virtualenv(1) create virtual Python instances


virtualenv [options...] [destination-directory]


virtualenv creates virtual Python executables, each of which can have its own set of installed modules. Programs that require different versions of modules or sets of modules that may be incompatible with others to be installed on the same system without conflicts.

The result is a directory containing its own Python executables (in DIR/bin/pythonVER and DIR/bin/python) and its own module directory containing the standard library as installed by the system. Additional modules may be installed via setuptools, as invoked from the binary directory (DIR/bin/easy_install). The system´s site-packages directories will not be available by default, but can be made visible with the --system-site-packages option. They can then be overridden with locally-installed modules.

In addition, a shell script called "activate" will be installed in the bin directory. If sourced, this will cause normal invocations of the Python executable to use the virtual environment.

By running the virtualenv command explicitly under the desired Python interpreter, the user can control which version of Python is created in the virtual environment.


-h, --help

Show summary of options.


Show the version of the program.

-v, --verbose

Be more verbose.

-q, --quiet

Be less verbose; suppress unimportant output.


Clear out a previously-created virtual Python instance in this location before creating a new one.


The Python interpreter to use to create the new environment.


Ignored (the default). Don´t give access to the global site-packages modules to the virtual environment.


Give access to the global site-packages modules to the virtual environment.


Always copy files rather than symlinking.


Unzip Setuptools when installing it. This fixes up scripts and makes all .pth files relative.


Make an EXISTING virtualenv environment relocatable.


Do not install setuptools (or pip) in the new virtualenv.


Do not install pip in the new virtualenv.


Directory to search for setuptools/distribute/pip distributions in. Can be specified multiple times.


Provides an alternative prompt prefix for this environment.


This manual page was originally written by Jeff Licquia <[email protected]>, later rewritten by Carl Chenet <[email protected]>.


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL.


Copyright © 2007 Jeff Licquia