How can I import a Python module dynamically given the full path?

Better Stack Team
Updated on February 17, 2023

Importing programmatically

To programmatically import a module, use importlib.import_module().

import importlib

itertools = importlib.import_module('itertools')

Checking if a module can be imported

If you need to find out if a module can be imported without actually doing the import, then you should use importlib.util.find_spec().

Note that if name is a submodule (contains a dot), importlib.util.find_spec() will import the parent module.

import importlib.util
import sys

# For illustrative purposes.
name = 'itertools'

if name in sys.modules:
    print(f"{name!r} already in sys.modules")
elif (spec := importlib.util.find_spec(name)) is not None:
    # If you chose to perform the actual import ...
    module = importlib.util.module_from_spec(spec)
    sys.modules[name] = module
    print(f"{name!r} has been imported")
    print(f"can't find the {name!r} module")

Importing a source file directly

To import a Python source file directly, use the following recipe:

import importlib.util
import sys

# For illustrative purposes.
import tokenize
file_path = tokenize.__file__
module_name = tokenize.__name__

spec = importlib.util.spec_from_file_location(module_name, file_path)
module = importlib.util.module_from_spec(spec)
sys.modules[module_name] = module

Implementing lazy imports

The example below shows how to implement lazy imports:

import importlib.util
import sys
def lazy_import(name):
    spec = importlib.util.find_spec(name)
    loader = importlib.util.LazyLoader(spec.loader)
    spec.loader = loader
    module = importlib.util.module_from_spec(spec)
    sys.modules[name] = module
    return module

lazy_typing = lazy_import("typing")
#lazy_typing is a real module object,
#but it is not loaded in memory yet.
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