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Interactive virtual environments

Project description

ivenv is an Apache2 licensed Python module for interactive virtual environments.

The virtualenv package had a clever script called which when executed in a Python shell would “activate” the virtual environment. Sadly, venv lacks this feature so ivenv adds it back.

The ivenv package also adds support for “%activate” and “%deactivate” magic commands in IPython shells and Jupyter notebooks. This provides a simpler alternative to installing ipykernel in the destination virtual environment and adding the kernel to Jupyter.


  • Pure-Python
  • IPython Support
  • Jupyter Support
  • Developed on Python 3.8
  • Tested on CPython 3.6, 3.7, 3.8 and PyPy, PyPy3
  • Tested using GitHub Actions


Installing ivenv is simple with pip:

$ pip install ivenv

You can access documentation in the interpreter with Python’s built-in help function:

>>> import ivenv
>>> help(ivenv)
>>> help(ivenv.activate)
>>> help(ivenv.deactivate)


The ivenv module provides two functions for managing virtual environments:

>>> from ivenv import activate, deactivate

The activate function accepts a path to a virtual environment directory and “activates” that virtual environment within the Python shell.

>>> activate('path/to/venv/directory')

The deactivate function takes no arguments and “deactivates” the virtual environment within the Python shell.

>>> deactivate()

It’s also possible to use ivenv from IPython or Jupyter notebooks. To begin, load the ivenv extension:

%load_ext ivenv

Once the extension is loaded, the “magic” commands: %activate and %deactivate may be used just as their corresponding functions.

%activate path/to/venv/directory


Copyright 2020 Grant Jenks

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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