Gaphor on Windows#

Gaphor can be installed as with our installer. Check out the Gaphor download page for details.

Older releases are available from GitHub.

CI builds are also available.

Development Environment#


We recommend using Chocolately as a package manager in Windows.

To install it, open PowerShell as an administrator, then execute:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

To run local scripts in follow-on steps, also execute

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

This allows for local PowerShell scripts to run without signing, but still requires signing for remote scripts.


To set up a development environment in Windows first install Git by executing as an administrator:

choco install git


The development environment in the next step needs MSYS2 installed to provide some Linux command line tools in Windows.

Keep PowerShell open as administrator and install MSYS2:

choco install msys2

GTK and Python with gvsbuild#

gvsbuild provides a Python script helps you build the GTK library stack for Windows using Visual Studio. By compiling GTK with Visual Studio, we can then use a standard Python development environment in Windows.

First we will install the gvsbuild dependencies:

  1. Visual C++ build tools workload for Visual Studio 2022 Build Tools

  2. Python

Install Visual Studio 2022#

With your admin PowerShell terminal:

choco install visualstudio2022-workload-vctools

Install the Latest Python#

In Windows, The full installer contains all the Python components and is the best option for developers using Python for any kind of project.

For more information on how to use the official installer, please see the full installer instructions. The default installation options should be fine for use with Gaphor.

  1. Install the latest Python version using the official installer.

  2. Open a PowerShell terminal as a normal user and check the python version:

    py -3.11 --version

Install Graphviz#

Graphviz is used by Gaphor for automatic diagram formatting.

  1. Install from Chocolately with administrator PowerShell:

    choco install graphviz
  2. Restart your PowerShell terminal as a normal user and check that the dot command is available:

    dot -?

Install pipx#

From the regular user PowerShell terminal execute:

py -3.11 -m pip install --user pipx
py -3.11 -m pipx ensurepath

Install gvsbuild#

From the regular user PowerShell terminal execute:

pipx install gvsbuild

Build GTK#

In the same PowerShell terminal, execute:

gvsbuild build --enable-gi --py-wheel gobject-introspection gtk4 libadwaita gtksourceview5 pygobject pycairo adwaita-icon-theme hicolor-icon-theme

Grab a coffee, the build will take a few minutes to complete.

Setup Gaphor#

In the same PowerShell terminal, clone the repository:

cd (to the location you want to put Gaphor)
git clone
cd gaphor

Install Poetry

pipx install poetry

Add GTK to your environmental variables:

$env:Path = $env:Path + ";C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\bin"
$env:LIB = "C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\lib"
$env:INCLUDE = "C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\include;C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\include\cairo;C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\include\glib-2.0;C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\include\gobject-introspection-1.0;C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\lib\glib-2.0\include;"
$env:XDG_DATA_HOME = "$HOME\.local\share"

You can also edit your account’s Environmental Variables to persist across PowerShell sessions.

Install Gaphor’s dependencies

poetry install

Install the git hook scripts

poetry run pre-commit install

Reinstall PyGObject and pycairo using gvsbuild wheels

poetry run pip install --force-reinstall (Resolve-Path C:\gtk-build\build\x64\release\pygobject\dist\PyGObject*.whl)
poetry run pip install --force-reinstall (Resolve-Path C:\gtk-build\build\x64\release\pycairo\dist\pycairo*.whl)

Launch Gaphor!

poetry run gaphor

Debugging using Visual Studio Code#

Start a new PowerShell terminal, and set current directory to the project folder:

cd (to the location you put gaphor)

Ensure that path environment variable is set:

$env:Path = "C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release\bin;" + $env:Path

Start Visual Studio Code:

code .

To start the debugger, execute the following steps:

  1. Open file from gaphor folder

  2. Add a breakpoint on line main(sys.argv)

  3. In the menu, select Run → Start debugging

  4. Choose Select module from the list

  5. Enter gaphor as module name

Visual Studio Code will start the application in debug mode, and will stop at main.

Packaging for Windows#

In order to create an exe installation package for Windows, we utilize PyInstaller which analyzes Gaphor to find all the dependencies and bundle them in to a single folder. We then use a custom bash script that creates a Windows installer using NSIS and a portable installer using 7-Zip. To install them, open PowerShell as an administrator, then execute:

choco install nsis 7zip

Then build your installer using:

poetry install --only main,packaging,automation
poetry build
poetry run poe package
poetry run poe win-installer