1. Michael Hipp
  2. virtualenvwrapper


virtualenvwrapper / docsource / tips.rst

Tips and Tricks

This is a list of user-contributed tips for making virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper even more useful. If you have tip to share, drop me an email or post a comment on this blog post and I'll add it here.

zsh Prompt

From Nat:

Using zsh, I added some bits to $WORKON_HOME/post(de)activate to show the active virtualenv on the right side of my screen instead.

in postactivate:

RPROMPT="%{${fg_bold[white]}%}(env: %{${fg[green]}%}`basename \"$VIRTUAL_ENV\"`%{${fg_bold[white]}%})%{${reset_color}%} $RPROMPT"

and in postdeactivate:


Adjust colors according to your own personal tastes or environment.

Updating cached $PATH entries

From Nat:

I also added the command 'rehash' to $WORKON_HOME/postactivate and $WORKON_HOME/postdeactivate as I was having some problems with zsh not picking up the new paths immediately.

Tying to pip's virtualenv support

Via http://becomingguru.com/:

Add this to your shell login script to make pip use the same directory for virtualenvs as virtualenvwrapper:


and Via Nat:

in addition to what becomingguru said, this line is key:


That makes pip detect an active virtualenv and install to it, without having to pass it the -E parameter.

Creating Project Work Directories

Via James:

In the postmkvirtualenv script I have the following to create a directory based on the project name, add that directory to the python path and then cd into it:

proj_name=$(echo $VIRTUAL_ENV|awk -F'/' '{print $NF}')
mkdir $HOME/projects/$proj_name
add2virtualenv $HOME/projects/$proj_name
cd $HOME/projects/$proj_name

In the postactivate script I have it set to automatically change to the project directory when I use the workon command:

proj_name=$(echo $VIRTUAL_ENV|awk -F'/' '{print $NF}')
cd ~/projects/$proj_name

Automatically Run workon When Entering a Directory

Justin Lily posted about about some code he added to his shell environment to look at the directory each time he runs cd. If it finds a .venv file, it activates the environment named within. On leaving that directory, the current virtualenv is automatically deactivated.

Harry Marr wrote a similar function that works with git repositories.

Installing Common Tools Automatically in New Environments

Via rizumu:

I have this postmkvirtualenv to install the get a basic setup.

$ cat postmkvirtualenv
#!/usr/bin/env bash
curl -O http://python-distribute.org/distribute_setup.p... />python distribute_setup.py
rm distribute_setup.py
easy_install pip==dev
pip install Mercurial

Then I have a pip requirement file with my dev tools.

$ cat developer_requirements.txt

Then each project has it's own pip requirement file for things like PIL, psycopg2, django-apps, numpy, etc.

Changing the Default Behavior of cd

Via mae:

This is supposed to be executed after workon, that is as a postactivate hook. It basically overrides cd to know about the VENV so instead of doing cd to go to ~ you will go to the venv root, IMO very handy and I can't live without it anymore. if you pass it a proper path then it will do the right thing.

cd () {
    if (( $# == 0 ))
        builtin cd $VIRTUAL_ENV
        builtin cd "$@"