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Simulated backend for PyVISA implementing TCPIP, GPIB, RS232, and USB resources

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PyVISA-sim is a PyVISA backend that simulates a large part of the “Virtual Instrument Software Architecture” (VISA).


PyVISA started as a wrapper for the NI-VISA library and therefore you need to install the National Instruments VISA library in your system. This works most of the time, for most people. But sometimes you need to test PyVISA without the physical devices or even without NI-VISA.

Starting from version 1.6, PyVISA allows to use different backends. These backends can be dynamically loaded. PyVISA-sim is one of such backends. It implements most of the methods for Message Based communication (Serial/USB/GPIB/Ethernet) in a simulated environment. The behaviour of simulated devices can be controlled by a simple plain text configuration file.

VISA and Python

Python has a couple of features that make it very interesting for measurement controlling:

  • Python is an easy-to-learn scripting language with short development cycles.
  • It represents a high abstraction level, which perfectly blends with the abstraction level of measurement programs.
  • It has a very rich set of native libraries, including numerical and plotting modules for data analysis and visualisation.
  • A large set of books (in many languages) and on-line publications is available.


  • Python (tested with 2.7, and 3.4 to 3.8)
  • PyVISA 1.6+


Using pip:

$ pip install -U pyvisa-sim

or install the development version:

$ pip install -U

PyVISA is automatically installed if needed.


Ensure you have tox installed. Then you can simply invoke

$ tox

to run tests for all supported Python versions, or select one with

$ tox -e pyXY

with X being the major version (2 or 3) and Y the minor version.


The documentation can be read online at

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