How to fix "Attempted relative import in non-package" even with


I’m trying to follow PEP 328, with the following directory structure:


In I have the following import statement

from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents

However, when I run, I get the following error:

tests$ python 
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 3, in <module>
    from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents
ValueError: Attempted relative import in non-package

Searching around I found “relative path not working even with” and “Import a module from a relative path” but they didn’t help.

Is there anything I’m missing here?

Asked By: skytreader



Yes. You’re not using it as a package.

python -m pkg.tests.core_test

To elaborate on Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams’s answer:

The Python import mechanism works relative to the __name__ of the current file. When you execute a file directly, it doesn’t have its usual name, but has "__main__" as its name instead. So relative imports don’t work.

You can, as Igancio suggested, execute it using the -m option. If you have a part of your package that is meant to be run as a script, you can also use the __package__ attribute to tell that file what name it’s supposed to have in the package hierarchy.

See for details.

Answered By: BrenBarn

You can use import components.core directly if you append the current directory to sys.path:

if __name__ == '__main__' and __package__ is None:
    from os import sys, path
Answered By: ihm

It depends on how you want to launch your script.

If you want to launch your UnitTest from the command line in a classic way, that is:

python tests/

Then, since in this case ‘components’ and ‘tests’ are siblings folders, you can import the relative module either using the insert or the append method of the sys.path module.
Something like:

import sys
from os import path
sys.path.append( path.dirname( path.dirname( path.abspath(__file__) ) ) )
from components.core import GameLoopEvents

Otherwise, you can launch your script with the ‘-m’ argument (note that in this case, we are talking about a package, and thus you must not give the ‘.py’ extension), that is:

python -m pkg.tests.core_test

In such a case, you can simply use the relative import as you were doing:

from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents

You can finally mix the two approaches, so that your script will work no matter how it is called.
For example:

if __name__ == '__main__':
    if __package__ is None:
        import sys
        from os import path
        sys.path.append( path.dirname( path.dirname( path.abspath(__file__) ) ) )
        from components.core import GameLoopEvents
        from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents
Answered By: Paolo Rovelli

If your use case is for running tests, and it seams that it is, then you can do the following. Instead of running your test script as python use a testing framework such as pytest. Then on the command line you can enter

$$ py.test

That will run the tests in your directory. This gets around the issue of __name__ being __main__ that was pointed out by @BrenBarn. Next, put an empty file into your test directory, this will make the test directory part of your package. Then you will be able to do

from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents

However, if you run your test script as a main program then things will fail once again. So just use the test runner. Maybe this also works with other test runners such as nosetests but i haven’t checked it. Hope this helps.

Answered By: deepak

My quick-fix is to add the directory to the path:

import sys
sys.path.insert(0, '../components/')
Answered By: v4gil

In, do the following:

import sys
from core import GameLoopEvents
Answered By: Allan Mwesigwa

If someone is looking for a workaround, I stumbled upon one. Here’s a bit of context. I wanted to test out one of the methods I’ve in a file. When I run it from within

if __name__ == "__main__":

it always complained of the relative imports. I tried to apply the above solutions, but failed to work, since there were many nested files, each with multiple imports.

Here’s what I did. I just created a launcher, an external program that would import necessary methods and call them. Though, not a great solution, it works.

Answered By: HappyWaters

Old thread. I found out that adding an __all__= ['submodule', ...] to the file and then using the from <CURRENT_MODULE> import * in the target works fine.

Answered By: John Difool

Try this

import components
from components import *
Answered By: Vaishnavi Bala

You can use from pkg.components.core import GameLoopEvents, for example I use pycharm, the below is my project structure image, I just import from the root package, then it works:

enter image description here

Answered By: Jayhello

As Paolo said, we have 2 invocation methods:

1) python -m tests.core_test
2) python tests/

One difference between them is sys.path[0] string. Since the interpret will search sys.path when doing import, we can do with tests/

if __name__ == '__main__':
    import sys
    from pathlib import Path
    sys.path.insert(0, str(Path(__file__).resolve().parent.parent))
    from components import core
    <other stuff>

And more after this, we can run with other methods:

cd tests
python -m core_test

Note, py36 tested only.

Answered By: zhengcao

This approach worked for me and is less cluttered than some solutions:

  from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents
except ValueError:
  from components.core import GameLoopEvents

The parent directory is in my PYTHONPATH, and there are files in the parent directory and this directory.

The above always worked in python 2, but python 3 sometimes hit an ImportError or ModuleNotFoundError (the latter is new in python 3.6 and a subclass of ImportError), so the following tweak works for me in both python 2 and 3:

  from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents
except ( ValueError, ImportError):
  from components.core import GameLoopEvents
Answered By: Rick Graves

Because your code contains if __name__ == "__main__", which doesn’t be imported as a package, you’d better use sys.path.append() to solve the problem.

Answered By: rosefun

Issue is with your testing method,

you tried python

then you will get this error
ValueError: Attempted relative import in non-package

Reason: you are testing your packaging from non-package source.

so test your module from package source.

if this is your project structure,


cd pkg

python -m tests.core_test # dont use .py

or from outside pkg/

python -m pkg.tests.core_test

single . if you want to import from folder in same directory .
for each step back add one more.



from .hi import hello

incase if you want to import how from

from .. import how

Here’s one way which will piss off everyone but work pretty well. In tests run:

ln -s ../components components

Then just import components like you normally would.

Answered By: SteveCalifornia

This is very confusing and if you are using IDE like Pycharm, it’s little more confusing.

What worked for me:

  1. Make Pycharm project settings (if you are running python from a VE or from Python directory)
  2. There is nothing wrong with the way you defined. Sometime it works with:
from folder1.file1 import class

if it does not work, use:

import folder1.file1
  1. Your environment variable should be correctly mentioned in system or provide it in your command line argument.

As you have already marked everything as a module, there’s no need to use the relative reference if you launch as python module.

Instead of

from ..components.core import GameLoopEvents


from pkg.components.core import GameLoopEvents

When you run from the parent of pkg, use the following

python -m pkg.tests.core_test
Answered By: suriyanto

For me only this worked: I had to explicitly set the value of package to the parent directory, and add the parent directory to sys.path

from os import path
import sys
if __package__ is None:
    sys.path.append( path.dirname( path.dirname( path.abspath(__file__) ) ) )
    __package__= "myparent"

from .subdir import something # the . can now be resolved

I can now directly run my script with python

Answered By: Kai Aeberli

python <main module>.py does not work with relative import

The problem is relative import does not work when you run a __main__ module from the command line

python <main_module>.py

It is clearly stated in PEP 338.

The release of 2.5b1 showed a surprising (although obvious in retrospect) interaction between this PEP and PEP 328 – explicit relative imports don’t work from a main module. This is due to the fact that relative imports rely on __name__ to determine the current module’s position in the package hierarchy. In a main module, the value of __name__ is always '__main__', so explicit relative imports will always fail (as they only work for a module inside a package).


The issue isn’t actually unique to the -m switch. The problem is that relative imports are based on __name__, and in the main module, __name__ always has the value __main__. Hence, relative imports currently can’t work properly from the main module of an application, because the main module doesn’t know where it really fits in the Python module namespace (this is at least fixable in theory for the main modules executed through the -m switch, but directly executed files and the interactive interpreter are completely out of luck).

To understand further, see Relative imports in Python 3 for the detailed explanation and how to get it over.

Answered By: mon

I’ve had similar issues and as a software engineer, I think some of the suggested solutions here are not ideal. If you want relative imports, you should not have try/except and then sometimes do an absolute import. Also, to run a program, you should not have to change sys.path.

Furthermore, the program should always work, independent of your current working directory and independent of how you start it.

Thus, I’ve created a new, experimental import library: ultraimport
It allows file system based imports, no matter how you run your code.

From the original question, you would change your to something like

import ultraimport
GameLoopEvents = ultraimport('__dir__/../components/', 'GameLoopEvents')

and it would always find it, no matter how you run your tests.

$ python -m tests.core_test
<class 'core.GameLoopEvents'>
 python ./tests/ 
<class 'core.GameLoopEvents'>

I’ve also put this example into the examples folder in the git repo.

As the library is experimental, I am interested in feedback. It works for me but it not widely tested, yet.

Answered By: Ronny

If your project structure would look like this:

     | --- module1
     |      |
     |     |

and you are going import from within,
you can do this in

import sys

import file2

I still don’t know why and how, but it worked for me.

Answered By: Hadi F