Installation instructions

Using installer

If you are using Windows we offer a pre-built executable installer which contains everything needed to run Sympathy.

Download the latest version of Sympathy from the official homepage.

After downloading, run the installer and follow the instructions. This will install Sympathy. Once done, you can start Sympathy from the start menu.

Manual install

If you do not run Windows or prefer to install Sympathy manually instead of using our installer there are a few steps required.

First install or choose an existing python environment. Then optionally, but highly recommended, create a virtual python environment. Finally install Sympathy into that environment.

Install Python base environment

Optional if you already have a suitable installation of Python 3.6+ with pip installed.


On Windows, you have to download and install an appropriate version of Python. That is, Python 3.6 or later for amd64 architecture (64 bit Windows). Choose executable or web based installer and make sure to include pip while installing.

Mac OS

These instructions are written for MacOS X 10.13.3, using MacPorts.

Start by installing XCode from the App Store (that will download an XCode installer, so this is a two-stage process).

sudo xcode-select --install
sudo xcodebuild -license

Download and install MacPorts. Before continuing, it is recommended update the package definitions.

sudo port selfupdate

Then install the dependencies.

sudo port install python36 unixODBC


These installation instructions have been written for Ubuntu 16.04 which is the only officially supported Linux distribution for Sympathy for Data.

First update your package definitions and update outdated packages.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then install the required prerequisites

sudo apt-get install build-essential python3-dev python3-venv unixodbc-dev

Create virtual environment

Optional if you already have a suitable installation of Python 3.6+ with pip installed. However, we strongly recommend that you use a virtual environment rather than installing in a system level python installation.

Now, navigate to a directory in which you want to create the virtual environment. In the following instructions, replace <python> with the path to the python executable from the previous step. Also, replace <env-sympathy> with the name that you want to use for the virtual environment.


<python> -m venv <env-sympathy>
cd <env-sympathy>\Scripts
pip install -U pip setuptools wheel

Mac OS & Linux

<python> -m venv <env-sympathy>
source <env-sympathy>/bin/activate
pip install -U pip setuptools wheel

Install Sympathy from PyPI

With the desired python environment active, run the following to install Sympathy. Replace <version> with the version that you would like to install or omit ==<version> completely to install the latest version.

pip install Sympathy==<version>
python -m sympathy_app install

Now we are ready to run Sympathy!

Running Sympathy

In order to run Sympathy using python, first make sure that the virtual environment used in the installation steps is active. You can run Sympathy either with a GUI (first command below), or for data processing applications in head-less mode (second command). For a more comprehensive list of commands and options, see Start options.

python -m sympathy_app gui
python -m sympathy_app cli <my-workflow>

Installing the wheel also creates additional executables for your virtual environment. These are typically located in folder called Scripts, on Windows, and bin, on Unix. These run sympathy in the same way as above but does not require the virtual environment to be activated beforehand.

sympathy-cli <my-workflow>


If you see any text in red during the execution of pip, this would typically mean that some library is missing in your system. See the section for your OS below for instructions on how to install packages.

Mac OS & Linux

For example, if you get an error while installing pyodbc, that typically means you need to install a package named unixODBC. Use port to install missing libraries.

Some small functionality (like drag and dropping flows to open them) depends on pyobjc being installed as well, on Mac. This pip package adds a lot of dependencies however, so it is left to the user to decide if this is wanted:

pip install pyobjc  # optional


For example, if you get an error while installing pyodbc, that typically means you need to install a package named unixodbc-dev, or unixODBC-devel (the names tend to vary across Linux distributions). Use apt or the package manager that is preferred by your distribution to install missing libraries.