This is what drawing a circuit looks like in the Qiskit textbook:

enter image description here

and this is the ugly version I am stuck with in my own notebooks:

enter image description here

On their Prerequisites page they write:

enter image description here

However, there is no .qiskit file in my home directory, and I can't locate it anywhere else. I installed it simply with the usual pip install command, without setting up any virtual environment, so that may be the issue. I am not a Linux expert so perhaps there is something simple I am missing.

How can I set up this configuration file? Creating a .qiskit directory manually doesn't do the job.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Rather than changing the default, you can request the mpl backend each time using `.draw(output='mpl')'. $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2021 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Awesome, thanks. Would still be nice to figure out where that damn file is stored though. $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2021 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ Hey! I wrote that "ugly" circuit drawer. I feel a bit disparaged ;) $\endgroup$
    – luciano
    Jan 30, 2021 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, sorry :) I should have rather called it charmingly rustic or tastefully minimalistic perhaps... $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2021 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


As James noted in the comment. You can use the .draw( output = 'mpl', ... ) or to help you to get a nicer figure. That is, suppose I have the following circuit:

q_0: ┤ X ├┤M├─────────
q_1: ┤ X ├─╫─┤M├──────
     ├───┤ ║ └╥┘┌─┐   
q_2: ┤ H ├─╫──╫─┤M├───
     ├───┤ ║  ║ └╥┘┌─┐
q_3: ┤ H ├─╫──╫──╫─┤M├
     └───┘ ║  ║  ║ └╥┘
c: 4/══════╩══╩══╩══╩═
           0  1  2  3 

which can be created by running the code:

from qiskit import QuantumRegister, ClassicalRegister, QuantumCircuit
from numpy import pi

qreg_q = QuantumRegister(4, 'q')
creg_c = ClassicalRegister(4, 'c')
circuit = QuantumCircuit(qreg_q, creg_c)

circuit.measure(qreg_q[0], creg_c[0])
circuit.measure(qreg_q[1], creg_c[1])
circuit.measure(qreg_q[2], creg_c[2])
circuit.measure(qreg_q[3], creg_c[3])

then by specifying:

circuit.draw( output = 'mpl', style={'name': 'bw'}, plot_barriers= True, initial_state = True, scale = 1)

I will get the figure:

enter image description here

and if i specify:

circuit.draw( output = 'latex',style={'name': 'bw'}, plot_barriers= True, initial_state = True, scale = 1)

I will get the figure:

enter image description here

and if you want to save the image file, then include the file name in the option. That is, something like:

circuit.draw( 'mpl',style={'name': 'bw'},filename= 'MyCircuit', plot_barriers= True, initial_state = True, scale = 1)

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