Most unix-like operating systems have libvips packages, check your package manager. For macOS, there are packages in Homebrew, MacPorts and Fink. For Windows, there are pre-compiled binaries in the Download area.

Installing on macOS with homebrew

Install homebrew, then enter:

brew install vips

That will install vips with most optional add-ons included. It won’t include ImageMagick/GraphicsMagick support (used for loading things like BMP) you have to enable that if you need it:

brew install vips --with-imagemagick

or:

brew install vips --with-graphicsmagick

It also won’t include things like openslide, cfitsio and matlab support. You must install those packages first, then install libvips with:

brew install vips --env=std

Meaning, pick up packages from the environment.

Installing the Windows binary

Download vips-dev-w64-web-x.y.z.zip from the Download area and unzip somewhere. At the command-prompt, cd to vips-x.y.z/bin and run (for example):

vips.exe invert some/input/file.jpg some/output/file.jpg

If you want to run vips.exe from some other directory on your PC, you’ll need to set your PATH.

The zipfile includes all the libraries and headers for developing with C with any compiler. For C++, you must build with g++, or rebuild the C++ API with your compiler, or just use the C API.

The vips-dev-w64-web-x.y.z.zip is built with a small set of relatively secure file format readers and can be used in a potentially hostile environment. The much larger vips-dev-w64-all-x.y.z.zip includes all the file format readers that libvips supports and care should be taken before public deployment.

The Windows binary is built by build-win64. This is a containerised mingw build system: on any host, install Docker, clone the project, and type ./build.sh 8.5. The README has notes.

Building libvips from a source tarball

If the packaged version is too old, you might need to build from source.

Download vips-x.y.z.tar.gz from the Download area, then:

$ tar xf vips-x.y.z.tar.gz
$ cd vips-x.y.z
$ ./configure

Check the summary at the end of configure carefully. libvips must have build-essential, pkg-config, glib2.0-dev, libexpat1-dev.

For the vips8 Python binding, you must also have gobject-introspection, python-gi-dev, and libgirepository1.0-dev.

You’ll need the dev packages for the file format support you want. For basic jpeg and tiff support, you’ll need libtiff5-dev, libjpeg-turbo8-dev, and libgsf-1-dev. See the Dependencies section below for a full list of the things that libvips can be configured to use.

Once configure is looking OK, compile and install with the usual:

$ make
$ sudo make install

By default this will install files to /usr/local.

We have detailed guides on the wiki for building for Windows and building for macOS.

Building libvips from git

Checkout the latest sources with:

$ git clone git://github.com/jcupitt/libvips.git

Building from git needs more packages, you’ll need at least swig, gtk-doc and gobject-introspection, see the dependencies section below.

Then:

$ ./autogen.sh
$ make
$ sudo make install

Dependencies

libvips has to have glib2.0-dev. Other dependencies are optional, see below.

Optional dependencies

If suitable versions are found, libvips will add support for the following libraries automatically. See ./configure --help for a set of flags to control library detection. Packages are generally found with pkg-config, so make sure that is working.

libtiff, giflib and libjpeg do not usually use pkg-config so libvips looks for them in the default path and in $prefix. If you have installed your own versions of these libraries in a different location, libvips will not see them. Use switches to libvips configure like:

./configure --prefix=/Users/john/vips \
	--with-giflib-includes=/opt/local/include \
	--with-giflib-libraries=/opt/local/lib \
	--with-tiff-includes=/opt/local/include \
	--with-tiff-libraries=/opt/local/lib \
	--with-jpeg-includes=/opt/local/include \
	--with-jpeg-libraries=/opt/local/lib

or perhaps:

CFLAGS="-g -Wall -I/opt/local/include -L/opt/local/lib" \
	CXXFLAGS="-g -Wall -I/opt/local/include -L/opt/local/lib" \
	./configure --without-python --prefix=/Users/john/vips 

to get libvips to see your builds.

vips8 Python binding

If gobject-introspection, python-gi-dev, and libgirepository1.0-dev are available, libvips will install the vips8 Python binding.

libjpeg

The IJG JPEG library. Use the -turbo version if you can.

libexif

If available, libvips adds support for EXIF metadata in JPEG files.

giflib

The standard gif loader. If this is not present, vips will try to load gifs via imagemagick instead.

librsvg

The usual SVG loader. If this is not present, vips will try to load SVGs via imagemagick instead.

libpoppler

The usual PDF loader. If this is not present, vips will try to load PDFs via imagemagick instead.

libgsf-1

If available, libvips adds support for creating image pyramids with dzsave.

libtiff

The TIFF library. It needs to be built with support for JPEG and ZIP compression. 3.4b037 and later are known to be OK.

fftw3

If libvips finds this library, it uses it for fourier transforms.

lcms2, lcms

If present, vips_icc_import(), vips_icc_export() and vips_icc_transform() are available for transforming images with ICC profiles. If lcms2 is available it is used in preference to lcms, since it is faster.

Large files

libvips uses the standard autoconf tests to work out how to support large files (>2GB) on your system. Any reasonably recent unix should be OK.

libpng

If present, libvips can load and save png files.

ImageMagick, or optionally GraphicsMagick

If available, libvips adds support for loading all libMagick-supported image file types. Use --with-magickpackage=GraphicsMagick to build against graphicsmagick instead.

Imagemagick 6.9+ needs to have been built with --with-modules. Most packaged IMs are, I think, but if you are rolling your own, you’ll need to pass this flag to configure.

If you are going to be using libvips with untrusted images, perhaps in a web-server, for example, you should consider the security implications of using a package with such a large attack surface. You might prefer not to enable Magick support.

libvips also supports ImageMagick7.

pangoft2

If available, libvips adds support for text rendering. You need the package pangoft2 in pkg-config --list-all.

orc-0.4

If available, vips will accelerate some operations with this run-time compiler.

matio

If available, vips can load images from Matlab save files.

cfitsio

If available, vips can load FITS images.

libwebp

If available, vips can load and save WebP images.

OpenEXR

If available, libvips will directly read (but not write, sadly) OpenEXR images.

OpenSlide

If available, libvips can load OpenSlide-supported virtual slide files: Aperio, Hamamatsu, Leica, MIRAX, Sakura, Trestle, and Ventana.

swig, python, python-dev

If available, we build the old vips7 python binding.