Containerized versions

If you have Docker installed, the quickest way to get mriqc to work is following the running with docker guide.

We recommend trying containerized versions first to avoid installation issues. MRIQC uses bleeding-edge (oftentimes unreleased) versions of nipype and niworkflows and “bare-metal” installations can be hard. Nonetheless, we offer support on our github repository.

“Bare-metal” installation

If, for some reason, you really need a bare-metal installation, MRIQC can be installed as follows. First, please make sure you have the execution system dependencies installed (see below). Second, the latest development version of MRIQC can be installed from github using pip on a Python 3 environment:

python -m pip install -U mriqc


As of MRIQC 0.9.4, Python 2 is no longer supported.


MRIQC uses matplotlib to create graphics. By default, matplotlib is configured to plot through an interactive Tcl/tk interface, which requires a functional display to be available. In head-less settings (for example, when running under tmux), you may see an error:

_tkinter.TclError: couldn't connect to display "localhost:10.0"

There are two pathways to fix this issue. One is setting up a virtual display with a tool like XVfb. Alternatively, you can configure your matplotlib distribution to perform on head-less mode by default. That is achieved by uncommenting the backend : Agg line in the matplotlib’s configuration file. The location of the configuration file can be retrieved with Python:

>>> import matplotlib
>>> print(matplotlib.matplotlib_fname())

Alternatively, you can issue the following shell command-line to edit this setting:

$ sed -i 's/\(backend *: \).*$/\1Agg/g' $( python -c "import matplotlib; print(matplotlib.matplotlib_fname())" )

Execution system dependencies

If you are using a a Neurodebian Linux distribution, installation should be as easy as:

sudo apt-get install afni ants
sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/ants/N4BiasFieldCorrection /usr/local/bin/

After installation, make sure that all the necessary binaries are added to the $PATH environment variable, for the user that will run mriqc.

Otherwise, you can follow each software installation guide: AFNI, and ANTs.


Please note that MRIQC 22.0.0 and later requires Freesurfer’s SynthStrip tool.

Please also install FreeSurfer (above 7.2) using their guidelines. If your FreeSurfer version is older than 7.2, then you can get MRIQC’s requirements with:

wget -P ${FREESURFER_HOME}/models/


You will get the following error if you do not install SynthStrip’s requirement:

The 'model' trait of a _SynthStripInputSpec instance must be a pathlike object or string representing an existing file, but a value of '<undefined>' <class 'str'> was specified.`

If the SynthStrip requirement was downloaded, please make sure your environment has defined the variable $FREESURFER_HOME and that it is pointing at the right directory:


If the $FREESURFER_HOME environment variable is defined, check whether the model file is available at the expected path:

$ stat $FREESURFER_HOME/models/
  File: /opt/freesurfer/models/
  Size: 30851709    Blocks: 60264      IO Block: 4096   regular file
Device: fd00h/64768d  Inode: 12583379    Links: 1
Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--)  Uid: (    0/    root)   Gid: (    0/    root)
Access: 2024-04-09 11:13:29.091893354 +0200
Modify: 2023-01-20 09:39:54.284056264 +0100
Change: 2023-01-20 09:39:54.284056264 +0100
 Birth: 2023-01-20 09:39:54.224056213 +0100

If SynthStrip’s model file is not present, the output will look like:

$ stat $FREESURFER_HOME/models/
stat: cannot statx '/opt/freesurfer/models/': No such file or directory