Quick Start (ish)


The following information mostly accurate but this section is out of date (7/10/19)

Step 0. Downloads

  1. (Optional) Download and install the excellent python IDE, PyCharm. A free community edition is available at https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/

  2. Install Git. https://git-scm.com/downloads

  3. Download the Anaconda Python 3.6 Distribution from https://store.continuum.io/cshop/anaconda/. This download includes the Python standard library and numerous open source packages for science, engineering and application development. The excellent package manager conda is also included to install any additional dependencies

  4. Create an account at https://github.com. This free account will give you access to Pychron’s source files, support files and even the source for this documentation.


For steps A-C you must open the downloaded package and run the installer.

For Update Plugin

  1. Create hidden directory .pychron.<APPLLICATION_ID> in your Home folder. Replace <APPLICATION_ID> with an integer. e.g. 0

  2. Clone the pychron source. Replace <ORGANIZATION> with the appropriate fork e.g. NMGRL

    cd ~/.pychron.0
    git clone https://github.com/<ORGANIZATION>/pychron.git updates

Launcher Script

Create the file pychron_launcher.sh in a convenient place




echo Using $ROOT as "ROOT" directory


export PYCHRON_APPNAME=pyexperiment

export MassSpecDBVersion=16
export CONDA_DISTRO=~/anaconda3
export CONDA_ENV=pychron
export QT_API=pyqt


Setup Environment

Install command line developer tools

xcode-select --install

Setup the conda environment

conda create -n pychron3 python=3.5 python.app
source activate pychron3
conda install pymysql gitpython sqlalchemy reportlab lxml pyyaml yaml
conda install envisage pyqt=4 statsmodels
conda install xlrd xlwrt xlsxwriter
conda install requests certifi
conda install swig cython
pip install chaco uncertainties peakutils qimage2ndarray


  1. Create a directory called Pychron in your Home folder. ie /Users/<username>/Pychron where <username> is replaced with your user name, for the remainder of this documentation we will assume the username is argonlab. This location will serve as the root directory for all Pychron configuration and data files.

  2. Create a directory called Programming in your Home folder. /Users/argonlab/Programming This location will hold source files

  3. Open a terminal window. /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app

  4. Execute the following commands. These commands will move you to the Programming directory, then download the pychron source files into a directory called pychron

    cd ~/Programming
    git clone https://github.com/<organization>/pychron.git


    Replace <organization> with the name of your github organization. For example U. of Manitoba has its own pychron fork located at https://github.com/UManPychron/pychron.git

  5. Check to make sure you have the source files. You should see a number of files and subdirectories after executing the following commands

    cd ~/Programming/pychron
  6. checkout the version of Pychron you want to use. By default you should be on the “develop” branch. This is the

leading edge of pychron development will have buggy features. The current public release of pychron is v16.7. To
use the current release.
cd ~/Programming/pychron
git checkout release/v16.7
  1. Before you can launch Pychron you must install some dependencies.

    cd ~/Programming/pychron
    cd app_utils/requirements
    conda install --yes --file ./conda_requirements.txt
    pip install -r ./pip_requirements.txt
  2. Download the Pychron support files.

    cd ~/Programming
    git clone https://github.com/<organization>/support_pychron.git


    Again replace <organization> with the name of your github organization.

  3. Move the directories in ~/Programming/support_pychron to ~/Pychron

Auto (Beta)


This feature is experimental and should be used with caution.

use the installer script, install.sh or install_development.sh