Conda Environments

1 minute read


Virtual environments are a convenient way to manage library dependencies, environment variables, and ensure reproducibility. There are a couple of approaches to this: virtualenv,conda, and docker – see here for a discussion. This post will focus on conda, and give a few practical commands to get up and running.

  • Download and install miniconda
    sh curl -o "$conda_dir/"
    sh -x -b -p "./miniconda3" 

Note: The default conda set-up requires editing the .bashrc file and setting environment variables to point to the conda executable. This is a pain when dealing with multiple servers, fortunately there are ways around this and the commands given here will not rely on editing the .bashrc.

Basic commands

  • Create environment called conda_venv, for Python version 3.8
    ./miniconda3/bin/conda create -n conda_venv python=3.8
  • Activate environment
    source ./miniconda3/bin/activate conda_venv
  • De-activate environment
    conda deactivate conda_venv
    This adds the environment executables such as Python, pip and conda to the executable path.
  • Install/ uninstall: (once env is activated)
    • Through conda: conda install -c anaconda numpy
    • Through pip: pip install numpy
      Note: this pip executable will be installed when installing python, and the libraries installed via pip will be specific to the conda environment and not the global environment
  • Export installed dependencies to file
    conda env export > env.yaml

  • Install dependencies from file: this is actually creating an environment from a yaml file, so no need to create an empty env first conda env create -f environment.yml

Conda environments with jupyter notebook

  • Make sure jupyter is installed
    pip install jupyter
  • Add kernel for environment
    python -m ipykernel install --user --name=conda_venv conda_kernel