Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with
Download ZIP
A Python package with bindings to the "Virtual Instrument Software Architecture" VISA library, in order to control measurement devices and test equipment via GPIB, RS232, or USB.
Branch: master



A Python package for support of the "Virtual Instrument Software
Architecture" (VISA), in order to control measurement devices and
test equipment via GPIB, RS232, Ethernet or USB.


The programming of measurement instruments can be real pain. There are many
different protocols, sent over many different interfaces and bus systems
(GPIB, RS232, USB). For every programming language you want to use, you have to
find libraries that support both your device and its bus system.

In order to ease this unfortunate situation, the Virtual Instrument Software Architecture
(VISA_) specification was defined in the middle of the 90'. Today VISA is implemented on
all significant operating systems. A couple of vendors offer VISA libraries, partly
with free download. These libraries work together with arbitrary peripherical devices,
although they may be limited to certain interface devices, such as the vendor’s GPIB card.

The VISA specification has explicit bindings to Visual Basic, C, and G (LabVIEW’s graphical
language. However, you can use VISA with any language capable of calling functions in a DLL.
Python is such a language.

.. _VISA:

VISA and Python

Python has a couple of features that make it very interesting for measurement controlling:

- Python is an easy-to-learn scripting language with short development cycles.
- It represents a high abstraction level [2], which perfectly blends with the abstraction
  level of measurement programs.
- It has a very rich set of native libraries, including numerical and plotting modules for
  data analysis and visualisation.
- A large set of books (in many languages) and on-line publications is available.


- VISA (tested with NI-VISA 3.2, WinXP, from
- Python (tested with 2.6 and 3.2+)


Using pip:

    $ pip install pyvisa

or easy_install:

    $ easy_install pyvisa

or download and unzip the source distribution file and:

    $ python install


The documentation can be read online at
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.