How to leave/exit/deactivate a Python virtualenv


I'm using virtualenv and the virtualenvwrapper. I can switch between virtualenv's just fine using the workon command.

[email protected]:~$ workon env1
(env1)[email protected]:~$ workon env2
(env2)[email protected]:~$ workon env1
(env1)[email protected]:~$ 

How do I exit all virtual machines and work on my real machine again? Right now, the only way I have of getting back to [email protected]:~$ is to exit the shell and start a new one. That's kind of annoying. Is there a command to work on "nothing", and if so, what is it? If such a command does not exist, how would I go about creating it?

1/30/2020 5:20:31 AM

Accepted Answer

Usually, activating a virtualenv gives you a shell function named:

$ deactivate

which puts things back to normal.

I have just looked specifically again at the code for virtualenvwrapper, and, yes, it too supports deactivate as the way to escape from all virtualenvs.

If you are trying to leave an Anaconda environment, the command depends upon your version of conda. Recent versions (like 4.6) install a conda function directly in your shell, in which case you run:

conda deactivate

Older conda versions instead implement deactivation using a stand-alone script:

source deactivate
11/26/2019 4:19:27 PM


$ deactivate 

If this doesn't work, try

$ source deactivate

Anyone who knows how Bash source works will think that's odd, but some wrappers/workflows around virtualenv implement it as a complement/counterpart to source activate. Your mileage may vary.


I defined an alias, workoff, as the opposite of workon:

alias workoff='deactivate'

It is easy to remember:

[[email protected] ~]$ workon django_project
(django_project)[[email protected] ~]$ workoff
[[email protected] ~]$

To activate a Python virtual environment:

$cd ~/python-venv/

To deactivate:


I found that when within a Miniconda3 environment I had to run:

conda deactivate

Neither deactivate nor source deactivate worked for me.


You can use virtualenvwrapper in order to ease the way you work with virtualenv.

Installing virtualenvwrapper:

pip install virtualenvwrapper

If you are using a standard shell, open your ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc if you use Oh My Zsh. Add these two lines:

export WORKON_HOME=$HOME/.virtualenvs
source /usr/local/bin/

To activate an existing virtualenv, use command workon:

$ workon myenv

In order to deactivate your virtualenv:

(myenv)$ deactivate

Here is my tutorial, step by step on how to install virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper.