Adding those lines to your $HOME/.bashrc and re-opening your terminal will set them permanently.

Set hints on Windows with the CMake printed paths accordingly, e.g.:

set PATH=C:\\Program Files\openPMD\Lib;%PATH%
set PYTHONPATH=C:\\Program Files\openPMD\Lib\site-packages;%PYTHONPATH%