Compiling the igraph library in Windows

Compile using msys2 or MSVC.

There are two ways to compile igraph on Windows. You can either build from the released source code, or you can build from the git repository. Compiling from the released source code is sometimes easier, as it already provides a project file that can be used to compile with Microsoft Visual C++ (MSVC). Of course, compilation from the released source code is limited to released versions, while compilation from the git repository allows you to also compile development versions. Compilation can always be done using MinGW, but if you want to use igraph with Python (e.g. as an external library for python-igraph) you have to use MSVC. Each Python version requires a specific version of MSVC, please see the Python website for more details. Preparing a project file to compile with MSVC is again done using MinGW (msys2).

In summary, there are two routes to compiling igraph:

  1. Compile using msys2
  2. Compile using Microsoft Visual C++
    • If no project file is provided, this should be generated using msys2.

More detailed instructions are provided below.

Compilation using msys2

Installation and configuration of msys2

We recommend to use msys2 to compile igraph, because it includes MinGW-w64, which supports compiling both for 32- and 64-bit targets. The old MinGW project only provides a 32-bit version.

The instructions below assume that you want to compile for a 64-bit target.

After installing msys2, first make sure that it is up-to-date. You can do so by opening an msys2 bash terminal and run:

pacman -Syuu

You may be requested to close and restart the msys2 bash terminal at several points. Please repeat executing pacman -Syuu until it says there are no longer any packages to update. More details regarding the installation of msys2 are available from their Wiki.

Compilation of igraph requires the installation of a number of packages, namely:

  • autoconf
  • automake
  • bison
  • flex
  • libtool
  • make
  • mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain
  • mingw-w64-x86_64-libxml2
  • git
  • zip

The mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain also includes the optional Gnu Multiple Precision package mingw-w64-x86_64-gmp. This enables extended functionality in igraph.

You can install these packages by running the following command in an msys2 terminal:

pacman -S autoconf automake bison flex libtool make mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain mingw-w64-x86_64-libxml2 mingw-w64-x86_64-gmp git zip

Once everything is installed you need to open the msys2 "MinGW 64-bit" terminal (mingw64.exe).


You can either download the source code archive of the latest release or clone the git repository using git clone When cloning from GitHub, please ensure that you run git config --global core.autocrlf false before cloning the repository. Otherwise, you might run into problems with line endings.

After extracting the source code, open a bash terminal (from either msys2 or cygwin) and change to the directory in which the source code is located. When using msys2, use the "MSYS2 MinGW 64-bit" terminal, and not the "MSYS2 MSYS" one.

If you have cloned the source code from the git repository, you must first create the build scripts by running


Compilation is done with the usual steps of


If you have multiple cores, for example 4, you can run make -j4 to speed up the compilation substantially.

You can install the library by running make install. If you prefer to install it in a specific location, you can specify --prefix=[DIRECTORY] to ./configure, in which case the library will be installed into the bin, lib and include subdirectories of [DIRECTORY]. If you just need the built dll file, this is located in src/.libs/libigraph-0.dll.

You may optionally run the test suite using make check. Before doing this, ensure that the directory containing libigraph-0.dll is in the PATH. This can be achieved for example using the command

export PATH=$PATH:`realpath src/.libs`

Preparing the MSVC project file

If you intend to compile with Microsoft Visual C++, you will need a project file for Microsoft Visual C++. This can be done by following the above steps, except for the last step, and then creating the MSVC project file using

make msvc

The necessary source code for compilation with MSVC is then contained in the newly created igraph-[VERSION]-msvc directory, where [VERSION] refers to the version that you are compiling.

Compilation using MSVC

Compilation using MSVC is primarily necessary for use with Python, in particular for python-igraph. Note that different versions of Python require different versions of MSVC. See the Python website for more details.

The provided project file is still provided in an older MSVC format. To use it with more recent versions of MSVC, you will have to upgrade the project file. Note that this can only be done if you have the the full Microsoft Visual Studio installed. You can install the Community edition, which is freely available. The Microsoft Visual C++ Build Tools that are available do not allow you to upgrade the project file, which is necessary to be able to compile igraph correctly.

Compilation can be done in two ways. The easiest way for most users is to open the project solution file (igraph.sln) in the Visual Studio IDE. It will ask you to convert it to the current format, and you should be able to compile it, once it is converted.

Alternatively, you can compile via the command line. In that case, open the "Developer Command Prompt", and depending on your version of MSVC, you should do the following

MSVC 9.0

vcbuild.exe /upgrade
vcbuild.exe igraph.vcproj "Release|x64"

MSVC 10.0

VCUpgrade.exe /overwrite ig.vcproj
msbuild.exe igraph.vcxproj

MSVC 14.x

devenv /upgrade igraph.vcproj
msbuild.exe igraph.vcxproj

By default, compilation on Windows targets a static library (.lib), which is necessary for the compilation of python-igraph. To import the static library, you have to make sure to specify


before you include

#include "igraph.h"

Alternatively, you can reconfigure the MSVC project to compile a dynamic library (.dll), in which case the IGRAPH_STATIC definition should not be included.

A small test project is included in the igraphtest subdirectory of the igraph-[VERSION]-msvc directory.

Compilation problems

If you have any problems with compilation on Windows, please post a message on the igraph support forum or file an issue at