Skip to content



The success of the VTK Examples depends on the contributions from the VTK user community. If you wish to contribute to this valuable resource, please follow these guidelines. If you are a VTK Example User, go here or an Example Administrator go here.

C++, C#, Python, and Java examples are welcome! Examples should illustrate a single concept.

Follow the Coding Guidelines

When you write an example, please follow the coding guidelines. Create the example in your local repository, compile and run it before you generate a pull request.

Some additional steps need to be done for Python C# and Java, see the sections below.

Setup for Development

This assumes you have VTK, CMake, git and git lfs installed.

Fork the repository

Go to the VTK Examples Repository, sign in/register, and then fork the repository.

A fork is a copy of a project. Forking a repository allows you to make changes without affecting the original project.

Clone the VTK examples repository onto your local machine and build it

If you are using SSH:

    git clone<username>/vtk-examples.git

If You are using HTTPS:

    git clone<username>/vtk-examples.git

Add the vtk-examples repository as a remote called upstream

    cd vtk-examples
    git remote add upstream

Now build it

    cd vtk-examples
    cd build

where YOUR_VTK_BIN_DIR is the location of your VTK build.

Before adding your examples

Sync your repository with the vtk-examples repository. Remember that to run the following commands, you need to be in the vtk-examples directory.

    git fetch upstream
    git switch master
    git merge upstream/master
    git push
  • Build the vtk-examples code
    cd vtk-examples
    cd build

where YOUR_VTK_BIN_DIR is the location of your VTK build.

Add the example

Create a branch in your repository

    git checkout -b MyNewExample

where MyNewExample is the name of your new example.

Choose a Topic

The examples are organized by topic. Current topics include Animation, DataStructures, Filters, GeometricObjects, Images, Meshes, etc.

Write the source

Steps for C++

  • Build and test your example (NOTE: only for cxx examples)
        cd vtk-examples/build
        cmake ..
        ctest -V -R MyNewExample

Note: If MyNewExample is not built, then in the directory where you put the file, do:

    touch CMakeLists.txt
  • If your C++ example does any rendering, the test will fail the first time and create an image in vtk-examples/build/Testing/Temporary. The image will be called TestMyNewExample.png.

  • Copy the image into: vtk-examples/src/Testing/Baseline/LANG/TOPIC/. For Python and other languages, create an image with the proper name using a screen capture and copy that image into the proper location.

  • Rerun ctest and the test should pass.

At this point you are ready to push the changes to GitLab.

Steps for Python, Java and C

  • TODO: Add in new instructions for Python.

If you are basing your code on a Cxx example use the same name as the Cxx example. This ensures that automatic cross-referencing works.

Keep the same directory structure as that in Cxx.

  • Follow first three steps above.
  • Manually create a test image if your example does any rendering. The image should be called TestMyNewExample.png.

The following snippets can be used to write the image out:

Add the example to the language page

Depending on the language of your example, edit the file,,, or

Find the section for your topic and add a line for your new example. The format of the line is:

[MyNewExample]/**LANG**/**TOPIC**/**MyNewExample** | doxygen | short description

where LANG is one of Cxx, Python, CSharp, Java.

Commit your changes to your topic branch

git add MyNewExample.cxx

and if you have a baseline image,

git add Testing/Baseline/LANG/TOPIC/TestMyNewExample.png


git commit

Push the changes to GitLab

git push origin MyNewExample

Go to your GitLab project

Then generate a merge request for review.

See here for how to generate a merge request.

Advanced usage

Add a description

If your example could benefit from an extended description, you can create a file Store the file alongside your source code. Use markdown to format the description. Also look at existing files for layout ideas.

In the markdown file any references to the vtk classes will be automatically converted to HTML links in the final documentation. This will cause problems when a VTK class name is used in a reference or when there are non-existent links in the documentation. To circumvent this just surround the vtk object with two question marks, for example: ?vtkTypeFloat32Array?.

Add arguments to the test

If your example requires arguments, you will need to edit the CMakeLists.txt in the topic directory.

  • Add the name of your example to the NEEDS_ARGS variable

  • Add an ADD_TEST line. See other CMakeLists.txt files for examples.

Add extra files to a C++ example

Most C++ examples consist of one file. If other files are required, place them in the same directory as the example. Then add a file with the same prefix as the example name and a .extras suffix. List each extra filename in the .extras file, one filename per line.


If you add extra files to the example, but do not add their filenames to the .extras file, they will appear in the left-hand file menus and will not be included in the tar file for the example.