Python – Working With Virtual Environments

When you work with python for web development, data analysis or other solution , you need to install packages from pip and sometimes we have conflicts: Web framework X needs one package  version 1.2 and Web framework Y needs the same package but version 1.4. 

One Great solution for that problem is virtual environment – a complete environment with everything you need in one folder tree. You can simply copy it from one computer to another or delete the folder and everything is uninstalled.


Creating a Virtual Environment

Make sure you have python installed (and pip)

Installing virtual environment:

Creating a new environment :

So if for example, python3 interpreter is located in /usr/bin and we want to create a directory myenv for our virtual environment :

cd into the created directory and you will notice that everything is inside : the interpreter, other tools , needed libraries and header files


In python 3 you can create a virtual environment using the command:


Activating the environment:

To activate the environment run the activate script in the current shell:

On windows you need to run activate.bat script in the Scripts directory

You will see the virtual env name in your prompt:

Note that the PATH variable is changed to include the environment bin directory first


Installing packages in the virtual environment:

You can install any package or tool in your virtual environment using pip. 

Installing Jupyter and ipython:

You can find the tools in the bin (scripts in windows) directory


Installing some packages

You can find the packages in lib/python/site-packages directory


Now you can start jupyter notebook and play with numpy and tensorflow


Saving the virtual environment:

If you find create many virtual environments with the same packages (different web applications for example) you can save the requirements and install it again easily :

Use the file requirements.txt in another environment using a simple command:


Leaving the virtual environment

To leave the environment:

The bin directory is removed from the PATH variable


Delete the virtual environment

Simply delete the directory










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