Where is the Default Python Path?

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Hello Viabyte! If you’re new to Python, you may be wondering where the default Python path is located. The default Python path is the location where Python searches for modules and packages when you import them into your code. In this article, we’ll explore where the default Python path is located and how you can modify it if needed.

Default Python Path on Windows

On Windows, the default Python path is determined by the location where you installed Python. For example, if you installed Python in the default location, the path would be:

C:\Python39

This is the location where Python searches for modules and packages by default. However, you can modify this path by adding directories to the PYTHONPATH environment variable.

Default Python Path on macOS and Linux

On macOS and Linux, the default Python path is slightly different. Python looks for modules and packages in several locations, including:

  • /usr/local/lib/pythonX.Y/site-packages
  • /usr/lib/pythonX.Y/site-packages
  • ~/.local/lib/pythonX.Y/site-packages

X.Y represents the version of Python you are using (e.g. 3.9). You can also modify the default Python path by adding directories to the PYTHONPATH environment variable.

Modifying the Python Path

If you need to modify the default Python path, you can do so by adding directories to the PYTHONPATH environment variable. This variable is a list of directories that Python searches for modules and packages.

To add a directory to the PYTHONPATH variable, you can use the following command in the terminal:

export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/path/to/directory

Replace /path/to/directory with the path to the directory you want to add to the Python path. You can also add multiple directories by separating them with a colon (:).

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Example Code

Here’s an example of how you can modify the default Python path in your code:

import sys
sys.path.append('/path/to/directory')

This code adds the directory /path/to/directory to the Python path, allowing you to import modules and packages from that directory.

Adding Directories to PYTHONPATH Permanently

Adding directories to the PYTHONPATH variable using the export command is only temporary. If you close the terminal or restart your computer, the changes will be lost. To add directories to PYTHONPATH permanently, you need to modify the environment variables on your operating system.

Modifying Environment Variables on Windows

To modify environment variables on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Start menu and search for “Environment Variables”
  2. Click “Edit the system environment variables”
  3. Click the “Environment Variables” button
  4. Under “System Variables”, find the “PYTHONPATH” variable and click “Edit”
  5. Add the path to the directory you want to add to the Python path
  6. Click “OK” to save the changes

Modifying Environment Variables on macOS and Linux

To modify environment variables on macOS and Linux, follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal window
  2. Type the following command to open the environment variables file:

sudo nano /etc/environment

  1. Add the path to the directory you want to add to the Python path:

PYTHONPATH=”$PYTHONPATH:/path/to/directory”

  1. Save the changes and exit nano by pressing Control + X, then Y, then Enter
  2. Restart your terminal or computer for the changes to take effect

Checking the Python Path

You can check the current Python path by running the following code in a Python shell:

import sys
print(sys.path)

This code will print a list of directories that Python is searching for modules and packages. If you’ve added directories to the PYTHONPATH variable, they should appear in this list.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the default Python path is the location where Python searches for modules and packages when you import them into your code. The default Python path varies depending on your operating system, but you can modify it by adding directories to the PYTHONPATH environment variable. Modifying the Python path can be useful if you need to import modules and packages from custom locations.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, goodbye!

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