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How to install MultiQC on your system

Installing MultiQC

MultiQC is written in Python and can be installed in a number of ways. Which method you should use depends on how you’re using MultiQC and how familiar you are with the Python ecosystem.

If you’re new to software packaging, this page can be a little overwhelming. If in doubt, a general rule is:

Installation cheat sheet

Know what you’re doing with this kind of thing? Here’s a quick reference:

pip install multiqc
Pip (dev version)
pip install --upgrade --force-reinstall git+
conda install multiqc
docker run -t -v `pwd`:`pwd` -w `pwd` multiqc/multiqc multiqc .

Installing Python

MultiQC is written in Python and needs a Python installation to run.

To run MultiQC manually install, you’ll typically install it into a local Python environment. MultiQC requires Python version 3.8 or above.

System Python

Python comes installed on most operating systems. You can install MultiQC directly here, but it is not recommended. This often causes problems and it’s a little risky to mess with it.


If you find yourself prepending sudo to any MultiQC commands, take a step back and think about Python virtual environments / conda instead.

Python with Conda

To see if you have python installed, run python --version on the command line. MultiQC needs Python version 3.8+.

We recommend using virtual environments to manage your Python installation. Our favourite is conda, a cross-platform tool to manage Python environments. You can installation instructions for Miniconda here.

Once conda is installed, you can create a Python environment with the following commands:

conda create --name py3.11 python=3.11
conda activate py3.11

You’ll want to add the conda activate py3.11 line to your .bashrc file, so that the environment is loaded every time you load the terminal.

Using a specific python interpreter

If you prefer, you can also run MultiQC with a specific python interpreter. The command line usage and flags are then exactly the same as if you ran just multiqc.

For example:

python -m multiqc .
python3 -m multiqc .
~/my_env/bin/python -m multiqc .

Installing MultiQC locally

There are a few different ways to install MultiQC into your local Python environment:


MultiQC is available on BioConda.

conda install multiqc

The order of conda channels is important! Please make sure that you have configured your conda channels prior to installing anything with BioConda:

conda config --add channels defaults
conda config --add channels bioconda
conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda config --set channel_priority strict

In the past we used -c bioconda in the installation command, but this is no longer the correct usage. Doing so will likely cause weird stuff to happen (such as only being able to install very old versions).

Pip / PyPI

This is the easiest way to install MultiQC. pip is the package manager for the Python Package Manager. It comes bundled with recent versions of Python, otherwise you can find installation instructions here.

You can install MultiQC from PyPI as follows:

pip install multiqc

Use the --upgrade flag to update to the latest version.

If you would like the development version, the command is:

pip install git+

To update the dev version between releases, use --upgrade --force-reinstall. This is needed as the version number isn’t changing.

If you have problems with read-only directories, you can install to your home directory with the --user parameter:

pip install --user multiqc


MultiQC is available on spack as py-multiqc:

spack install py-multiqc


If you’re using the FreeBSD operating system, you can install MultiQC via FreeBSD ports:

pkg install py39-multiqc

This will install a prebuilt binary using only highly-portable optimizations.

FreeBSD ports can also be built and installed from source:

cd /usr/ports/biology/py-multiqc
make install

To report issues with a FreeBSD port, please submit a PR on the FreeBSD bug reports page.

Cloning the repository

If you’d rather not use either of these tools, you can clone the code and install the code yourself:

git clone
cd MultiQC
pip install .

This will fetch the latest development code. To update to the latest changes, use git pull.

git not installed? No problem - just download the flat files:

curl -LOk
cd MultiQC-main
pip install .


If you’re using the nix package manager with flakes enabled, you can run nix developin the cloned MultiQC repository to enter a shell with required dependencies. To build MultiQC, run nix build.

MultiQC container images


A Docker container is provided on Docker Hub called multiqc/multiqc. It’s based on an python-slim base image to give the smallest image size possible.

To use, call the docker run with your current working directory mounted as a volume and working directory. Then just specify the MultiQC command at the end as usual:

docker run -t -v `pwd`:`pwd` -w `pwd` multiqc/multiqc multiqc .
  • -t: Runs docker with a pseudo-tty, for nice terminal colours
  • -v: Mounts the current working directory into the container
  • -w: Sets the working directory in the container as your local working directory

You can specify additional MultiQC parameters as normal at the end of the command:

docker run -t -v `pwd`:`pwd` -w `pwd` multiqc/multiqc multiqc . --title "My amazing report" -b "This was made with docker"

By default, docker will use the :latest tag. For MultiQC, this is set to be the most recent release. To use the most recent development code, use multiqc/multiqc:dev. You can also specify specific versions, eg: multiqc/multiqc:v1.20.

Note that all files on the command line (eg. config files) must also be mounted in the docker container to be accessible. For more help, look into the Docker documentation.

Docker image name change

The docker image used to be called ewels/multiqc. All releases prior to MultiQC v1.19 can be found at ewels/multiqc and everything from v1.20 onwards can be found at multiqc/multiqc.

Tip: Docker bash alias

The docker command above is a little verbose, so if you are using this a lot it may be worth adding the following bash alias to your ~/.bashrc file:

alias multiqc="docker run -tv `pwd`:`pwd` -w `pwd` multiqc/multiqc multiqc"

Once applied (first log out and in again) you can then just use the multiqc command instead:

multiqc .
Compute architectures

These docker images are multi-platform images – each build contains two digests, one for linux/amd64 and one for linux/arm64.

Generally, the Docker client should be clever enough to pull the digest appropriate for your local compute architecture. However, if you wish you can force it with the --platform flag.

docker pull --platform linux/arm64 multiqc/multiqc:latest

GitHub Packages

If you prefer, the Docker image above is also available from GitHub packages. Usage is identical, the only difference is that the URI has a prefix:

docker pull

This image was also renamed, versions up to v1.19 can be found at


To build a singularity container image from the docker image, use the following command: (change 1.20 to the current MultiQC version)

singularity build multiqc-1.20.sif docker://multiqc/multiqc:v1.20

Then, use singularity run to run the image with the normal MultiQC arguments:

singularity run multiqc-1.20.sif my_results/ --title "Report made using Singularity"
Import errors with Singularity

Sometimes, Singularity can be over-ambitious with sharing file paths which can result in the Python environment in your local system interacting with Python inside the image. This can give rise to ImportError errors for numpy and other packages.

The giveaway for when this is the problem is that traceback will list python package paths which are on your system and look different that of MultiQC inside the container (eg. /usr/lib/python3.8/site-packages/multiqc/).

To fix this, run the command export PYTHONNOUSERSITE=1 before running MultiQC. This variable tells Python not to add site-packages to the system path when loading, which should avoid the conflicts.


If you prefer, you can download a pre-built Singularity image from BioContainers, see below.


BioContainers is a project that automatically builds Docker and Singularity container images from BioConda. The images are less fine-tuned for MultiQC so tend to have a larger filesize, but they should work well and are convenient.

To see available images, visit the BioContainers registry page for MultiQC.

Using MultiQC in a Python script

You can import and run MultiQC from within a Python script, using the function as follows:

import multiqc"/path/to/dir")

More development of interactive usage is planned for the future. Currently you can’t do a lot more than just running MultiQC.


On the main Galaxy instance

The easiest and fast manner to use MultiQC is to use the main Galaxy instance where you will find MultiQC Galaxy tool under the NGS: QC and manipualtion tool panel section.

On your instance

You can install MultiQC on your own Galaxy instance through your Galaxy admin space, searching on the main Toolshed for the MultiQC repository available under the visualization, statistics and Fastq Manipulation sections.

Environment modules

Many people using MultiQC will be working on a HPC environment. Every server / cluster is different, and you’re probably best off asking your friendly sysadmin to install MultiQC for you. However, with that in mind, here are a few general tips for installing MultiQC into an environment module system:

MultiQC comes in two parts - the multiqc python package and the multiqc executable script. The former must be available in $PYTHONPATH and the script must be available on the $PATH.

A typical installation procedure with an environment module Python install might look like this: (Note that $PYTHONPATH must be defined before pip installation.)

module load python/3.11
mkdir $INST
export PYTHONPATH=$INST/lib/python2.7/site-packages
pip install --install-option="--prefix=$INST" multiqc

Once installed, you’ll need to create an environment module file. Again, these vary between systems a lot, but here’s an example:

## MultiQC
set components [ file split [ module-info name ] ]
set version [ lindex $components 1 ]
set modroot /path/to/software/multiqc/$version
proc ModulesHelp { } {
    global version modroot
    puts stderr "\tMultiQC - use MultiQC $version"
    puts stderr "\n\tVersion $version\n"
module-whatis   "Loads MultiQC environment."
# load required modules
module load python/3.11
# only one version at a time
conflict multiqc
# Make the directories available
prepend-path    PATH        $modroot/bin
prepend-path	PYTHONPATH	$modroot/lib/python3.11/site-packages