Installing spyder IDE for ArcPro

11-13-2019 04:34 AM
MVP Frequent Contributor
6 19 10.8K


This is a mini guide to installing the spyder IDE so it works for ArcPro and is arcpy aware.

Background info

ArcPro is 64 bit and the version of Python it uses is 64 bit so you need an IDE that will work with a 64 bit version. As of version 2.4.2 of ArcPro it is using Python 3.6.8 in the Anaconda environment.

Important pre-install instructions

If you have gone to the Spyder website, downloaded it directly and installed it then that was the wrong thing to do! Uninstall it.

Install instructions

  1. In ArcPro click on Project tab then Python in the blue menu bar.
  2. Click on Manage Environments button and in the dialog box you will see the default arcgispro-py3 environment, this is the base install environment.
  3. To avoid corrupting this base environment, click on the clone icon and create a clone, you can choose the default name (arcgispro-py3-clone) or set it to something else. This will take several minutes to run as the environment is cloned.
  4. Make sure it is the Active environment, click OK and restart ArcPro.
  5. In ArcPro click on Project tab then Python in the blue menu bar. Make sure your cloned environment is the active environment.
  6. Click on the Add Packages button.
  7. Find Spyder and then click on the Install button in the panel to the right. Again this will take several minutes for it to install.
  8. That's it you just installed a version of the spyder IDE that will work with ArcPro and is aware of the arcpy module.

Post Install instructions

Having installed spyder how do you actually run it? Well the way I do that is to create a short cut to it and place that on my desktop.  You will find the application here:


xxx = Your user login

yyy = Your chosen name for the cloned environment

  1. Open file explorer and navigate to spyder location.
  2. Right click on the application and send to desktop to create a shortcut.
  3. Optionally right click on the newly created shortcut, select properties and set the icon for the application, the ico file is in the same folder location as the application.

My desktop icons:

Tags (3)
MVP Esteemed Contributor

Good stuff Duncan.  I hope the user in this post follows your link here!

New Contributor III

Can you provide some detail on uninstalling spyder?  Thanks, Chris.

MVP Frequent Contributor

Just the standard Windows approach, go to Add or Remove Programs and uninstall it.

New Contributor III

I can open spyder:

but I do not see it in my programs?

MVP Esteemed Contributor

You have to change into the conda folder in order to execute conda functionality within spyder


%cd C:\arc_pro\bin\Python\Scripts

conda list
# packages in environment at C:\arc_pro\bin\Python\envs\arcgispro-py3:
alabaster                 0.7.12                   py36_0 
appdirs                   1.4.3              pyh91ea838_0 
arcgis                    1.7.0                  py36_834    esri/label/prerelease
arcgispro                 2.5                           0    esri
asn1crypto                1.2.0                    py36_0 
astroid                   2.3.2                    py36_0 
atomicwrites              1.3.0                    py36_1 

.... huge snip

Note the conda executable (and proenv.bat which executes things and sets stuff up)

is different than the path to the python environment (line 5)

MVP Frequent Contributor


A colleague of mine has that Anaconda Navigator installed and has installed spyder that way. We checked his Windows Add/Remove option and it does not appear in the list, like yours. I guess Anaconda installs it in a different way? I don't have Anaconda Navigator installed so I don't know if you can remove it from that and install spyder following my above instructions or you can have both versions installed?


MVP Esteemed Contributor

spyder should have been installed through the conda environment set up by ArcGIS Pro.

If anaconda navigator wasn't 'tweaked' to be able to be used directly with ArcGIS pro, I suspect it is a separate conda installation.  Navigator doesn't tie into to ArcGIS pro without some modifications to one of the files.

You can only "remove" package through conda or Navigator, Windows knows nothing about what or how packages are installed.

Occasional Contributor III


I had successfully installed Spyder thru a clone environment and it had been working until I updated to ArcGIS Pro 2.5 and then had a type mismatch in the clone environment. I was able to create a new clone and added the spyder package again similar to before thru the 'add package' within ArcGIS Pro. (your steps above). However now when I go click on the spyder.exe in my Users file path (same as before), I'm getting an error, "This application failed to start because it could not find or load the Qt platform plugin "windows" in "". Reinstalling the application may fix this problem." 

I've been looking around and found info related to the error with setting a new system environment variable with the correct path for "QT_PLUGIN_PATH path" but I'm not sure of what path to use. I tried the suggestion of  “C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\ESRI\conda\envs\arcgispro-py3-clone\Library\plugins\platforms” but this didn't resolve the issue or I'm not even sure the plugin is there. How do I find the exact name of the plugin? Is it installed elsewhere with the default install that I could copy it to the file path above?

Has anyone else received this error and can help troubleshoot? 


MVP Esteemed Contributor

clean everything out and start again would be easiest..  You don't click on spyder.exe to run it since there is some prior setup that has to be done, so create a shortcut



Occasional Contributor III

Thanks Dan!

What do you mean by 'clean everything out and start again', delete the clone and clone attempts and then create a new clone? I'm not very familiar at all with conda and so I must have lucked out the first go around with getting the clone and spyder working. I had previously created a shortcut as Duncan had outlined in this post ( ) for using spyder.

Thanks again for your help!

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Not quite a couple weeks ago I was in the same spot as you this post :ArcGIS Pro 2.5 New Env but... chronicles how Dan helped me through it...

New Contributor

If you landed on this page, you've likely spend half a day screwing with the tom-**bleep**ery that comes with ESRI, if you can avoid their libraries, when many open source ones from geopandas or shapely and many other can do. 

Occasional Contributor II

 I love opensource and that includes the Anaconda project, which Esri has chosen to incorporate into ArcGIS Pro. I used spyder for over a year. That said, I find Visual Studio Code to be vastly superior to spyder. I could probably write a 1000 words here easily to tell you why but I will spare you that. It's not open source but it's still free. I use it all day developing both Python and JavaScript code to support GIS work.

The best approach to GIS is not Esri OR open source, the best approach is to use the ALL the tools that work for you, and using VSCode + conda environments makes this approach a lot easier.

It's possible to do just about everything Pythonish inside VSCode, including running Jupyter notebooks. It's also possible to work remotely across network connections and also to use Docker containers for special projects.

Anyway, dump spyder, switch to VSCode. It will be easier for you in the long run.

New Contributor II

Hi, when I try to clone the environment, I get this error. I've read on other websites that users have resolved this issue by running ArcGIS Pro as an administrator, but I'm not sure how to do that. Any help here would be great. 



New Contributor III


I have installed spyder according to the tutorial. However, when I ran it, there was the following message and I was unable to run spyder. Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Occasional Contributor II

It looks like it wants you to install the package "mkl-service"

Can you tell us what ArcGIS Pro version and what Python version you are using?

I remember hitting this back some time, and I read that mkl-service needs python 3.7 which I believe comes with Pro 2.8. Are you still running Python 3.6?

In Pro, Project -> Python -> look at the list of installed packages, see if mkl-service is there. If not, try using Add Packages and type in mkl-service and see if it shows up.

Or do it all using "conda" at a command line if you know how to do that. On my computer it looked like this

conda install --name=arcgispro-py3-vscode mkl-service
Collecting package metadata (current_repodata.json): done
Solving environment: done
## Package Plan ##
  environment location: C:\Users\bwilson\AppData\Local\ESRI\conda\envs\arcgispro-py3-vscode
  added / updated specs:
    - mkl-service

Proceed ([y]/n)?


New Contributor III


Thank you for replying. My python version is 3.8.8, and my arcgis pro version is 2.8.2.

The mkl-service is installed in arcgis pro(mkl-service.png).


I followed up until the line "activate my_arcgispro_clone". And then I typed 

conda install --name=arcgispro-py3-vscode mkl-service

But I received the following error:


I would really appreciate it if you could share with me your thoughts on this. Thank you.



Occasional Contributor II

You already have mkl-service so you don't need to install it

What happens if you do this?

conda activate my_arcgispro_clone
conda install spyder

(Once you have activated an environment you don' t have to use the "--name=" option) 

If you have some other version of Spyder installed (like from a separate installer) then you probably want to remove it before installing again with this.

What this is doing is telling conda to install a copy of spyder inside its active environment.

It should also show in your start menu with the environment after it, so for you it should show as 

spyder (my_arcgispro_clone)

Clicking on that should be enough to load the environment and launch spyder.


New Contributor III

Hello. Thank you so much for your reply. I started the lower version of spyder via the anaconda navigator by changing the "Applications on" field to my cloned arcpy environment, instead of double clicking it to start it, and I could open Spyder without any problem.

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GIS Desktop Developer I have specialised in river network analysis and mapping but have worked on a wide variety of projects. I am often found at the bottom of a cave!