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Use a Virtual Environment in Anaconda

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In this post, we will go through the all commands to master the use of virtual environments using conda/ Anaconda. This is a cheatsheet for Anaconda with virtual environment.

Anaconda is a widely used open-source distribution of Python and R programming languages speciafically designed for applications in Machine Learning, Data Processing and others. In it, the packages are managed through conda (alternative to pip).

Virtual environment is an wrapper/ environment which will have its own copies of packages and environment variables and is useful when working with different versions of the same software package on the same system.

Install Anaconda

1. Windows Users

Anaconda is just like you normal application. Head over to www.anaconda.com/distribution/ and download the graphical installer. Double click on the installer and follow the instructions

2. Linux/Mac users

For Linux or Mac, follow these steps in your command line:

cd ~
wget https://repo.continuum.io/archive/Anaconda3-5.0.1-Linux-x86_64.sh
bash Anaconda3-5.0.1-Linux-x86_64.sh -b -p ~/anaconda
rm Anaconda3-5.0.1-Linux-x86_64.sh
echo 'export PATH="~/anaconda/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
source .bashrc
conda update conda

And, it's done!

Check conda is installed and in your PATH

Open a terminal client.

Enter conda -V into the terminal command line and press enter.
If conda is installed you should see the version of the conda installed.

conda -V


conda 3.7.0

If this works, you are good to proceed further or else go through the installation steps again.

Check conda is up to date

In the terminal client enter

$ conda update conda

Update any packages if necessary by typing y to proceed.

Create a virtual environment for your project

Following is the command to create a virtual environment named opengenusapp using python version 3.6:

$ conda create -n opengenusapp python=3.6 anaconda

You can use a different name and any Python version available. To check Python version available, use the following command:

conda search "^python$"

You can even skip add Python while creating the environment and once in the environment, you can install it.

conda create -n opengenusapp

It will install the Python version and all the associated anaconda packaged libraries at


Activate your virtual environment.

To go into your new virtual environment, use the following command:

$ source activate opengenusapp

On activating a conda environment, it will modify the PATH and shell variables to point to the specific isolated Python set-up you created.

Command line prompt may change as well by including the name of the virtual environment you are currently in.

List existing virtual environments

To see a list of all your environments, use the command:

conda env list


conda info -e

Install additional Python packages to a virtual environment.

To install additional packages, use the following command:

$ conda install -n opengenusapp [package]

It will install the specified package in the mentioned virtual environment "opengenusapp"

Deactivate your virtual environment

To go out of the current virtual environment, use the following command:

source deactivate

Delete a no longer needed virtual environment

To delete a virtual environment, use the following command:

conda remove -n opengenusapp -all

See list of installed packages

To check the installed packages in the current virtual environment, use the following command:

conda list

To check the list of installed packages in a deactivated virtual environment, use the following command:

conda list -n myenv

Rename/ copy a virtual environment

To copy an exisiting virtual environment, use the following command:

conda create --name new_name --clone old_name

Following it, we may delete the old virtual environment:

conda remove --name old_name --all

Remove Anaconda

To remove Anaconda completely from your system, use the following command:

rm -rf ~/anaconda
Use a Virtual Environment in Anaconda
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