Step-by-Step Guide: Installing OpenCV on your Computer

Understanding OpenCV and its applications

OpenCV logo

OpenCV or Open Source Computer Vision is a powerful library of computer vision algorithms that provide a broad range of functionalities intended to develop real-time computer vision applications. OpenCV owes its existence to Intel Corporation and was first released in 1999. Since then, it has become an essential tool for anyone who works with computer vision or image processing. OpenCV has numerous applications in fields such as object detection, face recognition, tracking, image processing, and robotics, among others.

OpenCV is written in C++ and thus provides a fast performance with an excellent interface for C++, but it has other bindings that make it available in other programming languages like Python, Java, and MATLAB. In addition, OpenCV can run on Linux, Windows, Android, and iOS, making it highly versatile and convenient to use.

The primary application areas of OpenCV include automotive technology, medical equipment, entertainment systems, robotics, and security systems. For example, OpenCV algorithms can detect objects or track people in live video feeds, which are used in traffic monitoring and security systems. The library can also recognize faces in images and videos and reduce noise in images taken with a low-quality camera. Moreover, OpenCV can help recognize gestures in real-time, which can be useful in gaming or interactive systems. The possibilities are endless.

Some examples of OpenCV applications include:

  • Face detection: OpenCV algorithms detect the presence of human faces in an image or video. The algorithm detects facial features such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, and identifies the face as a rectangular box.
  • Object detection: OpenCV algorithms can detect the presence of specific objects within an image or video stream. Object detection involves detecting a particular object among a wide range of objects and different backgrounds.
  • Optical character recognition (OCR): OpenCV has libraries that allow for OCR that detects text within images and videos, allowing for quick and automated writing recognition for documentation purposes.
  • Optical Flow: OpenCV can detect movement in video streams, which a significant application in the field of robotics. For example, the Optical Flow algorithm can help a robot navigate around obstacles by detecting movement and adjusting its trajectory.
  • Image processing: OpenCV libraries provide functions that help to enhance image quality and detect features like edges and contours on a given image. This capability is beneficial in scientific fields such as biology and medical diagnosis where visual interpretation of images is highly required.
  • Gesture recognition: OpenCV can recognize gestures made by humans and detect them using a camera. This functionality is used in gaming and interactive systems where players use simple gestures to control the game.

In conclusion, understanding OpenCV and its applications is a crucial first step for any developer or engineer who wants to work with computer vision applications. Although OpenCV has an extensive library of functions, learning how to navigate through these libraries and using them to tackle specific problems is an essential skill. The flexibility of OpenCV allows for its use in several domains, from robotics to entertainment systems, and it is continually being developed to improve its functionality. Overall, OpenCV proves to be a reliable tool for computer vision allowing you to solve complex problems through its vast set of functions.

Preparing your system for OpenCV installation

system configuration

Before installing OpenCV, there are some prerequisites to be checked. One of the most important things to ensure is the compatibility of your system and the version of OpenCV that you will download. The OpenCV library supports various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. You should select the appropriate version of OpenCV that matches your system configuration. To avoid running into problems, it’s best to ensure that your system configuration meets the OpenCV requirements before attempting installation.

Firstly, your system needs to have a C++ compiler installed as OpenCV is written in C++. The OpenCV library can be used with a variety of compilers such as Visual Studio, MinGW, and GCC. If you’re using Linux, GCC is the default compiler, while Microsoft Visual Studio and MinGW can be used for Windows.

Secondly, OpenCV needs several other packages to run correctly. You need to have the necessary dependencies installed in your system before building OpenCV:

– CMake (version 3.1 or higher) is a popular package building tool that you will need to configure and compile OpenCV libraries. It generates a makefile that can be used to build OpenCV.

– Git is a package that allows you to download and access OpenCV source code. The latest OpenCV repository resides on GitHub. If you want to keep up-to-date with the OpenCV library changes and updates, you can clone the source code repository using Git.

– HDF5 is a file format and library for handling large amounts of data. Many OpenCV modules require its functionality; therefore, installing HDF5 is essential for a smooth installation of OpenCV.

After installing the necessary dependencies, you can proceed to build and install OpenCV. However, you must follow the correct sequence of steps; otherwise, your installation may not be successful. The recommended sequence of steps for OpenCV installation is as follows:

– Download OpenCV source code from GitHub, directly through their website.

– Unzip the downloaded file, and create a new directory in the extracted folder, where you will build OpenCV. It’s best to use a separate directory to avoid any confusion in the future.

– Set up CMake to generate the makefile for OpenCV by running the CMake GUI application. Select the OpenCV source code directory and the OpenCV build directory that you just created. Configure the build by clicking the Configure button in the CMake GUI, then choose your desired settings and configuration options in the configuration window.

– After configuring, click the Generate button to create the makefile. Now you can build OpenCV by running the make command in the terminal. The OpenCV libraries and executables will be built and installed in the build directory as specified in CMake.

– Once you have completed the build, you can run the OpenCV samples or your own OpenCV application using the OpenCV libraries you’ve just built.

Starting with OpenCV can be a bit intimidating, but with a little perseverance, you can get it working on your system in no time. By following the simple guidelines outlined above, you can quickly prepare and configure your system for the installation of the OpenCV library. Remember, double-checking your system configuration and ensuring the necessary dependencies are installed is key to a successful installation.

Downloading and Installing OpenCV on Windows

OpenCV Windows Logo

OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision Library) is an open-source computer vision and machine learning software library that has gained widespread use in many industries, including robotics, automotive, and gaming. It is an essential tool for developers who want to build robust computer vision applications on Windows. Despite its popularity, many developers still struggle with installing and configuring OpenCV on Windows. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the download and installation process of OpenCV on Windows.

Step 1: Downloading OpenCV for Windows

OpenCV Windows Download

In the first step, we will download the OpenCV library for Windows. This step requires an internet connection. Open a web browser and go to the OpenCV official website at The website provides the download links for the latest version of OpenCV supported on various platforms.

Scroll down to the Windows section and click on the version of OpenCV you want to install. We recommend downloading the latest version if you have no specific preference. Once you have clicked on the download link, the OpenCV executable file will start downloading. The download process can take some time depending on your internet connection speed.

After the download is complete, navigate to the download folder and double-click on the downloaded executable file. This will start the OpenCV installation process.

Step 2: Installing OpenCV on Windows

OpenCV Windows Installation

Once you have clicked on the OpenCV executable file, the installation process will begin. You will be presented with the OpenCV setup wizard, which will guide you through the installation process.

The wizard will ask you to choose the installation location for OpenCV on your system. You can choose the default installation location or specify a custom location according to your needs. Once you have made the selection, click “Next.”

The wizard will also ask if you want to install the pre-built binaries and source files for OpenCV. We recommend installing both of these, as they are essential for running and building OpenCV projects. Click “Next” to proceed.

The next screen will ask if you want to create environment variables for OpenCV. Select “Add OpenCV to the system PATH” and “Add OpenCV to the user environment variables” and click “Install.”

The installation process may take a few minutes to complete, depending on the speed of your computer. Once the installation is complete, you will receive a message that says “OpenCV was installed successfully.”

Step 3: Testing the OpenCV Installation on Windows

OpenCV Windows Test

The final step is testing the OpenCV installation on your Windows system. To test if OpenCV is installed and configured properly, launch a Python or C++ programming environment and create a new script file.

In your script, import the OpenCV library by typing “import cv2” for Python, or “#include ” for C++. Add a simple code to display an image, such as this:

Python code:

import cv2
img = cv2.imread('image.jpg')
cv2.imshow('Image', img)

C++ code:

int main() {
cv::Mat img = cv::imread("image.jpg");
cv::namedWindow("Image", cv::WINDOW_AUTOSIZE);
cv::imshow("Image", img);
return 0;

In the above code, replace "image.jpg" with the path to your image file.

Run the script. If OpenCV is installed and configured correctly on your Windows system, you should see the image displayed in a window.

That's it! You have successfully installed and configured OpenCV on your Windows system. You are now ready to start building powerful computer vision applications.

Downloading and installing OpenCV on Mac

OpenCV icon mac

OpenCV is an open-source computer vision library that can be used for a variety of purposes, including real-time computer vision, image and video analysis, and machine learning. It is one of the most popular libraries for computer vision and is used extensively by researchers and developers around the world. If you are a Mac user and want to use OpenCV, you can easily download and install it on your system by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Install Xcode Command Line Tools

The first step in installing OpenCV on your Mac is to install Xcode Command Line Tools. You can do this by opening Terminal and typing the following command:

xcode-select --install

This will download and install the necessary tools on your system.

Step 2: Install Homebrew

The next step is to install Homebrew, which is a package manager for macOS. You can do this by entering the following command in Terminal:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Once the installation is complete, you can type the following command to make sure Homebrew is working correctly:

brew doctor

Step 3: Install OpenCV

Now that you have Xcode Command Line Tools and Homebrew installed, you can download and install OpenCV. To do this, enter the following command in Terminal:

brew install opencv

This will download and install OpenCV on your system.

Once the installation is complete, you can verify that OpenCV is installed correctly by typing the following command in Terminal:

pkg-config --modversion opencv4

If OpenCV is installed correctly, you should see the version number displayed on the screen.

Step 4: Set Up Xcode

If you plan to use OpenCV with Xcode, you need to link the OpenCV libraries to your project. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Xcode project and select your project from the Project Navigator.
  2. Select your target from the list of targets and click on the Build Phases tab.
  3. Click on the + button under the Link Binary With Libraries section.
  4. Select the following libraries:
    • libopencv_core.dylib
    • libopencv_highgui.dylib
    • libopencv_imgcodecs.dylib
    • libopencv_imgproc.dylib
  5. Click on the Add button.

Now you should be able to use OpenCV in your Xcode project.


OpenCV is a powerful library for computer vision that can be used for a variety of purposes, including real-time computer vision, image and video analysis, and machine learning. If you are a Mac user, installing OpenCV is easy if you follow these steps. Once you have OpenCV installed, you can use it in your projects and take advantage of its many features.

Testing your OpenCV installation and troubleshooting common errors

Testing your OpenCV installation and troubleshooting common errors

After installing OpenCV, you need to test whether the installation is successful. Here are some ways you can test your installation:

1. Camera Test

The camera test is a simple way to check if OpenCV is detecting the camera correctly. To perform the test, you need to write a simple program that opens the camera and displays the frames.

Here is a simple Camera Test code that uses Python:

import cv2
cap = cv2.VideoCapture(0)
while True:
    ret, frame =
    if cv2.waitKey(1) & 0xFF == ord('q'):

This code should open the camera and display the frames. If it does not work, then there is an issue with the installation.

2. Image Test

The image test is another way to check if OpenCV is working correctly. To perform the test, you need to write a simple program that reads an image and displays it.

Here is a simple Image Test code that uses Python:

import cv2
import numpy as np

img = cv2.imread('image.jpg')

This code should read the image and display it. If it does not work, then there is an issue with the installation.

3. Video Test

The video test is another way to check if OpenCV is working correctly. To perform the test, you need to write a simple program that reads a video file and displays it.

Here is a simple Video Test code that uses Python:

import cv2
cap = cv2.VideoCapture('video.mp4')
while (cap.isOpened()):
    ret, frame =
    if cv2.waitKey(25) & 0xFF == ord('q'):

This code should read the video and display it. If it does not work, then there is an issue with the installation.

4. Common Errors

Even if you have followed the installation tutorial correctly, you might run into some errors. Here are some common errors and their solutions:

Library not found

If you get an error that says "Library not found", it means that OpenCV is not installed in the standard library location. You can fix this error by adding the path to the OpenCV library to the system PATH variable.

Undefined symbols for architecture error

If you get an error that says "Undefined symbols for architecture", it means that the compiler is not able to find the OpenCV libraries. You can fix this error by adding the OpenCV libraries to the project settings.

Module not found error

If you get an error that says "Module not found", it means that the required OpenCV module is not installed. You can fix this error by installing the missing module using pip or conda.

5. Conclusion

Testing your OpenCV installation is an important step to ensure that OpenCV is working correctly. You can use the camera test, image test, and video test to test your installation. If you run into any errors, you can refer to the common errors section to fix them.

Once you have tested your installation and fixed any errors, you are ready to start using OpenCV for your computer vision projects.

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