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How To Add a Python Module to Syspath on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 3

In the world of Python programming, one of the common requirements is to add a Python module to the syspath. This article aims to provide a detailed guide on how to achieve this on an Ubuntu system.

Quick Answer

To add a Python module to syspath on Ubuntu, you can either modify sys.path in your script using sys.path.append() or add the directory containing your module to the $PYTHONPATH environment variable. Both methods allow you to make your module easily accessible across different Python scripts and projects.

Understanding Python Syspath

Before we delve into the process, it’s important to understand what syspath is. sys.path is a list in Python that contains all the directories where Python looks for modules. This list is initialized from the environment variable $PYTHONPATH and other installation-dependent default paths.


To follow this guide, you will need:

  • A system running Ubuntu.
  • Python installed on your system. You can verify the installation by running python --version in your terminal.
  • Basic knowledge of Python programming.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Create a Python Module

Firstly, let’s create a Python module that we want to add to the syspath. Navigate to your desired directory and create a new Python file (for example, You can use the touch command to create a new file:


In this file, define a simple function:

def hello():
 print("Hello, World!")

Step 2: Add File

In Python, a directory must contain a file named for it to be considered a package (a package is a way of organizing related modules). This file can be empty. Create this file in the same directory as your module:


Step 3: Add the Module to Syspath

Now, let’s add our module to the syspath. In your main Python script, you can use the sys module’s path.append() function to add the directory containing your module to the syspath. Here’s how:

import sys
import os

# Get the absolute path of the directory containing your module
module_dir = os.path.abspath('/path/to/your/module')

# Add this directory to sys.path

# Now you can import your module
import mymodule

# And use its functions

In this script, os.path.abspath() is used to get the absolute path of the directory containing your module. This path is then added to sys.path using sys.path.append().

Step 4: Add the Module to $PYTHONPATH

As an alternative to modifying sys.path in your script, you can add the directory containing your module to the $PYTHONPATH environment variable. This will make the module accessible to all your Python scripts, without needing to modify sys.path in each script.

To do this, add the following line to your ~/.profile file:

export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/path/to/your/module

Then, source your ~/.profile file to apply the changes:

source ~/.profile

Now, you should be able to import your module in any Python script without modifying sys.path.


In this article, we have discussed how to add a Python module to syspath on Ubuntu. This process involves creating a Python module, adding an file to the module’s directory, and then adding this directory to sys.path or $PYTHONPATH. By following these steps, you can make your Python modules easily accessible across different scripts and projects.

Remember, Python is a powerful and flexible language, and understanding how to manage modules and syspath is a crucial part of mastering it. Happy coding!

What is the purpose of adding a Python module to syspath?

Adding a Python module to syspath allows you to import and use the module in your Python scripts without having to specify the full path to the module every time. It makes the module easily accessible and saves you from repetitive code.

How do I check the current syspath in Python?

You can check the current syspath in Python by importing the sys module and printing the sys.path list. Here’s an example:

import sys
Can I add multiple directories to syspath?

Yes, you can add multiple directories to syspath. You can use the sys.path.append() method multiple times, each time specifying a different directory you want to add.

Do I need to restart my Python interpreter after modifying syspath?

No, you don’t need to restart your Python interpreter after modifying syspath. The changes you make to syspath will take effect immediately in the current session.

What is the difference between modifying syspath and adding to PYTHONPATH?

Modifying syspath adds the specified directory to the syspath for the current Python session only. On the other hand, adding to PYTHONPATH modifies the environment variable globally, making the directory accessible to all Python scripts and sessions.

How can I remove a directory from syspath?

To remove a directory from syspath, you can use the sys.path.remove() method. Here’s an example:

import sys

Please note that this will only remove the directory from syspath for the current session. If you want to permanently remove a directory from syspath, you will need to remove it from the PYTHONPATH environment variable.

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