Using Pip to install packages to Anaconda Environment


conda 4.2.13 MacOSX 10.12.1

I am trying to install packages from pip to a fresh environment (virtual) created using anaconda. In the Anaconda docs it says this is perfectly fine. It is done the same way as for virtualenv.

Activate the environment where you want to put the program, then pip install a program...

I created an empty environment in Ananconda like this:

conda create -n shrink_venv

Activate it:

source activate shrink_venv

I then can see in the terminal that I am working in my env (shrink_venv). Problem is coming up, when I try to install a package using pip:

(shrink_venv): pip install Pillow

Requirement already satisfied (use --upgrade to upgrade): Pillow in /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages

So I can see it thinks the requirement is satisfied from the system-wide package. So it seems the environment is not working correctly, definitely not like it said in the docs. Am I doing something wrong here?

Just a note, I know you can use conda install for the packages, but I have had an issue with Pillow from anaconda, so I wanted to get it from pip, and since the docs say that is fine.

Output of which -a pip:


** UPDATE ** I see this is pretty common issue. What I have found is that the conda env doesn't play well with the PYTHONPATH. The system seems to always look in the PYTHONPATH locations even when you're using a conda environment. Now, I always run unset PYTHONPATH when using a conda environment, and it works much better. I'm on a mac.

10/24/2018 2:02:24 PM

Accepted Answer

For others who run into this situation, I found this to be the most straightforward solution:

  1. Run conda create -n venv_name and source activate venv_name, where venv_name is the name of your virtual environment.

  2. Run conda install pip. This will install pip to your venv directory.

  3. Find your anaconda directory, and find the actual venv folder. It should be somewhere like /anaconda/envs/venv_name/.

  4. Install new packages by doing /anaconda/envs/venv_name/bin/pip install package_name.

This should now successfully install packages using that virtual environment's pip!

5/2/2017 3:56:01 AM

All you have to do is open Anaconda Prompt and type

pip install package-name

It will automatically install to the anaconda environment without having to use

conda install package-name

Since some of the conda packages may lack support overtime it is required to install using pip and this is one way to do it

If you have pip installed in anaconda you can run the following in jupyter notebook or in your python shell that is linked to anaconda

pip.main(['install', 'package-name'])

Check your version of pip with pip.__version__. If it is version 10.x.x or above, then install your python package with this line of code

subprocess.check_call([sys.executable, '-m', 'pip', 'install', '--upgrade', 'package-name'])

In your jupyter notebook, you can install python packages through pip in a cell this way;

!pip install package-name

or you could use your python version associated with anaconda

!python3.6 -m pip install package-name

I solved this problem the following way:

If you have a non-conda pip as your default pip but conda python is your default python (as below)

>which -a pip

>which -a python

Then instead of just calling pip install <package>, you can use the module flag -m with python so that it uses the anaconda python for the installation

python -m pip install <package>

This installs the package to the anaconda library directory rather than to the library directory associated with (the non-anaconda) pip


If you didn't add pip when creating conda environment

conda create -n env_name pip

and also didn't install pip inside the environment

source activate env_name
conda install pip

then the only pip you got is the system pip, which will install packages globally.

Bus as you can see in this issue, even if you did either of the procedure mentioned above, the behavior of pip inside conda environment is still kind of undefined.

To ensure using the pip installed inside conda environment without having to type the lengthy /home/username/anaconda/envs/env_name/bin/pip, I wrote a shell function:

# Using pip to install packages inside conda environments.
cpip() {
    ERROR_MSG="Not in a conda environment."
    ERROR_MSG="$ERROR_MSG\nUse \`source activate ENV\`"
    ERROR_MSG="$ERROR_MSG to enter a conda environment."

    [ -z "$CONDA_DEFAULT_ENV" ] && echo "$ERROR_MSG" && return 1

    ERROR_MSG='Pip not installed in current conda environment.'
    ERROR_MSG="$ERROR_MSG\nUse \`conda install pip\`"
    ERROR_MSG="$ERROR_MSG to install pip in current conda environment."

    [ -e "$CONDA_PREFIX/bin/pip" ] || (echo "$ERROR_MSG" && return 2)

    "$PIP" "[email protected]"

Hope this is helpful to you.


This is what worked for me (Refer to image linked)

  1. Open Anaconda
  2. Select Environments in the left hand pane below home
  3. Just to the right of where you selected and below the "search environments" bar, you should see base(root). Click on it
  4. A triangle pointing right should appear, click on it an select "open terminal"
  5. Use the regular pip install command here. There is no need to point to an environment/ path

For future reference, you can find the folder your packages are downloading to if you happen to have a requirement already satisfied. You can see it if you scroll up in the terminal. It should read something like: requirement already satisfied and then the path

[pip install anaconda]


if you're using windows OS open Anaconda Prompt and type activate yourenvname

And if you're using mac or Linux OS open Terminal and type source activate yourenvname

yourenvname here is your desired environment in which you want to install pip package

after typing above command you must see that your environment name is changed from base to your typed environment yourenvname in console output (which means you're now in your desired environment context)

Then all you need to do is normal pip install command e.g pip install yourpackage

By doing so, the pip package will be installed in your Conda environment