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Automagically import missing modules in IPython.

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GitHub PyPI Build

Automagically import missing modules in IPython: instead of

In [1]: plt.plot([1, 2], [3, 4])
NameError                                 Traceback (most recent call last)
<ipython-input-1-994ba2bf13c0> in <module>()
----> 1 plt.plot([1, 2], [3, 4])

NameError: name 'plt' is not defined

In [2]: from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

In [3]: plt.plot([1, 2], [3, 4])
Out[3]: [<matplotlib.lines.Line2D at 0x7f73f0179198>]

do what I mean:

In [1]: plt.plot([1, 2], [3, 4])
Autoimport: from matplotlib import pyplot as plt
Out[1]: [<matplotlib.lines.Line2D at 0x7f7e253552b0>]

Inspired from @OrangeFlash81’s version, with many improvements:

  • Does not rely on re-execution, but instead hooks the user namespace; thus, safe even in the presence of side effects, and works for tab completion and magics too.

  • Learns your preferred aliases from the history – plt is not hardcoded to alias matplotlib.pyplot, just found because you previously imported pyplot under this alias.

  • Suppresses irrelevant chained tracebacks.

  • Auto-imports submodules.

  • pip-installable.

To see auto imports from the current session: %autoimport -l

To clear the cache for a symbol with multiple possible imports: %autoimport -c SYMBOL


As usual, install using pip:

$ pip install ipython-autoimport  # from PyPI
$ pip install git+  # from Github

Then, append the output of python -m ipython_autoimport to the file in the directory printed by ipython profile locate (typically ~/.ipython/profile_default/).

If you don’t have such a file at all, you can use ipython profile create.

Run tests with pytest.


Constructs such as

class C:

will not work, because they are run using the class locals (rather than the patched locals); patching globals would not work because LOAD_NAME queries globals using PyDict_GetItem exactly (note that it queries locals using PyObject_GetItem; also, LOAD_GLOBALS queries both globals and builtins using PyObject_GetItem so we could possibly get away with patching the builtins dict instead, but that seems a bit too invasive…).

When using Jedi autocompletion (the default if Jedi is installed as of IPython 7.2), trying to tab-complete not-yet-imported global names to trigger an import fails, because Jedi purposefully converts the global dict to a namespace object and looks up attributes using getattr_static. Jedi can be disabled by adding c.Completer.use_jedi = False to the file.

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