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Download the source code from the VTK Download page or Clone with Git

git clone https://gitlab.kitware.com/vtk/vtk.git VTK


Create a build directory which is separate from the source.

mkdir VTK-build
cd VTK-build
ccmake /path/to/VTK

Set any options you would like using the curses interface. Alternatively, set the options at the command line.

mkdir VTK-Release-build
cd VTK-Release-build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=Release /path/to/VTK

Qt Setup


In order to build with the latest Qt5 release (Qt5.2.1), take the following steps:

mkdir qt5.2.1-install && cd qt5.2.1-install
wget http://download.qt-project.org/official_releases/qt/5.2/5.2.1/qt-opensource-linux-x64-5.2.1.run
chmod +x qt-opensource-linux-x64-5.2.1.run
  • Install to a separate directory
  • Configure VTK with the following options
cd /path/to/VTK-Release-build
      -DQT_QMAKE_EXECUTABLE:PATH=/path/to/qt5.2.1-install/5.2.1/gcc_64/bin/qmake \
      -DVTK_Group_Qt:BOOL=ON \
      -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH:PATH=/path/to/qt.5.2.1-install/5.2.1/gcc_64/lib/cmake  \


  • The latest patch release (Qt4.8.6) does not appear to have an installer for linux on the Qt Downloads page so the code must be built from source.
mkdir qt-4.8.6-build && cd qt-4.8.6-build
wget http://download.qt-project.org/official_releases/qt/4.8/4.8.6/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6.tar.gz
tar xzf qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6.tar.gz
cd qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6
./configure # go through the dialogue 
make -j<# of cores>
  • Then in the VTK build directory, configure VTK with the path to the Qt build
cmake -DQT_QMAKE_EXECUTABLE:PATH=/path/to/qt-4.8.6-build/qt-everywhere-opensource-src-4.8.6/bin/qmake \
      -DVTK_Group_Qt:BOOL=ON \


Once cmake finishes successfully configuring, use make inside the build directory.

make -j<# of cores>