how to install LAStools toolbox in QGIS

The more complex installation instructions are only relevant for older QGIS versions. Starting with QGIS 2.10 or newer you can skip directly to step 4 and disregard most of step 6:

We had an ArcGIS LiDAR processing toolbox since April 2012 and now we have one for QGIS as well. It has been tested successfully with QGIS 1.8.0-Lisboa, 2.0.1-Dufour, 2.2.0-Valmiera, and 2.4.0-Chugiak. Download and install QGIS. For version 2.2.0-Valmiera and older follow all the steps. Do not delete or copy any files for the newest version 2.4.0-Chugiak but skip directly to step 4 and disregard most of step 6:

  1. If you already started QGIS then exit the application.
  2. Delete (or rename) the entire folder “C:\Program Files\QGIS Valmiera\apps\qgis\python\plugins\processing\lidar”.
    QGIS install (step 1)
  3. Put the “.\lidar” folder that is inside this ZIP file into its place. This ZIP file only works for QGIS 2.2.0-Valmiera. For QGIS 2.0.1-Dufour you need to use the contents of this ZIP file instead. And for QGIS 1.8.0-Lisboa use this ZIP file and delete the folder “C:\Users\Martin\.qgis\python\plugins\sextante\lidar” instead.
  4. Get the most recent version of LAStools by downloading the 36 MB “” file.
  5. Drag and drop (or extract) the “.\LAStools” folder from inside the ‘‘ file such that there is no space in the path (e.g. bad: “C:\Program Files\LAStools”, good: “D:\software\LAStools”).
  6. Start QGIS. If there is a Python script error carefully repeat steps 1 to 3.
  7. Turn on the “Processing Toolbox” as shown below.
    turning on the "Processing Toolbox"
  8. Switch the processing toolbox from “Simplified Interface” to “Advanced Interface” as shown below.
    Switching the processing toolbox from "Simplified Interface" to "Advanced Interface"
  9. Open the “Options and configuration” sub menu of “Processing” as shown below.
    Opening the "Options and configuration" sub menu of "Processing"
  10. Check the “Activate” button for “Providers->Tools for LiDAR data” and fill in the path to your local LAStools folder as shown below. Type or copy & paste the path to LAStools (as the browse popup is broken). Press <strong>ENTER</strong> after entering the path so the field is greyed out again <em>before</em> clicking <strong>OK</strong>.
    Checking the "Activate" button for "Providers->Tools for LiDAR data" and filling in the path to the local LAStools folder.
  11. Now you should see the “Tools for LiDAR data” in the toolbox and all the LAStools as shown below.
    Seeing the "Tools for LiDAR data" in the toolbox and all the LAStools
  12. Start lasground via double click and fill in the settings as shown below.
    Starting lasground via double click and filling in the settings
  13. Look at the file you just created by running lasview from the toolbox. Yay!
  14. Create this with two quick calls to las2dem and las2iso … sooo easy.
    Result after running las2dem and las2iso on fusa.laz sample

Kudos to Victor Olaya for creating this whole framework and providing me with example scripts for a simple LAStools toolbox that I just had to modify … (-:

108 thoughts on “how to install LAStools toolbox in QGIS

    • I think I figured it out after reading the post that you linked to earlier today. I had Grass folders and R folder with incorrect paths. The tools are now showing up in the toolbox!

    • The previous comments (like those from the stackexchange discussion linked earlier) should help you to solve all issues. I am not aware of any new problem particular to QGIS 2.18.3.

  1. Hi, I’ve done everything the way you did, but I have not resolved the problem with this mistake, but I’m glad you helped. The point cloud data was produced in Agisoft.

    ‘ascii’ codec can’t encode character u’\u0131′ in position 46: ordinal not in range(128) See log for more details

  2. Hi
    i have Qgis 2.18.0 and when i try to active lidar on processing options this error apears:

    Wrong value for parameter “Pasta Msys”:

    Specified path does not exist:

    Thks guys

    p.s. I have portuguese windows.

    • I agree with you partner, I have version 2.18.9 and I have the same problem and followed the steps indicated.

    • Vitao,
      This may be a little late for you, but I hit the same error message just now. I decided to try adding the msys directory to the apps directory and then including “C:\Program Files\QGIS 2.18\apps” to the system path environmental variable. It seems to have worked. Though there’s nothing in the msys directory now, I get output (although coarse) from the lasview routine that looks roughly like the intended area.

  3. I don’t know if this has been addressed, or if I’m not doing something right, but I get the same error that Kelly posted about back in 2013 – spaces in the pathnames for the LAS Toolbox for QGIS 2.14 Essen. When I try and run the tools, such as las2iso, I get the error, “Algorithm las2iso starting…
    ‘C:\Program’ is not recognized as an internal or external command,
    operable program or batch file. “

    • Hello. Indeed. You should not install LAStools in a directory that contain a ” ” in the name. All folders and sub-folders in the LAStools PATH must be free of spaces and other funny characters. Simply move your LAStools distribution to “C:\LAStools” and update the value of the LAStools folder variable in QGIS.

      • Thank you, but I already tried that (copied the lastools to C:\LAStools\lastools), updated the values for both the lastools and fusion paths, but I get the error message back that it cannot find the new path:
        Algorithm las2iso starting…
        The system cannot find the path specified.

        I’m sure that this is where the error is occurring because the error changes when I put the LAStools in the Prgram Files folder.

        I noticed on one of your online videos that you mentioned to change the option on the bottom of the Processing Toolbox in QGIS to Advanced, but that option doesn’t appear on my GUI. IS there somewhere else to look? I’ll check out the info online…

      • If you copy your LAStools distribution to C:\LAStools\lastools then you need to set the QGIS folder to C:\LAStools\lastools. The folder that is specified must be such that once the QGIS LAStools toolsbox adds “.\bin\las2iso.exe” to this folder that is correctly points to the las2iso.exe executable. In your case already the path to the executable cannot be found. So I think your executable is in “C:\LAStools\lastools\bin\las2iso.exe” but your current settings looks for the tools in the incorrect folder, namely at “C:\LAStools\bin\las2iso.exe”.

  4. Hi,
    I’d like to use the LAStools into the latest version of qGIS, I mean qGIS 3.0. Any way to do so? I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance. Kind regards. Oscar F. Manso.

    • Hello Oscar,

      I have not yet tried to run LAStools with QGIS 3.0 and I suspect a lot of things may be different / broken due to all algorithm providers becoming plugins now. We will need completely new installation instructions for the 3.X version of QGIS. Any success story and / or instructions that you could share would be appreciated.


  5. Good Morning Sir,
    I had Installed the LAStools in QGIS 2.16.2 and it is successfully shown in the Processing Toolbox of the QGIS, But from the step 11 the lasground tool doesn’t create the output file in QGIS though I provided the output directory and the tools doesn’t run in QGIS and doesn’t show any error.
    Waiting for your positive replay

  6. Hi! I’m getting stuck at step 10. I have QGIS 2.4 running and for some reason the pathing to LAStools isn’t working. I’m saving it as C:\LAStools. Anyone have advice?

  7. Hoping there’s an updated LASTools for QGIS 3.x (currently @ 3.2). These would be greatly appreciated in the evolution to 3D!

  8. Hi!
    I’m trying to install LAStools on QGIS 3.4, I have followed the steps from step 6, but after entering the correct path to LAStools I gat an error:
    An error has occurred while executing Python code:

    RuntimeError: wrapped C/C++ object of type OfflineMapMatchingAlgorithm has been deleted
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “C:/…/AppData/Roaming/QGIS/QGIS3\profiles\default/python/plugins\Offline-MapMatching\mm_processing\”, line 60, in loadAlgorithms
    self.addAlgorithm( alg )
    RuntimeError: wrapped C/C++ object of type OfflineMapMatchingAlgorithm has been deleted

    How do I fix this?

  9. Pingback: LAStools as QGIS plugin – rapidlasso GmbH

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