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Python Import ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'xxx'

sys.path by default does not need to includes current running position, which can be quite confusing and often leads to ModuleNotFoundError.

Let’s assume the structure of our project looks like the following:


Suppose you want to import both y.py and z.py into x.py. There are two practices depending on whether you want to use explicit relative import or not.

  1. Import types
  2. Absolute import only
  3. Relative import

Import types

# x.py

# absolute import
import dir_a.y

# EXPLICIT relative import of `y.py` from `x.py`
import .y

# IMPLICIT relative import of `y.py` from `x.py`
import y

Note that implicit relative import is removed in python3.

Absolute import only

My favorite practice is: refrain from relative import completely. It is also the default behavior of the auto-import function of Pycharm.

# x.py

# We spent three lines adding project root directory to environment variable `$PATH`,
# so that running `python x.py` under `dir_a` directory will be fine. 
# If you are fine using `-m` switch all the time,
# then adding to path is not necessary.
import sys
from pathlib import Path
# Of course, you can use `os` instead of `pathlib`, but `pathlib` is good ;)
sys.path.append(str(Path(__file__).resolve().parent.parent))  # add project root to path

import dir_a.y  # absolute import
import dir_b.z  # absolute import 

In this way, y.py and z.py will always be found when running either python dir_a/x.py or python -m dir_a.x under the project root directory, or python x.py under dir_a directory.

In addition, if you attempt to use relative import by changing the last line to import ..dir_b.z and run from dir_a, a ValueError: attempted relative import beyond top-level package will be thrown.

Relative import

Besides, you don’t have to add dir_a to your path, as long as you are willing to import y.py by

import y  # absolute import

sys.path.append(str(Path(file).resolve().parent)) # add dir_a to path

import y # absolute import

The downside does not work when executed directly

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