Installing Xi-CAM for MacOS

Installing Xi-CAM requires a few system components to be installed. After successfully installing these components and Xi-CAM, you will be ready to start developing Xi-CAM plugins!

Install python3

First, ensure that you have python3.8 installed on your system.

The quickest way to do this is by downloading and running the installer for python3. The python3.8 macOS 64-bit installer can be found here.

Alternatively, you can install XCode and homebrew to manage multiple versions of python on your system.

Create and Activate a Virtual Environment

Creating a virtual environment allows you to install and uninstall packages without modifying any packages on your system. This is highly recommended.

There are a couple of ways to create a virtual environment:

  1. via the venv module provided with python3

  2. via conda (you will need to install this from or

Using the Terminal application, we will create a new environment called xicam in your home directory, and then activate the environment.

Once an environment is activated, any packages installed through pip will be installed into this sequestered xicam environment. (If using conda, you can install either with pip or conda.)


If you would like to create a virtual environment, run the following:

cd ~
python3 -m venv xicam
source xicam/bin/actviate


If you would like to create an environment through conda, run the following:

cd ~
conda create -n xicam python=3.8
conda activate xicam

Install Python Qt Bindings

Xi-CAM depends on a GUI application framework called Qt; you will need to install one of the python bindings for Qt (PyQt5 or PySide2) in order to run Xi-CAM.

Make sure that you have activated the xicam environment.

For example, you can install the PyQt5 pip package as follows:

pip install PyQt5

Install the Xi-CAM package

Now that we have activated a new xicam environment and installed PyQt5, we can install Xi-CAM:

pip install xicam

To ensure everything is installed correctly, you can run Xi-CAM as follows:


Where Do I Go from Here?

You are now ready to start developing plugins for Xi-CAM!

To learn about developing plugins for Xi-CAM, see the Quick Start Guide.