Python Development Workflow for Humans.
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Pipenv: Python Development Workflow for Humans

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Pipenv is a Python virtualenv management tool that supports a multitude of systems and nicely bridges the gaps between pip, pyenv and virtualenv. Linux, macOS, and Windows are all first-class citizens in pipenv.

It automatically creates and manages a virtualenv for your projects, as well as adds/removes packages from your Pipfile as you install/uninstall packages. It also generates the ever-important Pipfile.lock, which is used to produce deterministic builds.

Pipenv is primarily meant to provide users and developers of applications with an easy method to setup a working environment.

The problems that Pipenv seeks to solve are multi-faceted:

  • You no longer need to use pip and virtualenv separately. They work together.
  • Managing a requirements.txt file with package hashes can be problematic. Pipenv uses Pipfile and Pipfile.lock to separate abstract dependency declarations from the last tested combination.
  • Hashes are documented in the lock file, always. Security considerations are put first.
  • Strongly encourage the use of the latest versions of dependencies to minimize security risks arising from outdated components.
  • Gives you insight into your dependency graph (e.g. $ pipenv graph).
  • Streamline development workflow by supporting local customizations with .env files.

Table Of Contents


Pipenv can be installed with Python 3.7 and above.

If you're using Debian Buster+:

sudo apt install pipenv

Or, if you're using Fedora:

sudo dnf install pipenv

Or, if you're using FreeBSD:

pkg install py39-pipenv

Or, if you're using Gentoo:

sudo emerge pipenv

Or, if you're using Void Linux:

sudo xbps-install -S python3-pipenv

Or, if you're using Windows:

pip install --user pipenv

When none of the above is an option, it is recommended to use Pipx:

pipx install pipenv

Otherwise, refer to the documentation for instructions.


  • Enables truly deterministic builds, while easily specifying only what you want.
  • Generates and checks file hashes for locked dependencies.
  • Automatically install required Pythons, if pyenv is available.
  • Automatically finds your project home, recursively, by looking for a Pipfile.
  • Automatically generates a Pipfile, if one doesn't exist.
  • Automatically creates a virtualenv in a standard location.
  • Automatically adds/removes packages to a Pipfile when they are un/installed.
  • Automatically loads .env files, if they exist.

The main commands are install, uninstall, and lock, which generates a Pipfile.lock. These are intended to replace $ pip install usage, as well as manual virtualenv management (to activate a virtualenv, run $ pipenv shell).

Basic Concepts

  • A virtualenv will automatically be created, when one doesn't exist.
  • When no parameters are passed to install, all packages [packages] specified will be installed.
  • Otherwise, whatever virtualenv defaults to will be the default.

Other Commands

  • shell will spawn a shell with the virtualenv activated.
  • run will run a given command from the virtualenv, with any arguments forwarded (e.g. $ pipenv run python).
  • check asserts that PEP 508 requirements are being met by the current environment.
  • graph will print a pretty graph of all your installed dependencies.

Shell Completion

To enable completion in fish, add this to your configuration ~/.config/fish/completions/pipenv.fish:

eval (env _PIPENV_COMPLETE=fish_source pipenv)

There is also a fish plugin, which will automatically activate your subshells for you!

Alternatively, with zsh, add this to your configuration ~/.zshrc:

eval "$(_PIPENV_COMPLETE=zsh_source pipenv)"

Alternatively, with bash, add this to your configuration ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile:

eval "$(_PIPENV_COMPLETE=bash_source pipenv)"

Magic shell completions are now enabled!


$ pipenv --help
Usage: pipenv [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  --where                         Output project home information.
  --venv                          Output virtualenv information.
  --py                            Output Python interpreter information.
  --envs                          Output Environment Variable options.
  --rm                            Remove the virtualenv.
  --bare                          Minimal output.
  --man                           Display manpage.
  --support                       Output diagnostic information for use in
                                  GitHub issues.
  --site-packages / --no-site-packages
                                  Enable site-packages for the virtualenv.
                                  [env var: PIPENV_SITE_PACKAGES]
  --python TEXT                   Specify which version of Python virtualenv
                                  should use.
  --clear                         Clears caches (pipenv, pip).  [env var:
  -q, --quiet                     Quiet mode.
  -v, --verbose                   Verbose mode.
  --pypi-mirror TEXT              Specify a PyPI mirror.
  --version                       Show the version and exit.
  -h, --help                      Show this message and exit.

Usage Examples:

  Create a new project using Python 3.7, specifically:
  $ pipenv --python 3.7

  Remove project virtualenv (inferred from current directory):
  $ pipenv --rm

  Install all dependencies for a project (including dev):
  $ pipenv install --dev

  Create a lockfile containing pre-releases:
  $ pipenv lock --pre

  Show a graph of your installed dependencies:
  $ pipenv graph

  Check your installed dependencies for security vulnerabilities:
  $ pipenv check

  Install a local setup.py into your virtual environment/Pipfile:
  $ pipenv install -e .

  Use a lower-level pip command:
  $ pipenv run pip freeze


  check         Checks for PyUp Safety security vulnerabilities and against
                PEP 508 markers provided in Pipfile.
  clean         Uninstalls all packages not specified in Pipfile.lock.
  graph         Displays currently-installed dependency graph information.
  install       Installs provided packages and adds them to Pipfile, or (if no
                packages are given), installs all packages from Pipfile.
  lock          Generates Pipfile.lock.
  open          View a given module in your editor.
  requirements  Generate a requirements.txt from Pipfile.lock.
  run           Spawns a command installed into the virtualenv.
  scripts       Lists scripts in current environment config.
  shell         Spawns a shell within the virtualenv.
  sync          Installs all packages specified in Pipfile.lock.
  uninstall     Uninstalls a provided package and removes it from Pipfile.
  update        Runs lock, then sync.
  verify        Verify the hash in Pipfile.lock is up-to-date.

Locate the project:

$ pipenv --where
/Users/kennethreitz/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/repos/kr/pipenv/test

Locate the virtualenv:

$ pipenv --venv

Locate the Python interpreter:

$ pipenv --py

Install packages:

$ pipenv install
Creating a virtualenv for this project...
No package provided, installing all dependencies.
Virtualenv location: /Users/kennethreitz/.local/share/virtualenvs/test-EJkjoYts
Installing dependencies from Pipfile.lock...

To activate this project's virtualenv, run the following:
$ pipenv shell

Installing from git:

You can install packages with pipenv from git and other version control systems using URLs formatted according to the following rule:


The only optional section is the @<branch_or_tag> section. When using git over SSH, you may use the shorthand vcs and scheme alias [email protected]<location>:<user_or_organization>/<repository>@<branch_or_tag>#<package_name>. Note that this is translated to git+ssh://[email protected]<location> when parsed.

Valid values for <vcs_type> include git, bzr, svn, and hg. Valid values for <scheme> include http,, https, ssh, and file. In specific cases you also have access to other schemes: svn may be combined with svn as a scheme, and bzr can be combined with sftp and lp.

Note that it is strongly recommended that you install any version-controlled dependencies in editable mode, using pipenv install -e, in order to ensure that dependency resolution can be performed with an up to date copy of the repository each time it is performed, and that it includes all known dependencies.

Below is an example usage which installs the git repository located at https://github.com/requests/requests.git from tag v2.19.1 as package name requests:

$ pipenv install -e git+https://github.com/requests/[email protected]#egg=requests
Creating a Pipfile for this project...
Installing -e git+https://github.com/requests/[email protected]#egg=requests...
Adding -e git+https://github.com/requests/[email protected]#egg=requests to Pipfile's [packages]...

You can read more about pip's implementation of vcs support here.

Install a dev dependency:

$ pipenv install pytest --dev
Installing pytest...
Adding pytest to Pipfile's [dev-packages]...

Show a dependency graph:

$ pipenv graph
  - certifi [required: >=2017.4.17, installed: 2017.7.27.1]
  - chardet [required: >=3.0.2,<3.1.0, installed: 3.0.4]
  - idna [required: >=2.5,<2.7, installed: 2.6]
  - urllib3 [required: <1.23,>=1.21.1, installed: 1.22]

Generate a lockfile:

$ pipenv lock
Assuring all dependencies from Pipfile are installed...
Locking [dev-packages] dependencies...
Locking [packages] dependencies...
Note: your project now has only default [packages] installed.
To install [dev-packages], run: $ pipenv install --dev

Install all dev dependencies:

$ pipenv install --dev
Pipfile found at /Users/kennethreitz/repos/kr/pip2/test/Pipfile. Considering this to be the project home.
Pipfile.lock out of date, updating...
Assuring all dependencies from Pipfile are installed...
Locking [dev-packages] dependencies...
Locking [packages] dependencies...

Uninstall everything:

$ pipenv uninstall --all
No package provided, un-installing all dependencies.
Found 25 installed package(s), purging...
Environment now purged and fresh!

Use the shell:

$ pipenv shell
Loading .env environment variables...
Launching subshell in virtual environment. Type 'exit' or 'Ctrl+D' to return.


Documentation resides over at pipenv.pypa.io.

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