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The Config File

All paths in the config file are relative to the directory where the config file is located, unless noted otherwise.

Application section

.. describe:: name

  The user-readable name of your application. This will be used for various
  display purposes in the installer, and for shortcuts and the folder in
  'Program Files'.

.. describe:: version

  The version number of your application.

.. describe:: publisher (optional)

  The publisher name that shows up in the *Add or Remove programs* control panel.

  .. versionadded:: 1.10

.. describe:: entry_point

   The function to launch your application, in the format ``module:function``.
   Dots are allowed in the module part. pynsist will create a script like this,
   plus some boilerplate::

       from module import function

.. describe:: script (optional)

   Path to the Python script which launches your application, as an alternative
   to ``entry_point``.

   Ensure that this boilerplate code is at the top of your script::

       import sys, os
       import site

       scriptdir, script = os.path.split(os.path.abspath(__file__))
       pkgdir = os.path.join(scriptdir, 'pkgs')
       # Ensure .pth files in pkgdir are handled properly
       sys.path.insert(0, pkgdir)

   The first line tells it which version of Python to run with. If you use
   binary packages, packages compiled for Python 3.3 won't work with Python 3.4.
   The other lines make sure it can find the packages installed along with your

.. describe:: target (optional)
              parameters (optional)

   Lower level definition of a shortcut, to create start menu entries for help
   pages or other non-Python entry points. You shouldn't normally use this for
   Python entry points.


Either entry_point, script or target must be specified, but not more than one. Specifying entry_point is normally easiest and most reliable.

.. describe:: icon (optional)

  Path to a ``.ico`` file to be used for shortcuts to your application and
  during the install/uninstall process. Pynsist has a default generic icon, but
  you probably want to replace it.

.. describe:: console (optional)

   If ``true``, shortcuts will be created using ``python.exe``, which opens
   a console for the process. If ``false``, or not specified, they will use
   ``pythonw.exe``, which doesn't create a console. In that case, stdout and
   stderr from Python code will be redirected to a log file in :envvar:`APPDATA`.

.. describe:: extra_preamble (optional)

   Path to a file containing extra Python commands to be run before your code is
   launched, for example  to set environment variables needed by pygtk. This is
   only valid if you use ``entry_point`` to specify how to launch your application.

   If you use the Python API, this parameter can also be passed as a file-like
   object, such as :class:`io.StringIO`.

.. describe:: license_file (optional)

  Path to a text file containing the license under which your software is to
  be distributed. If given, an extra step before installation will check the
  user's agreement to abide by the displayed license. If not given, the extra
  step is omitted.

Shortcut sections

One shortcut will always be generated for the application. You can add extra shortcuts by defining sections titled :samp:`Shortcut {Name}`. For example:

[Shortcut IPython Notebook]
.. describe:: entry_point
              script (optional)
              icon (optional)
              console (optional)
              target (optional)
              parameters (optional)
              extra_preamble (optional)

   These options all work the same way as in the Application section.

Microsoft offers guidance on what shortcuts to include in the Start screen/menu. Most applications should only need one shortcut, and things like help and settings should be accessed inside the app rather than as separate shortcuts.

Command sections

.. versionadded:: 1.7

Your application can install commands to be run from the Windows command prompt. This is not standard practice for desktop applications on Windows, but if your application specifically provides a command line interface, you can define one or more sections titled :samp:`Command {name}`:

[Command guessnumber]

If you use this, the installer will modify the system :envvar:`PATH` environment variable.

.. describe:: entry_point

   As with shortcuts, this specifies the Python function to call, in the format

.. describe:: console (optional)

   If ``true`` (default), the ``.exe`` wrapper for the command will open a
   console if it's not already inside one. If ``false``, it will be a GUI
   application, which doesn't use a console.

   If the user runs the command directly, they do so in a console anyway.
   But commands with ``console=false`` can be useful if your GUI application
   needs to run a subprocess without a console window popping up.

.. describe:: extra_preamble (optional)

   As for shortcuts, a file containing extra code to run before importing the
   module from ``entry_point``. This should rarely be needed.

Python section

.. describe:: version

  The Python version to download and bundle with your application, e.g. ``3.6.3``.
  Python 3.5 or later are supported. For older versions of Python, use Pynsist

.. describe:: bitness (optional)

  ``32`` or ``64``, to use 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) Python. On Windows, this
  defaults to the version you're using, so that compiled modules will match. On
  other platforms, it defaults to 32-bit.

.. describe:: include_msvcrt (optional)

  The default is ``true``,
  which will include an app-local copy of the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime,
  required for Python to run. The installer will only install this if it doesn't
  detect a system installation of the runtime.

  Setting this to ``false`` will not include the C++ Runtime. Your application may
  not run for all users until they install it manually (`download from Microsoft
  <>`__). You may
  prefer to do this for security reasons: the separately installed runtime will
  get updates through Windows Update, but app-local copies will not.

  Users on Windows 10 should already have the runtime installed systemwide, so
  this does won't affect them. Users on Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1 *may* already
  have it, depending on what else is installed.

  .. versionadded:: 1.9


Pynsist 1.x also included a format= option to select between two ways to use Python: bundled or installer. Pynsist 2 only supports bundled Python. For the installer option, use Pynsist 1.x.

Include section

To write these lists, put each value on a new line, with more indentation than the line with the key:

.. describe:: pypi_wheels (optional)

   A list of packages in the format ``name==version`` to download from PyPI or
   extract from the directories in ``extra_wheel_sources``.
   These must be available as wheels; Pynsist will not try to use sdists
   or eggs.

   .. versionadded:: 1.7

.. describe:: extra_wheel_sources (optional)

   One or more directory paths in which to find wheels, in addition to fetching
   from PyPI. Each package listed in ``pypi_wheels`` will be retrieved from the
   first source containing a
   compatible wheel, and all extra sources have priority over PyPI.

   Relative paths are from the directory containing the config file.

   .. versionadded:: 2.0

.. describe:: local_wheels (optional)

   One or more paths to ``.whl`` wheel files on the local filesystem.
   All matching wheel files will be included in the installer.
   These paths can also use *glob* patterns to match multiple wheels,
   e.g. ``wheels/*.whl`` will include all wheels from the folder ``wheels``.

   Pynsist checks that each pattern matches at least one file, that only
   one wheel is being used for each distribution name, and that all wheels are
   compatible with the target Python version.

   Relative paths are from the directory containing the config file.

   .. versionadded:: 2.2


The local_wheels option is useful if you're using Pynsist as a step in a larger build process: you can use another tool to prepare all your application's dependencies as wheels, and then pass them to Pynsist.

For simpler build processes, pypi_wheels will search PyPI for compatible wheels, and handle downloading and caching them.

.. describe:: packages (optional)

   A list of importable package and module names to include in the installer.
   Specify only top-level packages, i.e. without a ``.`` in the name.

   .. note::

      The ``packages`` option finds and copies installed packages from your
      development environment. Specifying packages in ``pypi_wheels`` instead
      is more reliable, and works with namespace packages.

.. describe:: files (optional)

   Extra files or directories to be installed with your application.

   You can optionally add ``> destination`` after each file to install it
   somewhere other than the installation directory. The destination can be:

   * An absolute path on the target system, e.g. ``C:\\`` (but this is not
     usually desirable).
   * A path starting with ``$INSTDIR``, the specified installation directory.
   * A path starting with any of the `constants NSIS provides
     <>`_, e.g. ``$SYSDIR``.

   The destination can also include ``${PRODUCT_NAME}``, which will be expanded
   to the name of your application.

   For instance, to put a data file in the (32 bit) common files directory:

   .. code-block:: ini

       files=mydata.dat > $COMMONFILES

.. describe:: exclude (optional)

   Files to be excluded from your installer. This can be used to include a
   Python library or extra directory only partially, for example to include
   large monolithic python packages without their samples and test suites to
   achieve a smaller installer file.

   * The parameter is expected to contain a list of files *relative to the
     build directory*. Therefore, to include files from a package, you have to
     start your pattern with ``pkgs/<packagename>/``.
   * You can use `wildcard characters`_ like ``*`` or ``?``, similar to a Unix
   * If you want to exclude whole subfolders, do *not* put a path separator
     (e.g. ``/``) at their end.
   * The exclude patterns are applied to packages, pypi wheels, and directories
     specified using the ``files`` option. If your ``exclude`` option directly
     contradicts your ``files`` or ``packages`` option, the files in question
     will be included (you can not exclude a full package/extra directory
     or a single file listed in ``files``).
   * Exclude patterns are applied uniformly across platforms and can use
     either Unix-style forward-slash (``/``), or Windows-style back-slash (``\``)
     path separators.  Exclude patterns are normalized so that patterns
     written on Unix will work on Windows, and vice-versa.


   .. code-block:: ini


Build section

.. describe:: directory (optional)

   The build directory. Defaults to ``build/nsis/``.

.. describe:: installer_name (optional)

   The filename of the installer, relative to the build directory. The default
   is made from your application name and version.

.. describe:: nsi_template (optional)

   The path of a template .nsi file to specify further details of the installer.
   The default template is `part of pynsist <>`_.

   This is an advanced option, and if you specify a custom template, you may
   well have to update it to work with future releases of Pynsist.

   See the `NSIS Scripting Reference <>`_
   for details of the NSIS language, and the Jinja2 `Template Designer Docs
   <>`_ for details of the template
   format. Pynsist uses templates with square brackets (``[]``) instead of
   Jinja's default curly braces (``{}``).