Arul's Blog

Python: Install Virtualenv and Virtualenvwrapper

Sun 13 September 2020 By Arulmurugan Rajaraman comments

This article is for absolute begginers in using Virualenv and Virtualenvwrapper. If you know how to use them already, you will feel bored. When I started to use Python, I always wondered how I can use different versions of a package in my system. Later I came to know about Virtualenv which can be used for creating multiple development environments in python.

Versions Used

To learn how to install and use Pip and Pipenv read this guide.


Virtualenv is the package with which you can create mutilple isolate python development environments. Every every will have their own site-packages and environment variables.

Install virtualenv

Install Virtualenv using the command

sudo pip3 install virtualenv

Create virtual environment

Create virtualenv using the command

virtualenv venv_name

Activate virtual environment

You can activate the virtualenv using the command

source venv_name/bin/activate

If you see (venv_name) at the beginning of your bash prompt, it denotes the active virtual environment.

After activating a virtual environment, all the python packages you install will be installed in the virtual environment instead of your system's global python installation. You can create multiple virtual environments and install multiple versions of the same package in each virtual environment.

But we are not done yet. There are some limitations and rules in using this. You have to be in the virtual environment directory to create and activate virtual environments.


Installing virtualenvwrapper will get you past the limitations mentioned above in using virtualenv. As the implies, it is a set of extensions for using virtualenv.

Install virtualenvwrapper

Install virtualenvwrapper using the command

sudo pip3 install virtualenvwrapper

Edit bash config

Open your bash config file and add the following lines in the file

export WORKON_HOME=~/venvs/
source /usr/local/bin/

Here WORKON_HOME is the location where all the virtualenvs you create with virtualenvwrapper will be stored. You can change it to a folder of your choice. Then run the following command to activate the changes made in bash config file.

source ~/.bashrc #In case of Ubuntu
source ~/.bash_profile #In case of OS X

Create virtual environment

You can create virtual environment using the command

mkvirtualenv venv_name

You don't need to worry about the directory from which you run this command. All the virtualenvs will be created in the directory you defined in WORKON_HOME in the previous step.

Activate virtual environment

You can activate virtual environment using the command

workon venv_name

Remove virtual environment

You can remova an existing virtual environment using the command

rmvirtualenv venv_name

Virtualenvwrapper makes it easy for us to create and manage virtual environments in Python.

You can see a demo of all these commands in the YouTube video given above. Feel free to post your comments.

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