pyqtdeploy is a tool that, in conjunction with other tools provided with Qt, enables the deployment of PyQt applications written with Python v2.7 or Python v3.3 or later. It supports deployment to desktop platforms (Linux, Windows and macOS) and to mobile platforms (iOS and Android).

Normally you would create statically compiled versions of the Python interpreter library, any third party extension modules, PyQt and Qt. This way your application has no external dependencies. However there is nothing to stop you using shared versions of any of these components in order to reduce the size of the application, but at the cost of increasing the complexity of the deployment.

pyqtdeploy itself requires PyQt5 and Python v3.5 or later.

pyqtdeploy works by taking the individual modules of a PyQt application, freezing them, and then placing them in a Qt resource file that is converted to C++ code by Qt’s rcc tool. Python’s standard library is handled in the same way.

pyqtdeploy generates a simple C++ wrapper around the Python interpreter library that uses the Python import mechanism to enable access to the embedded frozen modules in a similar way that Python supports the packaging of modules in zip files.

Finally pyqtdeploy generates a target-specific Qt .pro file that describes all the generated C++ code. From this Qt’s qmake tool is used to generate a Makefile which will then generate a single executable. Further Qt and/or platform specific tools can then be used to convert the executable to a target-specific deployable package.

When run pyqtdeploy presents a GUI that allows all the separate components to be specified. This information is stored in a pyqtdeploy project file.

pyqtdeploy does not (yet) perform auto-discovery of Python standard library modules or third party modules to be included with the application. You must specify these yourself. However it does understand the inter-dependencies within the standard library, so you only need to specify those packages that your application explicitly imports.

A companion program pyqtdeploy-build can be run from the command line (or a shell script or batch file) to generate the C++ code from a project file.

Another companion program pyqtdeploy-sysroot provides support for creating a system root directory containing target-specific installations of certain components (e.g. Python itself and PyQt).


Creating a single executable (particularly one with no external dependencies) from a complex Python application (particularly one that uses external C extension modules) is not a simple task. It requires experience of C code, compilers, build systems and the ability to debug associated problems. You have been warned!

Differences from Version 1

There have been a number of changes to pyqtdeploy since v1. Most of these changes are related to the supporting tools rather than the GUI. Project files created for v1 are automatically updated by later versions.

Python v3.6 or later is required for Android, support for earlier versions has been removed.

v1 recommended a directory structure to adopt when assembling the various parts of a deployable application. This was refered to as the sysroot directory. An unsupported script,, was provided that created the sysroot directory and was able to build and install a limited number of components - mainly PyQt and related packages. It used configuration files generated by the pyqtdeploycli program to specify how those components were built, e.g. which individual modules and features were enabled. has been replaced with the fully supported pyqtdeploy-sysroot program. Individual component support is implemented by a configurable component plugin. An API is provided for you to write (and contribute) your own plugins for additional components. As with v1, using the sysroot directory structure is entirely optional.

The pyqtdeploycli program has been removed. The build functionality has been replaced by the new pyqtdeploy-build program.

The Build tab of the pyqtdeploy GUI has been removed. The sole purpose of the GUI is now to create and modify a project file.

The C++ code and qmake .pro file generated by v1 attempted to be portable across all target architectures. pyqtdeploy-build will generate code specific for a single target architecture which is determined by the --target option and default to the host architecture.


pyqtdeploy is copyright (c) Riverbank Computing Limited. Its homepage is

Support may be obtained from the PyQt mailing list at


pyqtdeploy is released under the BSD license.


pyqtdeploy can be downloaded and installed from PyPi:

pip3 install pyqtdeploy

pyqtdeploy requires PyQt5 to be installed. This is not installed automatically.