Fix Python – Relative paths in Python

Question

Asked By – baudtack

I’m building a simple helper script for work that will copy a couple of template files in our code base to the current directory. I don’t, however, have the absolute path to the directory where the templates are stored. I do have a relative path from the script but when I call the script it treats that as a path relative to the current working directory. Is there a way to specify that this relative url is from the location of the script instead?

Now we will see solution for issue: Relative paths in Python


Answer

In the file that has the script, you want to do something like this:

import os
dirname = os.path.dirname(__file__)
filename = os.path.join(dirname, 'relative/path/to/file/you/want')

This will give you the absolute path to the file you’re looking for. Note that if you’re using setuptools, you should probably use its package resources API instead.

UPDATE: I’m responding to a comment here so I can paste a code sample. 🙂

Am I correct in thinking that __file__ is not always available (e.g. when you run the file directly rather than importing it)?

I’m assuming you mean the __main__ script when you mention running the file directly. If so, that doesn’t appear to be the case on my system (python 2.5.1 on OS X 10.5.7):

#foo.py
import os
print os.getcwd()
print __file__

#in the interactive interpreter
>>> import foo
/Users/jason
foo.py

#and finally, at the shell:
~ % python foo.py
/Users/jason
foo.py

However, I do know that there are some quirks with __file__ on C extensions. For example, I can do this on my Mac:

>>> import collections #note that collections is a C extension in Python 2.5
>>> collections.__file__
'/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/lib/python2.5/lib-
dynload/collections.so'

However, this raises an exception on my Windows machine.

This question is answered By – Jason Baker

This answer is collected from stackoverflow and reviewed by FixPython community admins, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0