Azure Cognitive Services Computer Vision SDK for Python

The Computer Vision service provides developers with access to advanced algorithms for processing images and returning information. Computer Vision algorithms analyze the content of an image in different ways, depending on the visual features you're interested in.

For more information about this service, see What is Computer Vision?.

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If you don't have an Azure Subscription

Create a free key valid for 7 days with the Try It experience for the Computer Vision service. When the key is created, copy the key and endpoint name. You will need this to create the client.

Keep the following after the key is created:

  • Key value: a 32 character string with the format of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Key endpoint: the base endpoint URL,

If you have an Azure Subscription

The easiest method to create a resource in your subscription is to use the following Azure CLI command. This creates a Cognitive Service key that can be used across many cognitive services. You need to choose the existing resource group name, for example, "my-cogserv-group" and the new computer vision resource name, such as "my-computer-vision-resource".


az cognitiveservices account create \
    --resource-group $RES_GROUP \
    --name $ACCT_NAME \
    --location $RES_REGION \
    --kind CognitiveServices \
    --sku S0 \

Install the SDK

Install the Azure Cognitive Services Computer Vision SDK for Python package with pip:

pip install azure-cognitiveservices-vision-computervision


Once you create your Computer Vision resource, you need its endpoint, and one of its account keys to instantiate the client object.

Use these values when you create the instance of the ComputerVisionClient client object.

For example, use the Bash terminal to set the environment variables:


For Azure subscription users, get credentials for key and endpoint

If you do not remember your endpoint and key, you can use the following method to find them. If you need to create a key and endpoint, you can use the method for Azure subscription holders or for users without an Azure subscription.

Use the Azure CLI snippet below to populate two environment variables with the Computer Vision account endpoint and one of its keys (you can also find these values in the Azure portal). The snippet is formatted for the Bash shell.


export ACCOUNT_ENDPOINT=$(az cognitiveservices account show \
    --resource-group $RES_GROUP \
    --name $ACCT_NAME \
    --query endpoint \
    --output tsv)

export ACCOUNT_KEY=$(az cognitiveservices account keys list \
    --resource-group $RES_GROUP \
    --name $ACCT_NAME \
    --query key1 \
    --output tsv)

Create client

Get the endpoint and key from environment variables then create the ComputerVisionClient client object.

from import ComputerVisionClient
from import VisualFeatureTypes
from msrest.authentication import CognitiveServicesCredentials

# Get endpoint and key from environment variables
import os
endpoint = os.environ['ACCOUNT_ENDPOINT']
key = os.environ['ACCOUNT_KEY']

# Set credentials
credentials = CognitiveServicesCredentials(key)

# Create client
client = ComputerVisionClient(endpoint, credentials)


You need a ComputerVisionClient client object before using any of the following tasks.

Analyze an image

You can analyze an image for certain features with analyze_image. Use the visual_features property to set the types of analysis to perform on the image. Common values are VisualFeatureTypes.tags and VisualFeatureTypes.description.

url = ""

image_analysis = client.analyze_image(url,visual_features=[VisualFeatureTypes.tags])

for tag in image_analysis.tags:

Get subject domain list

Review the subject domains used to analyze your image with list_models. These domain names are used when analyzing an image by domain. An example of a domain is landmarks.

models = client.list_models()

for x in models.models_property:

Analyze an image by domain

You can analyze an image by subject domain with analyze_image_by_domain. Get the list of supported subject domains in order to use the correct domain name.

# type of prediction
domain = "landmarks"

# Public domain image of Eiffel tower
url = ""

# English language response
language = "en"

analysis = client.analyze_image_by_domain(domain, url, language)

for landmark in analysis.result["landmarks"]:

Get text description of an image

You can get a language-based text description of an image with describe_image. Request several descriptions with the max_description property if you are doing text analysis for keywords associated with the image. Examples of a text description for the following image include a train crossing a bridge over a body of water, a large bridge over a body of water, and a train crossing a bridge over a large body of water.

domain = "landmarks"
url = ""
language = "en"
max_descriptions = 3

analysis = client.describe_image(url, max_descriptions, language)

for caption in analysis.captions:

Get text from image

You can get any handwritten or printed text from an image. This requires two calls to the SDK: batch_read_file and get_read_operation_result. The call to batch_read_file is asynchronous. In the results of the get_read_operation_result call, you need to check if the first call completed with TextOperationStatusCodes before extracting the text data. The results include the text as well as the bounding box coordinates for the text.

# import models
from import TextOperationStatusCodes
import time

url = ""
raw = True
custom_headers = None
numberOfCharsInOperationId = 36

# Async SDK call
rawHttpResponse = client.batch_read_file(url, custom_headers,  raw)

# Get ID from returned headers
operationLocation = rawHttpResponse.headers["Operation-Location"]
idLocation = len(operationLocation) - numberOfCharsInOperationId
operationId = operationLocation[idLocation:]

# SDK call
while True:
    result = client.get_read_operation_result(operationId)
    if result.status not in ['NotStarted', 'Running']:

# Get data
if result.status == TextOperationStatusCodes.succeeded:
    for textResult in result.recognition_results:
        for line in textResult.lines:

Generate thumbnail

You can generate a thumbnail (JPG) of an image with generate_thumbnail. The thumbnail does not need to be in the same proportions as the original image.

Install Pillow to use this example:

pip install Pillow

Once Pillow is installed, use the package in the following code example to generate the thumbnail image.

# Pillow package
from PIL import Image

# IO package to create local image
import io

width = 50
height = 50
url = ""

thumbnail = client.generate_thumbnail(width, height, url)

for x in thumbnail:
    image ='thumbnail.jpg')



When you interact with the ComputerVisionClient client object using the Python SDK, the ComputerVisionErrorException class is used to return errors. Errors returned by the service correspond to the same HTTP status codes returned for REST API requests.

For example, if you try to analyze an image with an invalid key, a 401 error is returned. In the following snippet, the error is handled gracefully by catching the exception and displaying additional information about the error.

domain = "landmarks"
url = ""
language = "en"
max_descriptions = 3

    analysis = client.describe_image(url, max_descriptions, language)

    for caption in analysis.captions:
except HTTPFailure as e:
    if e.status_code == 401:
        print("Error unauthorized. Make sure your key and endpoint are correct.")

Handle transient errors with retries

While working with the ComputerVisionClient client, you might encounter transient failures caused by rate limits enforced by the service, or other transient problems like network outages. For information about handling these types of failures, see Retry pattern in the Cloud Design Patterns guide, and the related Circuit Breaker pattern.

Next steps