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.


  • 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.