A brief introduction

Why conda-forge?

The conda team, from Anaconda, Inc., packages a multitude of packages and provides them to all users free of charge in their default channel.

But what if a package you are looking for is not in the default channel? In the past users only had the option to create an Anaconda Cloud account and create their own channel.

This came with a list of disadvantages:

  • Locating packages was difficult due to them being scattered over many channels.

  • Combining packages across channels was not always possible due to binary incompatibilities.

  • Packages were only available for architectures the developer was interested in or had access to.

  • Channels were often abandoned, updating required locating new channels.

conda-forge is a community effort that tackles these issues:

  • All packages are shared in a single channel named conda-forge.

  • Care is taken that all packages are up-to-date.

  • Common standards ensure that all packages have compatible versions.

  • By default, we build packages for macOS, Linux AMD64 and Windows AMD64.

  • Many packages are updated by multiple maintainers with an easy option to become a maintainer.

  • An active core developer team is trying to also maintain abandoned packages.

How can I install packages from conda-forge?

Using conda-forge is easy!

  • Make sure you have conda >=4.9.

conda --version
conda update conda
  • Add conda-forge as the highest priority channel.

conda config --add channels conda-forge
  • Activate strict channel priority (strict will be activated by default in conda 5.0).

conda config --set channel_priority strict

From now on using conda install <package-name> will also find packages in our conda-forge channels.


In addition to the channel priority, we recommend always installing your packages inside a new environment instead of the base (formerly known as root) environment, and we also recommend the use of miniconda instead of the Anaconda Distribution. Using environments make it easier to debug problems with packages and ensure the stability of your base environment. Avoiding the Anaconda Distribution reduces chances of unsolvable/conflicting installations, it is also a smaller download.


Please be aware that the order of your conda package channels is important, especially when you combine conda-forge with other channels, e.g. bioconda.


Miniforge is a community effort to provide Miniconda-like installers, with the added feature that conda-forge is the default channel. For certain platforms (such as ARMv8 64-bit, formally known as aarch64) Anaconda, Inc. does not provide any Miniconda installers, however Miniforge does. Miniforge installers are available here: https://github.com/conda-forge/miniforge/#download

Please refer to Using multiple channels for pitfalls and more information.

Can I contribute packages to conda-forge?

Anyone can contribute packages to the conda-forge channel. You don’t have to be the upstream maintainer of a package in order to contribute it to conda-forge. To learn how to contribute your first package read the staging process.

How can I give credit to conda-forge?

If you’d like to credit conda-forge in your work, please cite our Zenodo entry. This citation is

conda-forge community. (2015). The conda-forge Project: Community-based
Software Distribution Built on the conda Package Format and Ecosystem.
Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4774216

or in bibtex it is

  author       = {conda-forge community},
  title        = {{The conda-forge Project: Community-based Software
       Distribution Built on the conda Package Format and
  month        = jul,
  year         = 2015,
  publisher    = {Zenodo},
  doi          = {10.5281/zenodo.4774216},
  url          = {https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4774216}

Display conda-forge packages in Anaconda Navigator

  1. Open Anaconda Navigator by running anaconda-navigator

  2. Go to the Environments tab.

  3. Click the Channels button.

  4. Click the Add button.

  5. Enter the channel url: https://conda.anaconda.org/conda-forge/

  6. Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

  7. Click the Update channels button.

From now on, whenever the package filter is set to All on the Environments tab, all conda-forge packages will be displayed.