Import a module from a relative path


How do I import a Python module given its relative path?

For example, if dirFoo contains and dirBar, and dirBar contains, how do I import into

Here's a visual representation:


Foo wishes to include Bar, but restructuring the folder hierarchy is not an option.

8/28/2017 1:52:42 PM

Accepted Answer

Assuming that both your directories are real Python packages (do have the file inside them), here is a safe solution for inclusion of modules relatively to the location of the script.

I assume that you want to do this, because you need to include a set of modules with your script. I use this in production in several products and works in many special scenarios like: scripts called from another directory or executed with python execute instead of opening a new interpreter.

 import os, sys, inspect
 # realpath() will make your script run, even if you symlink it :)
 cmd_folder = os.path.realpath(os.path.abspath(os.path.split(inspect.getfile( inspect.currentframe() ))[0]))
 if cmd_folder not in sys.path:
     sys.path.insert(0, cmd_folder)

 # Use this if you want to include modules from a subfolder
 cmd_subfolder = os.path.realpath(os.path.abspath(os.path.join(os.path.split(inspect.getfile( inspect.currentframe() ))[0],"subfolder")))
 if cmd_subfolder not in sys.path:
     sys.path.insert(0, cmd_subfolder)

 # Info:
 # cmd_folder = os.path.dirname(os.path.abspath(__file__)) # DO NOT USE __file__ !!!
 # __file__ fails if the script is called in different ways on Windows.
 # __file__ fails if someone does os.chdir() before.
 # sys.argv[0] also fails, because it doesn't not always contains the path.

As a bonus, this approach does let you force Python to use your module instead of the ones installed on the system.

Warning! I don't really know what is happening when current module is inside an egg file. It probably fails too.

8/28/2017 1:55:41 PM

Be sure that dirBar has the file -- this makes a directory into a Python package.


You could also add the subdirectory to your Python path so that it imports as a normal script.

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, <path to dirFoo>)
import Bar

import os
import sys
lib_path = os.path.abspath(os.path.join(__file__, '..', '..', '..', 'lib'))

import mymodule

Just do simple things to import the .py file from a different folder.

Let's say you have a directory like:


Then just keep an empty file in lib folder as named

And then use

from import <Your Module name>

Keep the file in every folder of the hierarchy of the import module.


If you structure your project this way:


Then from you should be able to do:

import dirFoo.Foo


from dirFoo.Foo import FooObject

Per Tom's comment, this does require that the src folder is accessible either via site_packages or your search path. Also, as he mentions, is implicitly imported when you first import a module in that package/directory. Typically is simply an empty file.