FAQ: Installation

Why are there different versions of Manim?

Manim was originally created by Grant Sanderson as a personal project and for use in his YouTube channel, 3Blue1Brown. As his channel gained popularity, many grew to like the style of his animations and wanted to use manim for their own projects. However, as manim was only intended for personal use, it was very difficult for other users to install and use it.

In late 2019, Grant started working on faster OpenGL rendering in a new branch, known as the shaders branch. In mid-2020, a group of developers forked it into what is now the community edition; this is the version documented on this website. In early 2021, Grant merged the shaders branch back into master, making it the default branch in his repository – and this is what manimgl is. The old version, before merging the shaders branch is sometimes referred to as ManimCairo and is, at this point, only useful for one singular purpose: rendering Grant’s old videos locally on your machine. It is still available in his GitHub repository in form of the cairo-backend branch.

To summarize:

  • Manim, or ManimCE refers to the community maintained version of the library. This is the version documented on this website; the package name on PyPI is manim.

  • ManimGL is the latest released version of the version of the library developed by Grant “3b1b” Sanderson. It has more experimental features and breaking changes between versions are not documented. Check out its documentation here; on PyPI the package name is manimgl.

  • ManimCairo is the name that is sometimes used for the old, pre-OpenGL version of manimgl. The latest version of it is available on PyPI as manimlib, but note that if you intend to use it to compile some old project of Grant, you will likely have to install the exact version from the time the project was created from source.

Which version should I use?

We recommend the community maintained version especially for beginners. It has been developed to be more stable, better tested and documented (!), and quicker to respond to community contributions. It is also perfectly reasonable to start learning with the community maintained version and then switch to a different version later on.

If you do not care so much about documentation or stability, and would like to use the exact same version that Grant is using, then use ManimGL.

And as mentioned above, ManimCairo should only be used for (re)rendering old 3Blue1Brown projects (basically 2019 and before).

What are the differences between Manim, ManimGL, ManimCairo? Can I tell for which version a scene was written for?

You can! The thing that usually gives it away is the import statement at the top of the file; depending on how the code imports Manim you can tell for which version of the code it was written for:

  • If the code imports from manim (i.e., from manim import *, import manim as mn, etc.), then the code you are reading is supposed to be run with the community maintained version.

  • If the import reads import manimlib (or from manimlib import *), you are likely reading a file to be rendered with ManimGL.

  • And if the import reads from manimlib.imports import *, or perhaps even from big_ol_pile_of_manim_imports import * you are reading a snippet that is supposed to be rendered with an early, or very early version of ManimCairo, respectively.

How do I know which version of Manim I have installed?

Assuming you can run manim in your terminal and there is some output, check the first line of the text being produced. If you are using the community maintained version, the first line of any output will be Manim Community <version number>. If it does not say that, you are likely using ManimGL.

You can also check the list of packages you have installed: if typing python in your terminal spawns the interpreter that corresponds to the Python installation you use (might also be py, or python3, depending on your operating system), running python -m pip list will print a list of all installed packages. Check whether manim or manimgl appear in that list.

Similarly, you can use python -m pip install <package name> and python -m pip uninstall <package name> to install and uninstall packages from that list, respectively.

I am following the video guide X to install Manim, but some step fails. What do I do?

It is only natural that there are many video guides on installing Manim out there, given that Manim is a library used for creating videos. Unfortunately however, (YouTube) videos can’t be updated easily (without uploading a new one, that is) when some step in the installation process changes, and so there are many severely outdated resources out there.

This is why we strongly recommend following our written installation guide to guide you through the process. In case you prefer using a video guide regardless, please check whether the creator whose guide you have been watching has made a more recent version available, and otherwise please contact them directly. Asking for help in the community will likely lead to being suggested to follow our written guide.

Why does ManimPango fail to install when running pip install manim?

This most likely means that pip was not able to use our pre-built wheels of the manimpango dependency. Let us know (via Discord or by opening a new issue on GitHub) which architecture you would like to see supported, and we’ll see what we can do about it.

To fix errors when installing manimpango, you need to make sure you have all the necessary build requirements. Check out the detailed instructions given in the BUILDING section of ManimPango’s README.

I am using Windows and get the error X is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file

Regardless of whether X says python or manim, this means that the executable you are trying to run is not located in one of the directories your system is looking for them (specified by the PATH variable). Take a look at the instructions in the installation guide for Windows, or this StackExchange answer to get help with editing the PATH variable manually.

If python is recognized but not manim or pip, you can try running commands by prepending python -m. That is, manim becomes python -m manim, and pip becomes python -m pip.

I have tried using Chocolatey (choco install manimce) to install Manim, but it failed!

Make sure that you were running the command with administrator permissions, otherwise there can be problems. If this is not the issue, read Chocolatey’s output carefully, it should mention a .log file containing information why the process failed.

You are welcome to take this file (and any other input you feel might be relevant) and submit it to Manim’s community to ask for help with your problem. See the FAQ on getting help for instructions.

On Windows, when typing python or python3 the Windows store is opened, can I fix this?

Yes: you can remove these aliases with these steps:

  1. Go to the Windows Setting.

  2. Under Apps and Features you will find application execution aliases.

  3. Within this menu, disable the alias(es) that are causing the issue (python and/or python3).

I am using Anaconda and get an ImportError mentioning that some Symbol is not found.

This is because Anaconda environments come with their own preinstalled version of cairo which is not compatible with the version of pycairo required by Manim. Usually it can be fixed by running

conda install -c conda-forge pycairo

How can I fix the error that manimpango/cmanimpango.c could not be found when trying to install Manim?

This occasionally happens when your system has to build a wheel for ManimPango locally because there is no compatible version for your architecture available on PyPI.

Very often, the problem is resolved by installing Cython (e.g., via pip3 install Cython) and then trying to reinstall Manim. If this does not fix it:

  • Make sure that you have installed all build dependencies mentioned in ManimPango’s README,

  • and if you still run into troubles after that, please reach out to us as described in the Getting Help FAQs.