Managing environments

Managing environments #

Poetry makes project environment isolation one of its core features.

What this means is that it will always work isolated from your global Python installation. To achieve this, it will first check if it’s currently running inside a virtual environment. If it is, it will use it directly without creating a new one. But if it’s not, it will use one that it has already created or create a brand new one for you.

By default, Poetry will try to use the Python version used during Poetry’s installation to create the virtual environment for the current project.

However, for various reasons, this Python version might not be compatible with the python range supported by the project. In this case, Poetry will try to find one that is and use it. If it’s unable to do so then you will be prompted to activate one explicitly, see Switching environments.


If you use a tool like pyenv to manage different Python versions, you can set the experimental virtualenvs.prefer-active-python option to true. Poetry will then try to find the current python of your shell.

For instance, if your project requires a newer Python than is available with your system, a standard workflow would be:

pyenv install 3.9.8
pyenv local 3.9.8  # Activate Python 3.9 for the current project
poetry install
Since version 1.2, Poetry no longer supports managing environments for Python 2.7.

Switching between environments #

Sometimes this might not be feasible for your system, especially Windows where pyenv is not available, or you simply prefer to have a more explicit control over your environment. For this specific purpose, you can use the env use command to tell Poetry which Python version to use for the current project.

poetry env use /full/path/to/python

If you have the python executable in your PATH you can use it:

poetry env use python3.7

You can even just use the minor Python version in this case:

poetry env use 3.7

If you want to disable the explicitly activated virtual environment, you can use the special system Python version to retrieve the default behavior:

poetry env use system

Displaying the environment information #

If you want to get basic information about the currently activated virtual environment, you can use the env info command:

poetry env info

will output something similar to this:

Python:         3.7.1
Implementation: CPython
Path:           /path/to/poetry/cache/virtualenvs/test-O3eWbxRl-py3.7
Valid:          True

Platform: darwin
OS:       posix
Python:   /path/to/main/python

If you only want to know the path to the virtual environment, you can pass the --path option to env info:

poetry env info --path

If you only want to know the path to the python executable (useful for running mypy from a global environment without installing it in the virtual environment), you can pass the --executable option to env info:

poetry env info --executable

Listing the environments associated with the project #

You can also list all the virtual environments associated with the current project with the env list command:

poetry env list

will output something like the following:

test-O3eWbxRl-py3.7 (Activated)

You can pass the option --full-path to display the full path to the environments:

poetry env list --full-path

Deleting the environments #

Finally, you can delete existing virtual environments by using env remove:

poetry env remove /full/path/to/python
poetry env remove python3.7
poetry env remove 3.7
poetry env remove test-O3eWbxRl-py3.7

You can delete more than one environment at a time.

poetry env remove python3.6 python3.7 python3.8

Use the --all option to delete all virtual environments at once.

poetry env remove --all

If you remove the currently activated virtual environment, it will be automatically deactivated.


If you use the configuration, you can simply use the command as shown below.

poetry env remove