Running mypy and managing imports

The Getting started page should have already introduced you to the basics of how to run mypy – pass in the files and directories you want to type check via the command line:

$ mypy some_directory

This page discusses in more detail how exactly to specify what files you want mypy to type check, how mypy discovers imported modules, and recommendations on how to handle any issues you may encounter along the way.

If you are interested in learning about how to configure the actual way mypy type checks your code, see our The mypy command line guide.

Specifying code to be checked

Mypy lets you specify what files it should type check in several different ways.

  1. First, you can pass in paths to Python files and directories you want to type check. For example:

    $ mypy foo/ file_3.pyi some/directory

    The above command tells mypy it should type check all of the provided files together. In addition, mypy will recursively type check the entire contents of any provided directories.

    For more details about how exactly this is done, see Mapping file paths to modules.

  2. Second, you can use the -m flag (long form: --module) to specify a module name to be type checked. The name of a module is identical to the name you would use to import that module within a Python program. For example, running:

    $ mypy -m html.parser

    …will type check the module html.parser (this happens to be a library stub).

    Mypy will use an algorithm very similar to the one Python uses to find where modules and imports are located on the file system. For more details, see How imports are found.

  3. Third, you can use the -p (long form: --package) flag to specify a package to be (recursively) type checked. This flag is almost identical to the -m flag except that if you give it a package name, mypy will recursively type check all submodules and subpackages of that package. For example, running:

    $ mypy -p html

    …will type check the entire html package (of library stubs). In contrast, if we had used the -m flag, mypy would have type checked just html’s file and anything imported from there.

    Note that we can specify multiple packages and modules on the command line. For example:

    $ mypy --package p.a --package p.b --module c
  4. Fourth, you can also instruct mypy to directly type check small strings as programs by using the -c (long form: --command) flag. For example:

    $ mypy -c 'x = [1, 2]; print(x())'

    …will type check the above string as a mini-program (and in this case, will report that list[int] is not callable).

You can also use the files option in your mypy.ini file to specify which files to check, in which case you can simply run mypy with no arguments.

Reading a list of files from a file

Finally, any command-line argument starting with @ reads additional command-line arguments from the file following the @ character. This is primarily useful if you have a file containing a list of files that you want to be type-checked: instead of using shell syntax like:

$ mypy $(cat file_of_files.txt)

you can use this instead:

$ mypy @file_of_files.txt

This file can technically also contain any command line flag, not just file paths. However, if you want to configure many different flags, the recommended approach is to use a configuration file instead.

Mapping file paths to modules

One of the main ways you can tell mypy what to type check is by providing mypy a list of paths. For example:

$ mypy foo/ file_3.pyi some/directory

This section describes how exactly mypy maps the provided paths to modules to type check.

  • Mypy will check all paths provided that correspond to files.

  • Mypy will recursively discover and check all files ending in .py or .pyi in directory paths provided, after accounting for --exclude.

  • For each file to be checked, mypy will attempt to associate the file (e.g. project/foo/bar/ with a fully qualified module name (e.g. The directory the package is in (project) is then added to mypy’s module search paths.

How mypy determines fully qualified module names depends on if the options --no-namespace-packages and --explicit-package-bases are set.

  1. If --no-namespace-packages is set, mypy will rely solely upon the presence of[i] files to determine the fully qualified module name. That is, mypy will crawl up the directory tree for as long as it continues to find (or __init__.pyi) files.

    For example, if your directory tree consists of pkg/subpkg/, mypy would require pkg/ and pkg/subpkg/ to exist in order correctly associate with pkg.subpkg.mod

  2. The default case. If --namespace-packages is on, but --explicit-package-bases is off, mypy will allow for the possibility that directories without[i] are packages. Specifically, mypy will look at all parent directories of the file and use the location of the highest[i] in the directory tree to determine the top-level package.

    For example, say your directory tree consists solely of pkg/ and pkg/a/b/c/d/ When determining’s fully qualified module name, mypy will look at pkg/ and conclude that the associated module name is pkg.a.b.c.d.mod.

  3. You’ll notice that the above case still relies on If you can’t put an in your top-level package, but still wish to pass paths (as opposed to packages or modules using the -p or -m flags), --explicit-package-bases provides a solution.

    With --explicit-package-bases, mypy will locate the nearest parent directory that is a member of the MYPYPATH environment variable, the mypy_path config or is the current working directory. Mypy will then use the relative path to determine the fully qualified module name.

    For example, say your directory tree consists solely of src/namespace_pkg/ If you run the following command, mypy will correctly associate with namespace_pkg.mod:

    $ MYPYPATH=src mypy --namespace-packages --explicit-package-bases .

If you pass a file not ending in .py[i], the module name assumed is __main__ (matching the behavior of the Python interpreter), unless --scripts-are-modules is passed.

Passing -v will show you the files and associated module names that mypy will check.

How mypy handles imports

When mypy encounters an import statement, it will first attempt to locate that module or type stubs for that module in the file system. Mypy will then type check the imported module. There are three different outcomes of this process:

  1. Mypy is unable to follow the import: the module either does not exist, or is a third party library that does not use type hints.

  2. Mypy is able to follow and type check the import, but you did not want mypy to type check that module at all.

  3. Mypy is able to successfully both follow and type check the module, and you want mypy to type check that module.

The third outcome is what mypy will do in the ideal case. The following sections will discuss what to do in the other two cases.

Missing imports

When you import a module, mypy may report that it is unable to follow the import. This can cause errors that look like the following: error: Skipping analyzing 'django': module is installed, but missing library stubs or py.typed marker error: Library stubs not installed for "requests" error: Cannot find implementation or library stub for module named "this_module_does_not_exist"

If you get any of these errors on an import, mypy will assume the type of that module is Any, the dynamic type. This means attempting to access any attribute of the module will automatically succeed:

# Error: Cannot find implementation or library stub for module named 'does_not_exist'
import does_not_exist

# But this type checks, and x will have type 'Any'
x = does_not_exist.foobar()

This can result in mypy failing to warn you about errors in your code. Since operations on Any result in Any, these dynamic types can propagate through your code, making type checking less effective. See Dynamically typed code for more information.

The next sections describe what each of these errors means and recommended next steps; scroll to the section that matches your error.

Missing library stubs or py.typed marker

If you are getting a Skipping analyzing X: module is installed, but missing library stubs or py.typed marker, error, this means mypy was able to find the module you were importing, but no corresponding type hints.

Mypy will not try inferring the types of any 3rd party libraries you have installed unless they either have declared themselves to be PEP 561 compliant stub package (e.g. with a py.typed file) or have registered themselves on typeshed, the repository of types for the standard library and some 3rd party libraries.

If you are getting this error, try to obtain type hints for the library you’re using:

  1. Upgrading the version of the library you’re using, in case a newer version has started to include type hints.

  2. Searching to see if there is a PEP 561 compliant stub package corresponding to your third party library. Stub packages let you install type hints independently from the library itself.

    For example, if you want type hints for the django library, you can install the django-stubs package.

  3. Writing your own stub files containing type hints for the library. You can point mypy at your type hints either by passing them in via the command line, by using the files or mypy_path config file options, or by adding the location to the MYPYPATH environment variable.

    These stub files do not need to be complete! A good strategy is to use stubgen, a program that comes bundled with mypy, to generate a first rough draft of the stubs. You can then iterate on just the parts of the library you need.

    If you want to share your work, you can try contributing your stubs back to the library – see our documentation on creating PEP 561 compliant packages.

If you are unable to find any existing type hints nor have time to write your own, you can instead suppress the errors.

All this will do is make mypy stop reporting an error on the line containing the import: the imported module will continue to be of type Any, and mypy may not catch errors in its use.

  1. To suppress a single missing import error, add a # type: ignore at the end of the line containing the import.

  2. To suppress all missing import errors from a single library, add a per-module section to your mypy config file setting ignore_missing_imports to True for that library. For example, suppose your codebase makes heavy use of an (untyped) library named foobar. You can silence all import errors associated with that library and that library alone by adding the following section to your config file:

    ignore_missing_imports = True

    Note: this option is equivalent to adding a # type: ignore to every import of foobar in your codebase. For more information, see the documentation about configuring import discovery in config files. The .* after foobar will ignore imports of foobar modules and subpackages in addition to the foobar top-level package namespace.

  3. To suppress all missing import errors for all untyped libraries in your codebase, use --disable-error-code=import-untyped. See Check that import target can be found [import-untyped] for more details on this error code.

    You can also set disable_error_code, like so:

    disable_error_code = import-untyped

    You can also set the --ignore-missing-imports command line flag or set the ignore_missing_imports config file option to True in the global section of your mypy config file. We recommend avoiding --ignore-missing-imports if possible: it’s equivalent to adding a # type: ignore to all unresolved imports in your codebase.

Library stubs not installed

If mypy can’t find stubs for a third-party library, and it knows that stubs exist for the library, you will get a message like this: error: Library stubs not installed for "yaml" note: Hint: "python3 -m pip install types-PyYAML" note: (or run "mypy --install-types" to install all missing stub packages)

You can resolve the issue by running the suggested pip commands. If you’re running mypy in CI, you can ensure the presence of any stub packages you need the same as you would any other test dependency, e.g. by adding them to the appropriate requirements.txt file.

Alternatively, add the --install-types to your mypy command to install all known missing stubs:

mypy --install-types

This is slower than explicitly installing stubs, since it effectively runs mypy twice – the first time to find the missing stubs, and the second time to type check your code properly after mypy has installed the stubs. It also can make controlling stub versions harder, resulting in less reproducible type checking.

By default, --install-types shows a confirmation prompt. Use --non-interactive to install all suggested stub packages without asking for confirmation and type check your code:

If you’ve already installed the relevant third-party libraries in an environment other than the one mypy is running in, you can use --python-executable flag to point to the Python executable for that environment, and mypy will find packages installed for that Python executable.

If you’ve installed the relevant stub packages and are still getting this error, see the section below.

Cannot find implementation or library stub

If you are getting a Cannot find implementation or library stub for module error, this means mypy was not able to find the module you are trying to import, whether it comes bundled with type hints or not. If you are getting this error, try:

  1. Making sure your import does not contain a typo.

  2. If the module is a third party library, making sure that mypy is able to find the interpreter containing the installed library.

    For example, if you are running your code in a virtualenv, make sure to install and use mypy within the virtualenv. Alternatively, if you want to use a globally installed mypy, set the --python-executable command line flag to point the Python interpreter containing your installed third party packages.

    You can confirm that you are running mypy from the environment you expect by running it like python -m mypy .... You can confirm that you are installing into the environment you expect by running pip like python -m pip ....

  3. Reading the How imports are found section below to make sure you understand how exactly mypy searches for and finds modules and modify how you’re invoking mypy accordingly.

  4. Directly specifying the directory containing the module you want to type check from the command line, by using the mypy_path or files config file options, or by using the MYPYPATH environment variable.

    Note: if the module you are trying to import is actually a submodule of some package, you should specify the directory containing the entire package. For example, suppose you are trying to add the module which is located at ~/foo-project/src/foo/bar/ In this case, you must run mypy ~/foo-project/src (or set the MYPYPATH to ~/foo-project/src).

How imports are found

When mypy encounters an import statement or receives module names from the command line via the --module or --package flags, mypy tries to find the module on the file system similar to the way Python finds it. However, there are some differences.

First, mypy has its own search path. This is computed from the following items:

  • The MYPYPATH environment variable (a list of directories, colon-separated on UNIX systems, semicolon-separated on Windows).

  • The mypy_path config file option.

  • The directories containing the sources given on the command line (see Mapping file paths to modules).

  • The installed packages marked as safe for type checking (see PEP 561 support)

  • The relevant directories of the typeshed repo.


You cannot point to a stub-only package (PEP 561) via the MYPYPATH, it must be installed (see PEP 561 support)

Second, mypy searches for stub files in addition to regular Python files and packages. The rules for searching for a module foo are as follows:

  • The search looks in each of the directories in the search path (see above) until a match is found.

  • If a package named foo is found (i.e. a directory foo containing an or __init__.pyi file) that’s a match.

  • If a stub file named foo.pyi is found, that’s a match.

  • If a Python module named is found, that’s a match.

These matches are tried in order, so that if multiple matches are found in the same directory on the search path (e.g. a package and a Python file, or a stub file and a Python file) the first one in the above list wins.

In particular, if a Python file and a stub file are both present in the same directory on the search path, only the stub file is used. (However, if the files are in different directories, the one found in the earlier directory is used.)

Setting mypy_path/MYPYPATH is mostly useful in the case where you want to try running mypy against multiple distinct sets of files that happen to share some common dependencies.

For example, if you have multiple projects that happen to be using the same set of work-in-progress stubs, it could be convenient to just have your MYPYPATH point to a single directory containing the stubs.

Following imports

Mypy is designed to doggedly follow all imports, even if the imported module is not a file you explicitly wanted mypy to check.

For example, suppose we have two modules and the former has type hints and the latter does not. We run mypy -m and mypy discovers that imports

How do we want mypy to type check Mypy’s behaviour here is configurable – although we strongly recommend using the default – by using the --follow-imports flag. This flag accepts one of four string values:

  • normal (the default, recommended) follows all imports normally and type checks all top level code (as well as the bodies of all functions and methods with at least one type annotation in the signature).

  • silent behaves in the same way as normal but will additionally suppress any error messages.

  • skip will not follow imports and instead will silently replace the module (and anything imported from it) with an object of type Any.

  • error behaves in the same way as skip but is not quite as silent – it will flag the import as an error, like this: note: Import of "" ignored note: (Using --follow-imports=error, module not passed on command line)

If you are starting a new codebase and plan on using type hints from the start, we recommend you use either --follow-imports=normal (the default) or --follow-imports=error. Either option will help make sure you are not skipping checking any part of your codebase by accident.

If you are planning on adding type hints to a large, existing code base, we recommend you start by trying to make your entire codebase (including files that do not use type hints) pass under --follow-imports=normal. This is usually not too difficult to do: mypy is designed to report as few error messages as possible when it is looking at unannotated code.

Only if doing this is intractable, we recommend passing mypy just the files you want to type check and use --follow-imports=silent. Even if mypy is unable to perfectly type check a file, it can still glean some useful information by parsing it (for example, understanding what methods a given object has). See Using mypy with an existing codebase for more recommendations.

We do not recommend using skip unless you know what you are doing: while this option can be quite powerful, it can also cause many hard-to-debug errors.

Adjusting import following behaviour is often most useful when restricted to specific modules. This can be accomplished by setting a per-module follow_imports config option.