1.2. Installing and Starting VisIt

VisIt runs on the following platforms:

  • Linux (including Ubuntu, RedHat, SUSE, TOSS)
  • Mac OSX
  • Microsoft Windows

A new version of VisIt is usually released every 2-3 months, you can find VisIt release executables at: https://wci.llnl.gov/simulation/computer-codes/visit/executables.

Download a binary release compatible with the machine you want to install VisIt on. If you are installing VisIt on Linux, also download the visit-install script.

1.2.1. Installing on Mac OSX

VisIt releases include an app-bundle for Mac OSX packaged in a DMG image. Download and open the DMG file and copy the VisIt app-bundle to your applications directory or any other path. To run VisIt double click on the VisIt app-bundle. The visit-install script can also be used to install tarball packaged OSX binaries. For this case follow the Linux installation instructions.

1.2.2. Installing on Linux

Installing VisIt on Linux (and optionally on Mac OSX) is done using the visit-install script. Make sure that the visit-install script is executable by entering the following command at the command line prompt:

chmod +x visit-install

The visit-install script has the following usage:

visit-install version platform directory

The version argument is the version of VisIt being installed. The platform argument depends on the type platform VisIt is being installed for. The platform argument can be one of the following: linux, linux-x86_64, darwin. The directory argument specifies the directory to install VisIt into. If the specified directory does not exist then VisIt will create it.

For example, to install an x86_64 version of VisIt 3.0.0, use:

visit-install 3.0.0 linux-x86_64 /usr/local/visit

This command will install the 3.0.0 version of VisIt into the /usr/local/visit directory. Note that when you enter the above command, the file visit3_0_0.linux-x86_64.tar.gz must be present in the current working directory.

The visit-install script will prompt you to choose a network configuration. A network configuration is a set of VisIt preferences that provide information to enable VisIt to identify and connect to remote computers and run VisIt in client/server mode. VisIt includes network configuration files for several computing centers with VisIt users.

After running visit-install, you can launch VisIt using bin/visit . For example, if you installed to /usr/local/visit, you can run using:


We also recommend adding visit to your shell’s path. For bash users this can usually be accomplished by modifying the PATH environment variable in ~/.bash_profile, and for c-shell users accomplished by modifying the path environment variable in ~/.cshrc.

The exact procedure for this varies with each shell and may be customized at each computing center, so please refer to your shell and computing center documentation.

1.2.3. Installing on Windows

VisIt release binaries for Windows are packaged in an executable installer. To install on Windows run the installer and follow its prompts.

The VisIt installation program adds a VisIt program group to the Windows Start menu and it adds a VisIt shortcut to the desktop. You can double-click on the desktop shortcut or use the Start menu’s VisIt program group to launch VisIt. In addition to creating shortcuts, the VisIt installation program creates file associations for .silo, .visit, and .session/.vses files so double-clicking on files with those extensions opens them with VisIt.

1.2.4. Startup Options

VisIt has many startup options that affect its behavior (see the Startup Options for complete documentation).