Installing stand alone command line tools

Many packages have command line entry points. Examples of this type of application are mypy, flake8, pipenv,and black.

Usually you want to be able to access these from anywhere, but installing packages and their dependencies to the same global environment can cause version conflicts and break dependencies the operating system has on Python packages.

pipx solves this by creating a virtual environment for each package, while also ensuring that package’s applications are accessible through a directory that is on your $PATH. This allows each package to be upgraded or uninstalled without causing conflicts with other packages, and allows you to safely run the program from anywhere.


pipx only works with Python 3.6+.

pipx is installed with pip:

$ python3 -m pip install --user pipx
$ python3 -m pipx ensurepath  # ensures the path of the CLI application directory is on your $PATH


You may need to restart your terminal for the path updates to take effect.

Now you can install packages with pipx install and access the package’s entry point(s) from anywhere.

$ pipx install PACKAGE

For example

$ pipx install cowsay
  installed package cowsay 2.0, Python 3.6.2+
  These binaries are now globally available
    - cowsay
done! ✨ 🌟 ✨
$ cowsay moo
< moo >
           (__)\       )\/       ||----w |
               ||     ||

To see a list of packages installed with pipx and which CLI applications are available, use pipx list.

$ pipx list
venvs are in /Users/user/.local/pipx/venvs
symlinks to binaries are in /Users/user/.local/bin
   package black 18.9b0, Python 3.6.2+
    - black
    - blackd
   package cowsay 2.0, Python 3.6.2+
    - cowsay
   package mypy 0.660, Python 3.6.2+
    - dmypy
    - mypy
    - stubgen
   package nox 2018.10.17, Python 3.6.2+
    - nox
    - tox-to-nox

To upgrade or uninstall the package

$ pipx upgrade PACKAGE
$ pipx uninstall PACKAGE

pipx can be upgraded or uninstalled with pip

$ python3 -m pip install -U pipx
$ python3 -m pip uninstall pipx

pipx also allows you to install and run the latest version of a cli tool in a temporary, ephemeral environment.

$ pipx run PACKAGE [ARGS]

For example

$ pipx run cowsay moooo

To see the full list of commands pipx offers, run

$ pipx --help

You can learn more about pipx at its homepage,