Command Reference

All of the commands below are to be used on the Terminal command line.

Managing Environments

mkvirtualenv

Create a new environment, in the WORKON_HOME.

Syntax:

mkvirtualenv [-a project_path] [-i package] [-r requirements_file] [virtualenv options] ENVNAME

All command line options except -a, -i, -r, and -h are passed directly to virtualenv. The new environment is automatically activated after being initialized.

$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv mynewenv
New python executable in mynewenv/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(mynewenv)$ workon
mynewenv
(mynewenv)$

The -a option can be used to associate an existing project directory with the new environment.

The -i option can be used to install one or more packages (by repeating the option) after the environment is created.

The -r option can be used to specify a text file listing packages to be installed. The argument value is passed to pip -r to be installed.

mktmpenv

Create a new virtualenv in the WORKON_HOME directory.

Syntax:

mktmpenv [VIRTUALENV_OPTIONS]

A unique virtualenv name is generated.

$ mktmpenv
Using real prefix '/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7'
New python executable in 1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20/bin/python
Overwriting 1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20/lib/python2.7/distutils/__init__.py
with new content
Installing distribute...............................................
....................................................................
.................................................................done.
This is a temporary environment. It will be deleted when deactivated.
(1e513ac6-616e-4d56-9aa5-9d0a3b305e20) $

lsvirtualenv

List all of the environments.

Syntax:

lsvirtualenv [-b] [-l] [-h]
-b Brief mode, disables verbose output.
-l Long mode, enables verbose output. Default.
-h Print the help for lsvirtualenv.

See also

showvirtualenv

Show the details for a single virtualenv.

Syntax:

showvirtualenv [env]

See also

rmvirtualenv

Remove an environment, in the WORKON_HOME.

Syntax:

rmvirtualenv ENVNAME

You must use deactivate before removing the current environment.

(mynewenv)$ deactivate
$ rmvirtualenv mynewenv
$ workon
$

cpvirtualenv

Duplicate an existing virtualenv environment. The source can be an environment managed by virtualenvwrapper or an external environment created elsewhere.

Warning

Copying virtual environments is not well supported. Each virtualenv has path information hard-coded into it, and there may be cases where the copy code does not know to update a particular file. Use with caution.

Syntax:

cpvirtualenv ENVNAME [TARGETENVNAME]

Note

Target environment name is required for WORKON_HOME duplications. However, target environment name can be ommited for importing external environments. If omitted, the new environment is given the same name as the original.

$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv source
New python executable in source/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(source)$ cpvirtualenv source dest
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/easy_install relative
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/easy_install-2.6 relative
Making script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/pip relative
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/postactivate cannot be made relative (it's not a normal script that starts with #!/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/python)
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/postdeactivate cannot be made relative (it's not a normal script that starts with #!/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/python)
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/preactivate cannot be made relative (it's not a normal script that starts with #!/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/python)
Script /Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/predeactivate cannot be made relative (it's not a normal script that starts with #!/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/dest/bin/python)
(dest)$ workon
dest
source
(dest)$

allvirtualenv

Run a command in all virtualenvs under WORKON_HOME.

Syntax:

allvirtualenv command with arguments

Each virtualenv is activated, bypassing activation hooks, the current working directory is changed to the current virtualenv, and then the command is run. Commands cannot modify the current shell state, but can modify the virtualenv.

$ allvirtualenv pip install -U pip

Controlling the Active Environment

workon

List or change working virtual environments

Syntax:

workon [environment_name]

If no environment_name is given the list of available environments is printed to stdout.

$ workon
$ mkvirtualenv env1
  New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ mkvirtualenv env2
New python executable in env2/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env2)$ workon
env1
env2
(env2)$ workon env1
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1
(env1)$ workon env2
(env2)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env2
(env2)$

deactivate

Switch from a virtual environment to the system-installed version of Python.

Syntax:

deactivate

Note

This command is actually part of virtualenv, but is wrapped to provide before and after hooks, just as workon does for activate.

$ workon
$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV

$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1
(env1)$ deactivate
$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV

$

Quickly Navigating to a virtualenv

There are two functions to provide shortcuts to navigate into the currently-active virtualenv.

cdvirtualenv

Change the current working directory to $VIRTUAL_ENV.

Syntax:

cdvirtualenv [subdir]

Calling cdvirtualenv changes the current working directory to the top of the virtualenv ($VIRTUAL_ENV). An optional argument is appended to the path, allowing navigation directly into a subdirectory.

$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1
(env1)$ cdvirtualenv
(env1)$ pwd
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1
(env1)$ cdvirtualenv bin
(env1)$ pwd
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1/bin

cdsitepackages

Change the current working directory to the site-packages for $VIRTUAL_ENV.

Syntax:

cdsitepackages [subdir]

Because the exact path to the site-packages directory in the virtualenv depends on the version of Python, cdsitepackages is provided as a shortcut for cdvirtualenv lib/python${pyvers}/site-packages. An optional argument is also allowed, to specify a directory hierarchy within the site-packages directory to change into.

$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1
(env1)$ cdsitepackages PyMOTW/bisect/
(env1)$ pwd
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/virtualenvwrapper/tmp/env1/lib/python2.6/site-packages/PyMOTW/bisect

lssitepackages

Calling lssitepackages shows the content of the site-packages directory of the currently-active virtualenv.

Syntax:

lssitepackages
$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ $ workon env1
(env1)$ lssitepackages
distribute-0.6.10-py2.6.egg     pip-0.6.3-py2.6.egg
easy-install.pth                setuptools.pth

Path Management

add2virtualenv

Adds the specified directories to the Python path for the currently-active virtualenv.

Syntax:

add2virtualenv directory1 directory2 ...

Sometimes it is desirable to share installed packages that are not in the system site-packages directory and which should not be installed in each virtualenv. One possible solution is to symlink the source into the environment site-packages directory, but it is also easy to add extra directories to the PYTHONPATH by including them in a .pth file inside site-packages using add2virtualenv.

  1. Check out the source for a big project, such as Django.
  2. Run: add2virtualenv path_to_source.
  3. Run: add2virtualenv.
  4. A usage message and list of current “extra” paths is printed.

The directory names are added to a path file named _virtualenv_path_extensions.pth inside the site-packages directory for the environment.

Based on a contribution from James Bennett and Jannis Leidel.

toggleglobalsitepackages

Controls whether the active virtualenv will access the packages in the global Python site-packages directory.

Syntax:

toggleglobalsitepackages [-q]

Outputs the new state of the virtualenv. Use the -q switch to turn off all output.

$ mkvirtualenv env1
New python executable in env1/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages
Disabled global site-packages
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages
Enabled global site-packages
(env1)$ toggleglobalsitepackages -q
(env1)$

Project Directory Management

mkproject

Create a new virtualenv in the WORKON_HOME and project directory in PROJECT_HOME.

Syntax:

mkproject [-f|--force] [-t template] [virtualenv_options] ENVNAME
-f, --force Create the virtualenv even if the project directory already exists

The template option may be repeated to have several templates used to create a new project. The templates are applied in the order named on the command line. All other options are passed to mkvirtualenv to create a virtual environment with the same name as the project.

$ mkproject myproj
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj)$ pwd
/Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj)$ echo $VIRTUAL_ENV
/Users/dhellmann/Envs/myproj
(myproj)$

setvirtualenvproject

Bind an existing virtualenv to an existing project.

Syntax:

setvirtualenvproject [virtualenv_path project_path]

The arguments to setvirtualenvproject are the full paths to the virtualenv and project directory. An association is made so that when workon activates the virtualenv the project is also activated.

$ mkproject myproj
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj)$ mkvirtualenv myproj_new_libs
New python executable in myproj/bin/python
Installing distribute.............................................
..................................................................
..................................................................
done.
Creating /Users/dhellmann/Devel/myproj
(myproj_new_libs)$ setvirtualenvproject $VIRTUAL_ENV $(pwd)

When no arguments are given, the current virtualenv and current directory are assumed.

Any number of virtualenvs can refer to the same project directory, making it easy to switch between versions of Python or other dependencies for testing.

cdproject

Change the current working directory to the one specified as the project directory for the active virtualenv.

Syntax:

cdproject

Managing Installed Packages

wipeenv

Remove all of the installed third-party packages in the current virtualenv.

Syntax:

wipeenv

Other Commands

virtualenvwrapper

Print a list of commands and their descriptions as basic help output.

Syntax:

virtualenvwrapper