GraphViz

GraphViz is software system that provides a program called dot. This dot program is able to generate a directed graph from a textual description.

Depending on diagrams you want to generate, PlantUML needs a working version of GraphViz to be able to generate the following diagrams:

For all other diagrams, GraphViz is not needed nor used.

New Java-based diagram generation engine "Smetana"

Since version 1.2021.5, you can experimentally use PlantUML without installing Graphviz as described in the following sections, if you add !pragma layout smetana to your diagrams for the supported types. In that case, the "Smetana" engine is used instead of Graphviz. If that works for you, you can skip the following sections.

Installation under Windows

Starting from 1.2020.21

If you use a recent version (that is at least version 1.2020.21), you don't need to manually install GraphViz anymore !

A minimalistic graphviz dot.exe is packed into PlantUML and will be automagically unzipped in some temporary folder if needed (that is, if no installed GraphViz is available).

This is really the prefered option under Windows.

Caveat: Before 1.2020.25, there was an error message during graph generation, so please use 1.2020.25 or more recent.

Older PlantUML versions

For older version, you have to install GraphViz by yourself. You can either:

With x64 version, you may have to run dot -c (with with Administrator Right) in a command line to finalize the installation, like in the following example:

To retrieve dot.exe, PlantUML scans your c:\ drive and search for c:\*\graphviz*\bin\dot.exe or c:\*\graphviz*\release\bin\dot.exe. This is not recursive: you have to use a folder at root level.

Another option is that you specify the environment variable GRAPHVIZ_DOT to set the exact location of your GraphViz executable.

Installation under Linux

There are multiple ways to install GraphViz under Linux:

  • Fedora packages: sudo yum install graphviz
  • Ubuntu packages: sudo apt install graphviz
  • Debian packages: sudo apt install graphviz

You can also build it from the source. If you do, you have to build it with libexpat in order to work with PlantUML.

By default, the dot executable is expected:

  • Firstly in: /usr/local/bin/dot
  • Then in: /usr/bin/dot

You can also specify the environment variable GRAPHVIZ_DOT to set the exact location of your GraphViz executable.

Installation under Mac

You can easily install GraphViz by installing brew on your Mac machine. This could fix issues if you have installed GraphViz as .dmg package.

brew install libtool
brew link libtool
brew install graphviz
brew link --overwrite graphviz

By default, the dot executable is expected:

  • Firstly in: /usr/local/bin/dot
  • Then in: /usr/bin/dot

You can also specify the environment variable GRAPHVIZ_DOT to set the exact location of your GraphViz executable.

Testing

To have information about where PlantUML expects to find dot, you can use the command line:

java -jar plantuml.jar -testdot

You can also use this special diagram description:

🎉 Copied!
@startuml
testdot
@enduml

Try to launch dot command into a command shell. You may have to finalize the installation by typing dot -C.

You can also specify the environment variable GRAPHVIZ_DOT to set the exact location of your GraphViz executable.

Important note about version

The following GraphViz versions have been tested, and are known to work:

  • 2.26.3
  • 2.28
  • 2.30.1
  • 2.34
  • 2.36
  • 2.38
  • 2.44

Note that versions 2.39 to 2.42 do not work very well with PlantUML.

If you find something wrong, thanks for sending us a note or posting a message on the forum.