Gaphor on Windows

Gaphor can be installed as with our 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 setup a development environment in Windows first install Git by executing as an adminstrator:

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

Download and install the latest version of Python:

  1. Install from Chocolately with administrator PowerShell:

    choco install python
  2. Restart your PowerShell terminal as a normal user and check the python version:

    python --version

Install pipx

From the regular user PowerShell terminal execute:

python -m pip install --user pipx
python -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 gtk3 pycairo pygobject gtksourceview4 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
poetry config true

Install Gaphor’s other dependencies

poetry install

Add GTK to your environmental variables:

$gtk_path = "C:\gtk-build\gtk\x64\release"
$env:Path = $gtk_path + "\bin;" + $env:Path
$env:LIB = $gtk_path + "\lib"
$gtk_include = $gtk_path + "\include"
$env:INCLUDE = $gtk_include + "\cairo;" + $gtk_include + "\glib-2.0;"
$env:INCLUDE = $gtk_include + "\gobject-introspection-1.0;" + $env:INCLUDE
$env:INCLUDE = $gtk_path + "\lib\glib-2.0\include;" + $gtk_include + ";" + $env:INCLUDE

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