Solarian Programmer

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Install OpenCV 3 with Python 3 on Windows

Posted on September 17, 2016 by Paul

Updated 21 April 2018

If you need a short tutorial about how to get started with OpenCV 3.4 programming in Python 3.6 on Windows, you are in the right place. Most articles I found online, including the OpenCV documentation, seem concerned only with Python 2.7.

We’ll start by installing the latest stable version of Python 3, which at the time of this writing is 3.6. Head over to and download the installer. The default Python Windows installer is 32 bits and this is what I will use in this article. If you need the 64 bits version of Python, check the Looking for a specific release? section from the above page.

Start the installer and select Customize installation. On the next screen leave all the optional features checked. Finally, on the Advanced Options screen make sure to check Install for all users, Add Python to environment variables and Precompile standard library. Optionally, you can customize the install location. I’ve used C:\Python36. You should see something like this:

Python 3.6 for Windows installation options

Press the Install button and in a few minutes, depending on the speed of your computer, you should be ready. On the last page of the installer, you should also press the Disable path length limit:

Python 3.6 for Windows disable path length limit

Now, to check if Python was correctly installed, press and hold the SHIFT key and right click with your mouse somewhere on your desktop, select Open command window here. Alternatively, on Windows 10, use the bottom left search box to search for cmd.

Now, write python in the command window and press Enter, you should see something like this:

Windows command window with Python 3.6

Next, download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable. Be sure to select the version corresponding to your Python installer (32 or 64 bits).

At the time of this writing, the OpenCV for Windows binary from doesn’t have the required pyd file for Python 3. We’ll use a wheel package from in order to install OpenCV and NumPy which is a prerequisite for OpenCV.

Download the Numpy version corresponding to your Python installation from here. In my case, I’ve used numpy‑1.14.2+mkl‑cp36‑cp36m‑win32.whl

Download the OpenCV version corresponding to your Python installation from here. In my case, I’ve used opencv_python‑3.4.1+contrib‑cp36‑cp36m‑win32.whl.

Now, open a cmd window like before. You can open this directly in your Downloads folder if you SHIFT and right click inside it. The idea is to open a cmd window where you’ve downloaded the above two files. Use the next set of commands to install NumPy and OpenCV:

1 	pip install "numpy‑1.14.2+mkl‑cp36‑cp36m‑win32.whl"


1 	pip install "opencv_python‑3.4.1+contrib‑cp36‑cp36m‑win32.whl'

You should see something like this:

Install NumPy and OpenCV in Windows

Note the Successfully installed … message after each command. You can safely ignore the upgrade pip suggestion.

At this point, you should be able to play with OpenCV and Python. Let’s try a small test first. Start the Python interpreter and write:

1 import cv2
3 print(cv2.__version__)

If everything was correctly installed, you should see the version number of your OpenCV install, in my case this was 3.4.1.

Let’s try a final test, in which I’ll show you how to load an image from a file, convert it to gray, and check the results. Start by downloading the next image:

Over the Clouds test image

Save it as clouds.jpg. In the same folder where you’ve saved the above image, create a new file and write this small code:

1 import cv2
3 image = cv2.imread("clouds.jpg")
4 gray_image = cv2.cvtColor(image, cv2.COLOR_BGR2GRAY)
5 cv2.imshow("Over the Clouds", image)
6 cv2.imshow("Over the Clouds - gray", gray_image)
7 cv2.waitKey(0)
8 cv2.destroyAllWindows()

Open a cmd window in this folder and write:

1 	python

You should see something like this (by default the last image will be over the first one, you need to move the image window in order to see the first image):

Python 3 OpenCV 3 test - convert image to gray

If you want to learn more about OpenCV and Python I would recommend reading OpenCV with Python Blueprints by M. Beyeler:

or, for OpenCV C++, OpenCV By Example by P. Joshi:

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