How to create a virtual environment in Python

Python application will often use the packages and additional modules that don't come as a part of a standard library. Sometimes applications may require the specific version of the library to perform a specific task or fixed a bug.

The importance of creating virtual environment

Suppose we are developing two applications that require an older version of the library, and other applications require a new version of libraries in the same Python installation. Sometimes, it leads to a problem.

In the other words, one Python installation may not able to meet the requirements of every application. The requirement of the various applications may create conflict with each other. For example, - If application A requires version 1.0 and another application requires version 2.0, so they will create conflict, and the result is one application unable to run.

To resolve this conflicting requirement, Python offers to create the virtual environment. Application A has its environment with version 1.0. Application B has its environment with version 2.0, so if we want to upgrade application B with version 3.0, this will not affect application A's environment.

Creating a Virtual Environment

The module venv is used to create and manage a virtual environment. It is available with the most recent version of Python. We can decide the location to create a virtual environment and run the venv module as a script with the directory path. Type the following command in your command line and hit the enter button.

The above command will create the new-env directory; it also creates the directory inside the newly created virtual environment new-env, containing a new copy of a Python interpreter.

Note: We can write simply python instead of python3, because it is used only if we have installed various versions of Python.

All virtual environments are stored in the common directory location venv folder. Once we create the virtual environment, we have to activate it by typing the following command.

On Window, Press enter after typing

On UNIX or MacOs, run:

After activating the virtual environment, it will change the shell prompt's to tell what virtual environment we are using.

Managing Packages Using pip

We can install, upgrade, and delete the libraries in activated virtual environment using the Python package manager called pip. For example -

If we re-run the previous command, it will display the required version is already installed.

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How to create a virtual environment in Python